Photo by GDC Graphics Via Wikipedia Commons

Perhaps best known for his work on “Field of Dreams,” and “Goodfellas,” actor Ray Liotta died in the Dominican Republic in his sleep. Almost everyone might recognize the actor’s striking performances, but some of his personal struggles are much less known. The actor spent much of his life looking for his biological parents and deeply struggled with the issue of his adoption. His story is moving and carries a strikingly and surprisingly pro-life message.

From LiveAction:

In an interview with PEOPLE last year, Liotta talked about how he was angry for a long time. “At first, I didn’t understand how a parent could give up a child,” he said. “So I had that kind of energy of just being like, that’s f***ed up. And then when I finally met my birth mom in my forties, by then, I wasn’t as angry about it. It’s just another journey.”

Liotta was born in New Jersey, and adopted in 1955 at six months old. But in 2000, he wanted to find his biological family — and found more than he expected. “I found my birth mother and found out I have… a half brother, five half sisters and a full sister that I didn’t know about until 15 years ago,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.

At the time Liotta was born, closed adoptions were the status quo, with children having no contact with their biological families, and no idea of their own heritage or family history. Records were often sealed, as adoption authorities believed it was the best way for children to fully integrate with their adoptive families. Today, it is better understood that closed adoptions can cause immense trauma for both the child and the biological family, and open adoptions are slowly becoming more preferred. In these scenarios, the adoptive family raises the child full-time, while the biological family remains an important part of the child’s life.

By the time Liotta found his biological family, he had made peace with the situation, and was no longer angry. “After years, you grow up, and you just see the pattern of things,” he said. “I’ve definitely developed more patience. Now I’m grateful for my health. And being born. For my parents that adopted me. I mean, it could have gone a lot of different ways.”

Martin Scorsese, a longtime friend of Liotta said that he was looking for another chance to work with Liotta but never really found it. In a heartfelt statement he said he wished he had “just one more chance, just one more,” to see Liotta and speak with him. Liotta was engaged and a loving father of one beautiful daughter. I bet he loved that little girl more than anyone could imagine.

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