Sonia Aldana and Rony Morales were the parents of Baby Angela who was born with anencephaly and miraculously surpassed her initial medical prognosis at birth by living to the age of 3 years and 8 months. Since their daughter died in 2017 they have become strong advocates for life and for babies with disabilities.
In an interview to reflect on their gratitude at being chosen as honorees in the category of Respect Life in this year’s Lumen Gentium awards, Sonia Morales spoke of the day she learned of the honor as she was about to leave her son Alejandro at daycare, when a thought came to her as she was remembering Angela.
“Mamita (my dear one), it’s amazing everything what God has done through you,” she recalled of Angela. Right then, she received the call, with the news of the award.
“At the beginning I did not understand. Then I thought, if they called us, it was because we were chosen.”
She added, “I felt a lot of emotion and honor. You do what you do because you feel a calling and not to get something. I was filled with joy thinking about my daughter. Angelita, this award is for you and everything that you came to do.”
The Morales family went through two facets in this ordeal — first as parents, accepting that God sent them a special girl and all the sacrifices they needed to make. Then, after her death, they experienced the added dimension of carrying on Angela’s voice with social media and advocacy, giving a voice to babies that do not have one.
“Our ministry began from the moment we said yes to life and accepted Angelita as she came,” Sonia Morales said. “I believe that parents do everything for their children and that was our experience taking care of her for almost four years until the time she left naturally.”
“The dedication and love we gave her was what gave her life, because every time we cared for her — with many nights at her side — we did not see it as a sacrifice, but as our responsibility as parents to take care of her and give her everything she needed.”
“When we had to clean her bleeding head before the first surgery, I thought it was like I was cleaning Jesus’ wounds and God showed us through her the dignity of the person and the compassion that we should have for people different than us, for people with disabilities,” she added.
The Morales are now dedicated to advocating for the lives of those who are different, the most vulnerable who are in that small percentage who chose life in the midst of a disability.
The statistics indicate that more than 95% of babies with anencephaly and other similar circumstances are aborted.
Recently, Sonia and her family testified before the Judicial committees of the Rhode Island House of Representatives and Senate against bills that seek to expand abortion in R.I.
“Our ministry, that started with Angela’s life, is to continue to advocate on behalf of those like her and teach everyone that these little people deserve an opportunity to be included in the community, to be accepted, to be loved because they can also contribute to society,” she added.
She also said that she wanted to give thanks all those who have supported her family, from the bishop, to staff of the diocese and churches, as well as for the friendships forged in difficult times.
“I met Bishop Tobin in a respect life rally,” she said. “I was carrying a sign saying ‘disability is not a death sentence,’ and I told the bishop we were told our baby was not going to live past birth. He thanked me for saying yes to life and he blessed my belly and it was a very nice moment for us.”
“Angela received then her mission which went against all the doctors’ predictions that only gave her a few hours of life. She lived almost four years.”
Apart from baby Angela who died in December 2017 the Morales have two other children: Elizabeth, 9, and Alejandro, 20 months. Their Facebook page: “Baby Angela: A Miraculous Journey with Anencephaly” has 21,165 followers.
— AWARDS BANQUET —
The honorees will be awarded during a dinner at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln on Wednesday, May 15.
Guests wishing to purchase tickets to the dinner — whose proceeds will support Diocesan Youth Ministry — are asked to register online at dioceseofprovidence.org/lumen-gentium-awards.
For more information, please call 401-277-2121.