I will never forget the Mother’s Day when we were expecting.
For years I had painfully endured this day.
I would remain seated in my pew at church as the pastor said,
“Let’s have all of the mothers stand up and give them a round of applause.”
But this year was different.
We were the ones expecting!
There was so much anticipation, nervousness and uncertainty.
We knew that our lives would be changed forever with this
long prayed for dream finally coming true.
But, I wasn’t the one who was pregnant.
Weeks before, we had received the phone call informing us that a young birthmother had chosen us to be the adoptive parents of her son.
He was due in 6 weeks.
The emotions we experienced at that moment were unlike any we could have prepared ourselves for. While we were so excited about the prospect of finally becoming parents, it was tempered by the reality that there was no guarantee.
And that in order for us to experience this tremendous gain, someone else would experience a tremendous loss.
We prepared as much as possible but I never could bring myself to cut the tags off of the baby clothes we had been lovingly storing away.
An unexpected surprise came in the form of a trip my husband won through his employer and we decided to turn it into one last ‘hoo-rah’ before the baby was born.
We quickly booked flights to Hawaii and at the last minute my parents decided to join us there.
When we realized we would all be there together for Mother’s Day it only added to the excitement!
While we lounged in the sun and made plenty of fruity drinks, our thoughts were never too far from what we knew was waiting for us upon our return.
To celebrate Mother’s Day we made reservations at a wonderful restaurant and I remember feeling like we all shared this special little secret. The waiter gave me quite the strange look when he asked if I was a mother and I said, “Not yet, but soon.”
I’m sure he was even more confused when we made a champagne toast!
I felt all of the same hopeful “expectancy” in that moment but with none of the certainty.
3 weeks later on a beautiful day in May, the most precious little boy was born.
He was tiny and perfect and when I held him for the first time, his eyes opened up wide and locked with mine.
We were overjoyed! Our dreams were finally coming true!
We prayed that God would allow us to bring this boy home to be part of our forever family.
And while we prayed, just down the hall there was a young girl.
A young girl whose life had forever been changed.
I slowly walked down the hall and knocked on her door.
As I entered the room, I saw her sitting up in the bed holding him.
Sitting down gingerly on the edge of the bed, I leaned in to take a peek at his sweet face and to tell her how beautiful he was.
He looked like her.
We laughed together about his slightly crooked nose, a result of being in the breech position.
All of the fears I had about how I would feel towards my child’s birthmother just disappeared.
And my heart ached.
The pain and grief I had felt for so many years dissolved into only intense pain and grief for her.
She would never go back to the care-free life of a teenager.
I finally understood the true meaning of the word “bittersweet”.
The bitterness of this moment, this choice, combined with the sweetness of the gift of this child.
I held her close and we wept together, the tears dripping down onto the swaddled bundle.
I made vows and promises to her which are too sacred to ever repeat to anyone else.
And as I left the room I felt a peace unlike anything I had ever experienced.
Our case worker said that the attorney was going in with the paperwork and that we could have the baby in the room with us while we waited….and waited…and waited.
And in the midst of it all, the peace remained.
The door opened slowly and time froze.
The smile on our case workers face gave us the answer we had been waiting to hear.
He was ours!
All of ours…mine, my husband’s and this young woman’s.
Our lives would be forever joined together by this precious link.
We began packing our things and then the 3 of us walked back down that hallway and into her room.
Her eyes were puffy and swollen from crying…so were mine.
I picked up my new son and placed him back into the arms of his birthmother.
Our case worker asked us to all join hands and as we stood in a circle she prayed a blessing over all of us. The enormity of what was happening was not lost on anyone in that room.
I sat back down on her bed and gave her the gift we had carefully selected for her along with a letter from my heart.
It seemed so grossly inadequate to hand her these items and
have her give over the baby in return.
She asked if she could walk out to the car with us.
She wanted to see us drive away with him.
She wanted to see us drive away with him.
We all walked down the hall together.
Our son’s birthmother carried him.
The maturity and grace she showed in these moments was astounding.
She leaned into the waiting car and placed him in his car seat.
We hugged and cried…and hugged…and cried…I didn’t want to let go of her.
And then we got in the car.
My wonderful sister and I sat in the back seat on either side of our son.
And all the while, she stood there watching.
She watched as the car started up and slowly pulled away.
I turned around in my seat so that I could see her face…imprint it in my mind.
Even now, I can still see it.
I stayed turned around until I could no longer see her.
And then I wept.
My sister wept with me.
Through my tears, I stared down at the beautiful face of my first child.
He had made me a mommy.
But, only through the loving sacrifice of this young lady.
On Mother’s Day, I think about both of my children’s birthmothers and what this day means to them. And I pray for them. Over the years, I have expressed to them countless times how incredibly grateful we are that they gave us the privilege of being
mommy and daddy to these amazing, wonderful children.
There are just no words to appropriately convey the depth of that gratitude.
People often say, “children are a gift”.
But until you have been literally “gifted” your children,
you just can’t fully appreciate the truth of that statement!
The adoption of my children did more than just give me the great joy of becoming a mother.
It allowed me to understand God’s love for me in a brand new way.
“In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”
And the sacrificial love my children’s birthmothers showed in placing them with us, gave me a new understanding of the loving sacrifice God made in giving us His own Son.
On this Mother’s Day, I pray that this truth will be very real to my children and their birthmothers.
And I pray that it will be very real to you too!
With love from my heart,