Mending broken hearts
Dildo woman looks forward to reunion with birth son
When she was 18, Louise Nippard made a gut-wrenching decision: she gave up her child for adoption at birth.
Now, the 53-year-old Dildo resident is making plans to meet her son face to face for the first time in 35 years.
That meeting is going to be raw with emotion. Last week, Nippard told The Compass amid a flood of tears, “I’m going to tell him how much I love him and hug him and not let him go.”
Nippard’s bittersweet story began one day in 1976 while she was living in neighbouring New Harbour. She already had two children, Robert and Jason, but on May 31 of that year she gave birth to another child. She named him Billy Jack.
For personal reasons, Nippard did what she thought was best for her newborn son by giving him up for adoption, but not before she went to the nursery and cradled
ABOUT LOUISE NIPPARD (NEE ROWE)
• Age — 53 • Birthplace — Fogo Island • Hometown — Dildo • Family — Married Willis Nippard; had three miscarriages; has six children and nine grandchildren
• Hobbies/interests — Quilting, cooking, bottling preserves him in her arms for a few fleeting moments.
Thinking about Billy Jack
Through the years, Nippard often thought about Billy Jack. In 1986, while living in Main Point, Gander Bay, she gave birth to another son, Preston, who was also born May 31. She wondered if Billy Jack was ever adopted.
A social worker went to bat for Nippard and, on June 9, 1987, gave the mother some valuable information.
Billy Jack, now renamed Christopher W. Horndt, was legally adopted in June 1980. He was a little person, formerly known as a dwarf. His adoptive parents were also little people who lived in Pasadena, Texas. Because he had several health problems, Christopher received extensive medical treatment.
Nippard was told his adoptive parents “ were extremely delighted to be able to adopt him.”
However, because Christopher was under the age of 18, nothing further was revealed.
“It made me think more about him,” Nippard recalled.
In 1995, Nippard, now living in New Harbour, phoned the provincial Department of Social Services and expressed her desire to contact Christopher. She also wrote him.
Nippard was attempting to contact her son, unaware of the fact that he was also trying to connect with his mother.
On Jan. 22, 1996, Nippard received a letter from Christopher addressed to his mother.
He was a 1994 graduate of Agape Christian Academy and a sophomore at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas.
“I am a Business Administration major and have a ‘B’ average. I am looking for a girlfriend but have not been able to find one,” he revealed.
“I apologize for not writing earlier ... The letter I received from you really touched me.” He enclosed his photograph. Two months later, mother and son heard each others voices on the phone for the very first time.
“ It’s unexplainable really because we were both very emotional,” Nippard said. “ We were both crying that much, we ... hung up, and we had to call again.”
Nippard also spoke with Christopher’s adoptive mom, who has since passed away, and “thanked her for doing such a good job with him.”
Vowing to stay in touch
Mother and son promised to stay in touch, but after Christopher relocated from Texas to Washington, and Louise from New Harbour to Main Point, they lost contact for 15 years.
Recently Christopher had been trying to reconnect with Nippard through Facebook.
She doesn’t own a computer, but her niece saw Christopher’s photo and exclaimed, “He looks so much like Aunt Louise.”
Nippard phoned Christopher again.
“It was emotional ... because I still hadn’t seen him and I regretted doing what I did, but I did it for him,” she said.
Christopher has been married for five years to a little person, Christina Louise.
Now, Christopher and and his birth mother chat two or three times a week.
— Louise Nippard, Dildo
“He never wants to lose touch anymore,” she said. “He wants to come home, to see where he was born, to see what kind of place it is.”
Nippard knows exactly what she’s going to say to Christopher when she sees him; she’s going to read a poem she wrote for him, “Life’s Most Precious Dream” (see sidebar).
Nippard herself isn’t in a financial position to fly her son home. However, Winston Harnum, president of the Community 5 Lions Club, Dildo, said that anyone wishing to help Nippard can contribute to an account that has been set up at the Whitbourne branch of Scotiabank.
“I hope there’s someone out there that can understand where I’m coming from, be a guardian angel and help bring him home, so I can have a reunion with him,” Nippard pleaded.
Christopher Horndt sent his photo to his birth mother, Louise Nippard, in 1996.
Raw emotion is reflected on Louise Nippard’s face as she holds a photo of her son, Christopher Horndt, close to her heart.