Originally from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, Hodgkiss attended Catholic schools through eighth grade and then went to a public high school. While attending Augsburg College in Minneapolis and working full time, she found out she was pregnant. She was 19.
Her boyfriend at first suggested they get married. “He was 10 years older than I was and being so young, I kind of followed that lead for a little while but still hadn’t told anyone in my family or his family that I was pregnant,” recalled Hodgkiss. “After I discovered some things about this man, I knew that I was not going to marry him. He then actually proposed having an abortion and there was no way that I could ever live with myself doing that.”
Adoption was the clear choice for Hodgkiss. “You’re not only giving a gift to that baby, you’re giving a gift to those parents who couldn’t conceive,” she noted. After screening 16 prospective couples, Hodgkiss finally found the ideal match. “You want to make certain the parents are as perfect as can be and will raise the child as close to how you would raise your child.”
Her son Greg’s adoption, in 1989, was the first open adoption on record in the state of Minnesota.
By chance, Hodgkiss’s best friend at the time found herself in a similar situation. “She ended up having an abortion. I look at the two different paths our lives have taken and I can see it not only killed the baby inside of her, it killed her.”
Hodgkiss met her husband Bill when he was coaching her younger brother’s basketball team at Totino Grace High School in Fridley, Minn. They were engaged in 1993 and married on Jan. 1, 1994. “We were welcoming of children at any point in time. We tried for eight years and it just didn’t happen.” Then they started considering adoption themselves.
Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: Victoria Hodgkiss
Parish: St. Mary, Appleton
Favorite saint: Cecilia
Words to live by: “History will be kind to me because I intend to write it.”
“After I gave Greg up for adoption I did some counseling with parents and adoptive parents with Children’s Home Society in Minneapolis,” she said. When Hodgkiss moved to Appleton in 1994, she continued offering her services to girls who wanted to talk about birth parenting.
An opportunity arose in the summer of 2001. “We sat down and talked. I told her my story and she said, ‘Would you want to adopt my baby?’ She was due in three weeks. It was a little bit of a shocker. We knew we wanted to adopt but I didn’t know it would happen so quickly.”
Then a year ago, Hodgkiss got a call from a birth father. “He and his girlfriend had planned this pregnancy and they both lost their jobs,” she said. “We talked for about three hours. I’d given them some information about an adoption agency. They had gone over some families and nothing felt right to them.”
Several weeks later the husband called Hodgkiss. “He bluntly asked, ‘Would you and your husband ever consider adopting again?'” she said. They did and some four weeks later their second son was born. “I was there for his birth,” she said.
Her son Greg is now 19 and a freshman in college. Hodgkiss and her family see him three or four times a year. “Bill has always treated him as his own. They have a love that I can’t even describe. Sometimes I think my husband’s closer to him than I am,” she said. “I look at Greg’s mom and dad as my big brother and sister. They’ve always been very protective of me.”
Adoption is a blessing and a gift, concluded Hodgkiss.
“You don’t realize when you’re giving that gift to yourself everyone that it will affect in that child’s life,” she said. “I look at my older son and he has many friends who are adopted as well. They have this great bond to share with one another and to realize they’ve not only affected the family that they’ve gone to but they’ve affected the person that gave that gift to begin with.
“It’s something that no one can ever take away from me,” she added. “I’ve given this wonderful gift to a family and to friends that may never have had that gift had I chosen to abort.”