I try to put my mind in her world sometimes. The mother that will choose us. I wonder outloud in my prayers and silently in quiet moments what her thoughts and fears are. As the sun rose this morning, on the day meant to honor and celebrate motherhood, what condition is her heart in? Did she feel the baby kick today? If she’s made her decision already, surely the feeling must be the ultimate manifestation of bitter and sweet. As I walk downstairs to find flowers, I wonder if she has someone in her life to walk alongside her on the path she is contemplating. Oh please God, let her have that. Someone or lots of someones to support her in what will become a most defining year in her life. It’s my prayer.
I don’t know our birthmother yet, we haven’t been matched. Maybe she’s seen the profile book. Seen our story and photos. Maybe she’s read our letter to her, in 750 words or less, jockeying for our position at the top of her list of families with whom to place her baby. She has a stack of the profile books. A stack of books filled with family pictures and stories of people she doesn’t know. The one at the zoo, the one baking cookies with Christmas lights in the background, the one giggling on the Dumbo ride at Disney and the one building sandcastles.
Perhaps somewhere in the back of her mind, she believes it’s a gift to be able to choose the family for her baby. She knows adoption hasn’t always been this way. A birthmother deserves to be able to choose a family for her baby- she hasn’t always had that right. But as she flips through our vacations and Halloween pictures, the most likely feeling she knows is pain. And guilt. More likely than not, the pictures stab at the place in her soul that longs for the whole family that is smiling back at her in each book.
My own heart both aches for her circumstance and hopes for her decision.
I don’t know her yet. But I know her.
She is strong. She has a strength that isn’t recognized by many, but it should be. She loves her baby, fiercely. Make no mistake about that, ever. I know that the day she is wheeled out of the hospital without a baby will bring emptiness to her soul that will seem unbearable. She may have to do it alone and that is devastating. She will give our baby some of the best parts of her. Maybe her laugh, or her eyes, maybe her love of reading or art or music.
She is brave. Her courage is unmatched and quite miraculous, yet it will be minimized by people who don’t understand. She knows fully the gravity of her circumstance and she has the quiet, steely clarity to make a decision that isn’t popular, isn’t understood and often shamed. But she sacrifices all of it, everything, for one reason. To gift her child, the one kicking in her belly as she reads family profile books, with a chance. That makes her familiar to me. That makes her a mom.
This baby will be hers in a way he can never be mine. He will be mine in a way he can never be hers. Together, we are his mother. Forever.
“Who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:13