The Promise

I told myself I wouldn’t cry. I didn’t want to scare her. I didn’t want her to think this stranger was emotionally unstable. Then I worried if I didn’t let myself cry she’d think maybe I was emotionally inept. 

I changed my shirt 3 times. I was about to change it a fourth time when I decided that nothing would be good enough so I may as well save myself the trouble. I spent a great deal of time worrying that she’d find me reprehensible or think, “This lady is ugly. I got handed some bad genes.”

I spent days cleaning the house. I couldn’t seem to get it clean enough. Never mind that teenagers hardly pay attention to details such as clean baseboards, I was sure she would glance down and think, “this house is too dirty. I can’t stay in such filth.”

I loaded our little family into the truck and we stopped by the florist. My husband, her father, wanted to have roses for the first time he held his “baby who’s not a baby anymore” in his arms again. 

I handed him the card to fill out and watched him hesitate and struggle for the right words. “Just write ‘Love, J'” I instructed him. Relief washed over his face and he did what I said. 

When we arrived at the airport I thought maybe I was dreaming. There was no way I could be this lucky. In just a few short moments she would be standing face to face with us. It felt as if we were holding the winning lottery ticket. Guilt briefly touched my heart as I thought of my other first mom friends, women I have grown to love, who don’t have what I was about to or who may never will. What did I ever do to deserve to be this lucky?

The text message came. “We’re about to land.” I looked out the window of the airport and saw a plane coming in from the right direction. As it came closer I glanced at my husband. He looked terrified. As it’s wheels touched the ground his eyes became red and the tears could no longer be contained. 

I told myself I wouldn’t cry. He was making this plan harder to stick to. 

People could be seen walking down the long corridor, behind glass doors. A man in a suit, a woman in a dress. They were hard to distinguish until they were closer. 

But I spotted her before anyone would think I could definitively say it was her. I knew it was. I pointed. She came closer. Her gait was as familiar as my own. The way she swung her arms was like looking in a mirror. 

The first moment I saw her


I wanted to run through the gate doors, airport security be damned! Her pace quickened as she saw us all standing and waiting. We were completely oblivious to other passengers as we blocked the way out with our bodies. 

And then she was in my arms. I couldn’t stop the tears and hers flowed freely as well. I momentarily pulled away to put my hands on her face and stare into her striking eyes. She. Is. Amazingly. Beautiful. 

She was in my arms again. She was real. I could feel her. The warmth of her body. The texture of her hair on my face. Could it ever get any better than this? This moment would never happen again. This was it. It was absolute perfection. Divine. 

Over the years a song had always stuck in my head and reminded me of her. I had dreamed of this moment for years. And in my dreams the song would play. I now know how fitting the song is. 

“Together again

It would feel so good to be

In your arms

Where all my journeys end

If you can make a promise

If it’s one that you can keep

I vow to come for you

If you wait for me”

-The Promise, by Tracy Chapman

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Short & Sweet

It’s been some time since I’ve updated here at Musings of a Birthmom. This will be a short, sweet, personal update to explain my absence – for anyone who should care.

My husband had back surgery about 3 weeks ago and his recovery was more than anticipated. He’s required a heavy level of care-giving that made multi-tasking nearly impossible to do. I had to prioritize and, as much as I love you all, this blog took a backseat for a few weeks. I do apologize. I had finals to take, kids to care for, housework to catch up on, and a husband who needed me. I also had, admittedly, writers block. I simply couldn’t think of anything to write but, at the same time, thought of millions of things to write about. It was quite the conundrum. I’m also hesitant to post personal updates about myself because doing so also reveals personal information about my daughter that she’d probably rather not have shared, even if no one knows who she is. I decided to go with a happy medium.

I was so looking forward to a face to face reunion with her this summer. I was also scared to death. I thought she’d be sorely disappointed in me, the real me…that maybe I wouldn’t live up to what she had thought about me in her mind. I was terrified that she’d take one look at our meager lower-middle class surroundings and think, “dodged that bullet.” I was scared of a lot of things, some irrational, some not. The most horrifying thing I could think of was to begin to have a full-blown panic attack the moment I saw her. “Hey! I’m your mom! I’m also nuts and can’t breathe because I’m so scared and I may faint on you in a minute. But I’m really a super cool person if you can get past the oddities that are my mental health.” For reasons that are really no one’s fault, we won’t be meeting for the “first” time. I was disappointed, hurt, relieved, and hopeful. Very confusing place to be. But I’m okay now. And I’ll be okay. Crap, we’ll ALL be okay. Since I seem to reproduce introverts prone to social anxiety, and am one myself, I often wonder if we’ll ever meet. Ha ha! But we’ll be okay.

I promise I have some exciting blog posts to read coming up soon. There are some things that need to be exposed and I am finally in a place where I think I can put my thoughts together and do so. Thanks for those who’ve hung in there with me and, of course, thank you to everyone who reads, and takes to heart or puts into action, the message I am conveying. It is truly appreciated. Together we will change the world….or, at least, this little corner of the Internet. I’d hate to be too overzealous and have a panic attack.

 

To The Mothers; Hope and Peace on Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to you. Yes, you. For nine months you grew a tiny human being inside of you, but it’s so much more than that. You nurtured your child every time you made the decision to forego that glass of wine and to eat healthy foods. You protected your child – at every doctor’s appointment to make sure things were okay, for every decision you made that put your comfort level below the health and well-being of your child. For nine months you talked to your child, felt your child move, sang to your child, maybe you even slept in a recliner because by the ninth month of pregnancy a bed was just too uncomfortable.

Happy Mother’s Day to you. To the mothers who prayed to the porcelain god those first few months, and even some beyond that; to the mothers who endured sticks and pricks and unpleasant internal exams; to the mothers who adored the life growing inside of them, who got upset when their babies would hiccup, from within them, and there was nothing more they could do to comfort them, when their kicks became frantic, except to talk and sway; to the mothers who had a glow and the mothers who had acne; to the mothers whose bodies will never look the same in a bikini because of the stripes that were born from the stretching of their skin or the c-section scar they wear like a badge, that are proof they carried a child and are a mother; to the mothers whose bodies endured hours of labor, the labor of love, to bring their child forth into this world; to the mothers who endured the grueling task of pushing, when they thought they had nothing left in them, with their only inspiration the promise of meeting the one they had loved for nine months; to the mothers who lay on an operating table, with all trust placed into a doctor, to get their child here safely; to the mothers who heard that first cry, and felt that instant connection and knew what unconditional love truly was because of one moment; to the mothers who were the first to hold their child and the ones who couldn’t, no matter how much their arms ached for their baby; to the mothers who had hopes, dreams, and wishes that, for whatever reason, were stolen from them like a thief in the night; to the mothers who are overlooked and sometimes put down and called “less than” because they could not parent their child – biology is, in fact, exactly what makes one a mother.

This Mother’s Day I bring you a message of hope and peace. “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul,” said the great Emily Dickinson. As long as there is a breath in our lungs, there is hope. No matter how dire, no matter how messed up things are, there is always hope. In your darkest hours, on your darkest day, never forget that you are this mother. Nothing anyone can do will ever take that away from you. No one can ever erase it. In the most basic and primal ways, the truth is you are a mother. Every tear you’ve cried and every hope you’ve ever wished cannot be taken away.

“I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.”

Hope is free, it costs nothing. My message of hope is this: Hope for yourself, hope for your happiness, hope for all that was lost, but whatever you do, don’t lose hope. In your darkest hours, when all seems to be lost, remember who you are. Remember you are a mother. No matter what anyone else says, no matter how anyone else tries to spin it, this is the truth. The truth always wins.

My oldest son took me to see the new Captain America movie today as an early Mother’s Day gift. One quote in the movie stuck with me and I will share it here for you. Hold onto it, embrace it, and even when the whole world seems to be pushing against you, hold firm in what you know, innately, to be true. May peace find you this Mother’s Day and everyday – in some form or another.

“Compromise where you can. Where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say ‘No, YOU move.'”

-Peggy Carter, Captain America

In My Dreams

I obsess. That’s what I do. Fear is something that is always a part of my life and I have struggled long and hard, for so many years, decades really, to not let it control me. Alas, it sometimes wins in the end.

I have waited so many days, months, years, to see her again. To have communication with her. Sometimes I feel like a crazy stalker. I mean, I kind of am, aren’t I?

I wasn’t told her last name, their last name. I wasn’t told what town they lived in. I was given first names and a state. I put my trust into an institution (adoption) that I would get my yearly visits and I’d never be a stranger to her.  Then the visits stopped, before she could form any intellectual memories of me, her father, her siblings. What was I to do?

I did what any mother would do. I began looking for her. I would receive pictures every couple of years and an update about once a year. A far cry from what I was promised, but I took it anyway. I would study the pictures, heed the words, analyze everything.

A picture from the first day of kindergarten. A name tag hangs around her neck and I see it has her first and last name on it but the exposure is so high it’s nearly impossible to make out what it is. I can tell the length of the last name, though. It’s not your average length and that’s a clue I keep. Pictures with license plate numbers in the background, restaurants, anything – I grab it, store it in my mind, search frantically for hours. I just want to know her last name.

Part of me doesn’t believe the narrative that I’m getting in updates. It seems too good to be true. Everything is always rainbows and sunshine. It drives me to search more fervently. I feel like a mad woman. My husband tells me I should leave it alone. He feels guilty. He knows its killing me. He can’t make up for it.

Haunted by the faces of my daughters whenever I look at them. Each of them carries characteristics of her. It’s like I’m haunted by the ghost of someone who is alive but is so very far out of reach.

Sometime around her seventh year I finally get somewhere and make a huge discovery. Her last name. It opens doors. For the years to come I silently watch. When she is old enough to utilize the World Wide Web, herself, I start to find her foot print everywhere. It is amazing to me. She’s real, she exists, she’s not a ghost. A secret peek into her life as she knows it, not through the lens of someone else and what they choose to tell me.

I stalk. Is it stalking? I feel like a stalker. I am silently watching my child, making sure she is okay, and as years go by sensing that things aren’t really that okay. I don’t do it for the reasons that others stalk. I never reach out to her, disturb her world. I do it because I feel like I must protect her, its instinctual, and this is the only way I know how.

The first correspondence that confirms my intuition that something is amiss. Questions about my pregnancy, hinting to some issues. It honestly sounds like everyone in my family. High-spirited, oppositional. Yep, sounds like my girls, sounds like my husband, definitely sounds like me. I implore them to not drug her up. I am reassured everything is fine. Life goes on.

I realize I’m obsessing and for my own sanity take a break. I decide to only check up on her every few months, just to make sure she’s alive, because I honestly don’t know if I’d be told if she wasn’t.

The feeling is overwhelming. The “knowing.” I just know. I can’t explain it. It’s the same feeling from when she was just a week or two old and I knew the people in charge of her care were not treating her right. I awoke my husband very early and told him we needed to go get her that very moment. I knew something was wrong. I was right that time. I didn’t want to be right this time.

A single post, expressing how she was going away. It was made the same day I had the feeling. Now the feeling has changed. I feel betrayed, I feel sick, I feel like I may genuinely go crazy knowing she’s been sent away. A new obsession begins. I must know where they’ve sent her. I must know so I can see if she’ll be treated badly, if she’ll be abused, mistreated, there.

Pictures. I assume they are taken in the place she has been and I look for clues in the background. The name of a little coffee shop and a quick search reveal to me a city and state. Another search reveals the only place it could possibly be. The pictures match.

The waiting for her to come home. Never being outright told she was sent away so never expecting to be informed she was home. Worrying, wondering. More obsessing, more searching. Finding a blog written by a “house mother” who is bragging about sending a child outside in the freezing cold without shoes or a coat because she wouldn’t stop yelling. I wonder if that child is mine. I secretly want to hunt the woman down and hurt her for hurting my baby.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

And then, confirmation, from her personally. A secret connection between her sister and her. I am overjoyed. I am scared. I don’t know what to do. I’m terrified of her adoptive mother. If she finds out, if I overstep anything she deems “appropriate” then it all crumbles. I know nothing. I have to obsess and search and worry on the Internet. Updates will cease to exist and updates are clues.

It’s all out in the open now. Most of it, anyway. I still watch my step, stay in my place, because if I don’t get to see her again, don’t get to touch her again, don’t get this visit, only the third since she went with them when it should be the 16th, I just might end up having a nervous breakdown. But now there is another fear, another obsession.

I am a stranger. There is no possible way she could think of me as much as I think of her. I don’t expect her to. This obsession isn’t healthy. I obsess about if she wants to talk to me, I obsess about if I’m coming off too strong, I obsess about if she would rather me just go away but she’s too scared to tell me. I obsess about, well, rejection. I want to talk to her like I do my other children. I want to have funny conversations about gross and inappropriate things. I want to discuss social issues that I am passionate about and teach her about the world, the way I do my other children. I want to know her. I want to hear her voice, see her face in something other than a still picture. I want to soak up every last bit of her. The good, the bad, the pretty, the ugly, the everything.

But I don’t want to scare her. I don’t want to hurt her more. I don’t want to make her feel like she owes me anything.

I don’t know what to say. I’m scared. I want to tell her how her expression in the newest picture is my expression in the picture of me 6 years ago. I want to tell her that her handwriting is the same as mine when I was her age. I want to tell her that her fiery personality and stubbornness comes from her father and I but the undertone of kindness, compassion, and empathy comes from me. I’m hard on the outside, soft on the inside. I want to point out that her voice, in the one video I saw, sounds just like mine. I want to tell her that her sister can’t distinguish, sometimes, while scrolling through her feed if a picture is of me or her, for just a second. I want to tell her that I see her.  I don’t “know” her but I see her.

I want to tell her I believe her. I want to tell her that I can’t say all the things I want to because I have to stay in my place because I don’t hold all the cards. I don’t hold any, actually. I want to tell her that she will always have a home. I want to tell her that she does belong somewhere, she exquisitely belongs, but she doesn’t know it. I want to tell her so many things. Little things, big things. But how much is too much? Where do I walk the line? How do I know? So I say nothing.

And then I obsess that my nothing is too much. Am I sending the message that I’m not interested, don’t care? Nothing could be further from the truth.

She’s hurt. She’s wounded. She’s been through a lot and, ultimately, it’s my fault. I chose this for her when she had no choice. And here comes another obsession. I don’t deserve her kindness, her love. I don’t even deserve her “like.” I had no idea, though. Everything everyone told me was that this was what was best. But I feel guilty claiming that I am a victim, too. At least I had a chance, she never did. How do I make it better? How do I find forgiveness?

These are such deep thoughts and, no doubt, would be hard for anyone to process. I stay quiet. I can’t push too much because if I do and she decides to go away, it would be like giving her up all over again.

There’s no going back. What’s done is done. I can only hope for the future. But how do you dare hope for something so perfect? Just to be a part of her life would be like a piece of heaven. Do I dare hope for that? Am I setting expectations too high?

In my dreams we walk, we laugh, we hug. We tell each other all that needs to be said. We catch up on everything we’ve missed without each other all these years. I catch her up on all my quirks and she let’s me into her private world. We don’t judge each other or push too hard. We just walk. And it’s exquisite.

 

Mary, Did You Know?

While sitting around playing games on my phone the other day, my youngest daughter started to talk about her upcoming choir concert for school. She was excited to perform the songs they had learned and gave me a sneak peek of the upcoming show. When the preview was over she sighed and said, “Do you know what my favorite Christmas song is?” I didn’t so I told her so. She replied, “Mary, Did You Know?”

This surprised me a bit as it really isn’t a traditional Christmas song that a 13 year-old would like so much for it to be her favorite Christmas song.

Because of the upcoming Christmas holiday, I would like to incorporate this song into the message I am giving.

If this is not a song you are familiar with, you can listen to it HERE.

The lyrics (provided by Metro Lyrics) are:

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?

Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will calm the storm with His hand?

Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know.. Mary did you know

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?

Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you’re holding is the Great, I Am.

I understand that not everyone is a believer, and that’s okay. Since God’s name is invoked so often in the world of adoption, even non-believers would benefit from reading this post.

The historical story of the birth of Jesus Christ gives many clues as to the status of Mary and Joseph, in regards to society and financial means. While it is never stated that they are “poor,” there are a couple of verses that we can use to establish this. Every male that was born at that time had to be consecrated to the Lord. In order for this to happen, Mosiac law said that the mother of every newborn male would have to purchase and sacrifice a young lamb as a burnt offering and a turtle dove as a sin offering. Remember, this was before Jesus Christ had died on the cross making sacrifices like this unnecessary to wash away sin. This particular consecration was to wash away the sin and blood of childbirth.

Families that were too poor to purchase the lamb, were allowed to substitute the sacrifice with two turtle doves  or two young pigeons (Leviticus 12:8). When Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to consecrate Jesus to the Lord, as the law required, it was with two turtle doves which implies that they were too poor to purchase the young lamb.

Before you point out that the three wise man brought gifts to Jesus of great value, I’ll just point out that there is nothing in the bible suggesting this poor, modest, family kept these gifts. In tradition with the way Jesus led his life, according to the Bible, I would go out on a limb and say it’s unlikely they did and would have been more likely to give these gifts away to those who were in need more than they were.

“It was God’s plan. The baby will have a better life.”

So, if God’s plan is for babies who were born out of wedlock, as Jesus was, to be put with family’s that have more financial means (meaning more opportunities for financial success later in life) then may I ask why Jesus was raised by Mary and Joseph? We’ve already established that they were a poor family and that Jesus was conceived while Mary and Joseph were not married. (I’m not arguing the virgin birth, just the fact that there were two unmarried parents). Did God mess up? Did he put the wrong baby in the wrong womb? Should Jesus have been placed in a more established woman’s womb who was married and able to afford the sacrificial young lamb that Mary could not? If He didn’t mess up, then was the plan for Jesus to be adopted by a wealthier family? No? Why is that? Is it possible that God’s perfect plan (not man’s) was that Jesus be born to and raised by the person who did give birth to him? Of course it was. Everything that followed the birth of Jesus – the miracles He performed, the people He helped, the charity He showed, the sacrifice He made for all of our souls – this was all a direct result of his upbringing. God knew that Mary was the perfect person to be Jesus’ mother. He knew that, with Mary, the prophecy would be fulfilled and it would be done. This poor craftsman, Joseph, and his wife, Mary, would raise Jesus in poverty to be The One who saved mankind from his own sins. It was with purpose, it was with careful planning, that God chose Mary.

In today’s world, Mary would have been encouraged to give Jesus up for adoption to a more financially stable two-parent home that could provide him with a college education (instead of a trade, most likely that of a blue-collar carpenter), fancy clothes (instead of meek cloths), the newest cell phone (instead of, well, I don’t know on that one), and a huge house with a meticulously landscaped yard (instead of a small hut with a desert for the backyard).  In fact, Nazareth, where Jesus was raised, was really on the “bad side” of town. It was one of the poorer communities of those days. Please picture the Savior, Himself, growing up in today’s world of luxuries and opportunities – not in Nazareth. We could call Him, Jesus of Beverly Hills. Think on that a second.

There is a parable in the Bible. It’s Jesus and the Rich Man.

Mark 10:17-31

New Living Translation (NLT)

The Rich Man

17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’[a]

20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”

21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard[b] to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”

28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.

29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.[c]

  1. 10:19 Exod 20:12-16; Deut 5:16-20.
  2. 10:24 Some manuscripts read very hard for those who trust in riches.
  3. 10:31 Greek But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.

If Jesus had been Jesus of Beverly Hills instead of Jesus of Nazareth, it’s very likely this parable would never exist. The point of this parable is that, according to Jesus, being well-off, financially, really doesn’t mean much except a harder time getting into heaven. Yet, we have “Christians” preaching that adoption is God’s plan because a more “financially stable” family can provide a “better” life for a child. Which is it? It doesn’t go both ways.

Jesus, to me, proves that a life of humility, poverty, and love is the better life, eternally speaking.

Surely we don’t want children in abusive households or in homes where they would be subjected to neglect. This is not what I’m saying. What I am implying is that when financial reasons are the cause for a mother to sacrifice the motherhood to her child, my advice to those wishing to take advantage of her poor financial situation is that they should – “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Mary, did you know? Did you know that your baby boy, the one who would be raised in your small home, with little financial means, no college education, on the wrong side of town, would be the Savior of the world? Did you know that it is because of these things that this prophecy would come to be fulfilled? Did you know that God did not put the wrong baby in the wrong belly, that it was all part of his divine plan? Mary, did you know that, in today’s world, his name would be invoked to cause pain and suffering for mother’s being separated from their children for the very reasons that He chose you to be the mother of the Savior? Mary, do you weep?

You – do you know? Do you know what your child was intended to be? Do you know what the Lord has planned for him or her? Do you dare to question the motives of God? Did He make a mistake? Was your baby intended for another? Why did God not put that baby in the womb of that woman? Did God want you to suffer the loss of your child? No. This is man’s plan, not God’s plan.

Have you ever read the Bible, you who claims that it is God’s plan for you to adopt someone else’s child, at birth, because they are in a financial hardship? Have you seen chapter upon chapter of so-and-so begot so-and-so? It’s very obvious that biology, heritage, and ancestry was extremely important to God. Why else is this all in the Bible? And Moses, the great example always given for adoption, was not “gifted” to any particular couple. He was sent downstream by a terrified mother who wanted to save his life. And, in God’s infinite wisdom, Moses’ mother became his wet nurse and the person who cared for him. It was Moses who destroyed the people (think his adoptive people) who suppressed his true people, his biological roots, his family. And then he returned home. This is the true story of Moses. A baby “adopted” only because his life would have ended if he hadn’t been. A man who returned home to his people, when all was said and done. God’s infinitely wise plan.

Did you know?