Two years. It’s not an extremely long time to get to know another person really, especially when you live three hours apart. Although, when I think about it, I guess it’s plenty of time to get to know someone’s heart even if you don’t know all the details of their life. I truly feel like I know her, but she wasn’t a stranger even on our first contact two years ago. She was my baby. No, I knew nothing of her life, what she even looked like, her personality, her loves, her fears, her accomplishments, the people in her life or her relationship with the Lord. I didn’t even know her name. But I knew her and I loved her.
I think many people would initially find that strange. It’s easy maybe for someone to forget that I carried her for nine months. I gave birth to her. I cried for her. I prayed for her. I missed her. I worried about her and I prayed some more. I remembered her. I was her mother. And I still am. I was never NOT her mother. I have been told that I cannot be her mother because she already has one. I understand that sentiment, I mean, I get it. I think the people that have said that to me thought they said it to protect me from hurt. But as I have learned more about adoption and how people see it, I think there is a more personal reason for their comments. One is because they are concerned by the thought that the adopted child might love her birth mother and that might be hurtful to her adopted mother. Or they think it’s not fair, because the birth mother made a choice not to parent (not even knowing the circumstances) and she has forfeited her motherhood and should not be loved as such. Some have the opinion that the one adopted would be happier if they didn’t have the conflict in their heart as to how to process having two mothers. What they obviously don’t realize is that the conflict is there from day one. Why can’t someone love two mothers just like as parents we can love more than one child? Meeting me when she was 40 years old, as a well adjusted adult who loved her adopted parents, maybe should have created a grown adult to grown adult relationship, maybe even similar to the outward relationship I have with my other grown up daughters. We do have a special friendship, but sometimes it seems we have a need to catch up as mother and daughter. I am amazed because I never would have dreamed she would want to even find me. I never hoped because I did not want to feel the loss.
But as we talked on the phone the first time, as we hugged in her front yard the very first time, my heart. Oh, my heart. The love, the loss, the love, the loss. I couldn’t even think of the future yet. It was too much to hope for. I still had guilt and shame causing doubts and fears. But in those first moments of hearing her voice, of seeing her face, of feeling her arms around me, my arms around her, Jesus was there telling me what no one else could-here is your baby and you can be her mother, whatever kind of mother she needed or wanted me to be. No one else gets to decide what that means, but her, as we navigate this new relationship asking God to direct and guide us.
It’s taken two years to try to figure out what that might look like. It hasn’t been easy to find my way through the shame of my 17 year old self, through the guilt of the adoption choice. It’s been an amazing journey as I have been learning how to be a birthmom. It’s been work. Heart work. I’ve had to listen to her and then believe it. It’s been the Holy Spirit teaching me, comforting me, pushing me, loving me and growing me in faith. I still have growing to do, of course. I’ve seen how my story can be all about me or it can be about God’s story in my story pointing to His glory. Without Him my story is failure. With Him my story is about grace. In His great love and mercy He has allowed me to know and love-even to be known and loved by-my first baby girl.
KP June 2020 – Two years in reunion