I have this pen pal that leaves my heart speechless with every letter. I analyze every word I send. I am humbled with every word I receive.
The most recent letter to arrive in our mail read, “Happy Mother’s Day!”
Those words were beautifully drawn by the biological mother of my son.
I remember last September when I met her for the first time. We wasted no time embracing, the tears flowing…lives that will forever be connected. A moment that will never be forgotten.
It changed my life. It changed hers.
I packed up Thaddeus, kissed Ro, O, and Zo as they slept, hugged and kissed my man, and then quietly drove out of Nashville toward her the morning of Mother’s Day. She had not seen my son since the hospital. I had not seen her since the first and only time. I was driving toward unchartered waters. Remember, we have a closed adoption with Zo’s birth parents. This letter writing, sending pictures, updating on milestones, and receiving letters/texts/calls back — this is new to us.
This is new to me.
This is an honor that becomes more real as time passes. There is a silent yet simultaneous roar in my heart as I am humbled again and again by the life that placed my son in my arms.
Yes, I am humbled by my son. By adoption. By parenting all of my children. By watching them grow, be kind, be loving, despite my failings.
I am also incredibly humbled by the women that chose life for the children they entrusted to us.
I arrived at her church and walked in with a smiling boy on my hip. We spotted each other while I was still in the lobby and she was in the sanctuary. We both burst into tears, hugged with the most “thanksgiving-filled” hug in the world, and yes. Crying. Dare I say borderline uncontrollable sobbing. I asked her if she wanted to hold him, and as she reached her hands toward his chunky body, his arms flew up in anticipation along with a giggle and enormous smile.
There were pictures. Lots of them. I met additional family too. Her pastor asked if she minded a little of her story being shared. She didn’t mind at all. The pastor would be speaking a little about Moses on Mother’s Day. The pastor shared how Moses’ mother, afraid for her son’s life, wove a basket, placed him in the basket, and laid that basket in the Nile River. The unknown was vast. Can you picture it? A mother, so desperate because Pharaoh is killing all baby boys. If her baby stays with her, he will die. What desperation. Desperation that led her to the Nile River. He will die if he stays with her. Maybe he will live if she places him in a basket in the river.
It sounds absurd, right? But God…
Read Exodus chapters 1 and 2. What a story.
Her pastor shared the story of a woman who last October placed her child in God’s hands. In what was very much “her Nile River.”
We were likened, me, to being our birth mother’s Nile River. The congregation was asked to look into their own lives. What is everyone’s Nile River? What or who do we need to entrust to God.
I am not worthy. How can I not be daily humbled….again and again and again?
We were, and in many ways still are, her Nile River.
I have a good, God-given grace-filled, loving relationship with a woman who did not know me 8 months ago. And she asked me if I would be the mother of her unborn child. And on Mother’s Day, she thanked me for being his mother.
She thanked me.
No words will ever be exchanged between us that will adequately tell of what we mean to each other. I can thank her all day long for loving my son, for choosing life for my son, for fighting for his life even when it was gut wrenching hard. Even when this world told her to just do something else, she loved and she loved hard this little boy that would grow in the arms of another.
And by God’s grace…I’m just not sure what else to call it…she had this incredible strength and love and BRAVERY to trust that these unknown-future-adoptive-parents would love him so deeply. That he would be safe.
I’m humbled by her thanksgiving to God. Who are we that she would thank God for us? These are the things I wrestle with as my children snore.
Who am I that I should be called “Mommy” to him?
In life, there are moments that change us. That grow us. And they should. I was stretched so much during our adoption journey to Zo. And the stretching continues now. The adoptions of our children are so different. So unique. Each with their own ways of pruning my heart and piercing my soul. I wonder if I feel it more because I’m hearing and reading these incredibly heavy words. And these words are weighted. She means every single one of them. She is so real, so to the point. She reminds me a lot of myself in the way she communicates. We don’t beat around the bush. We get right to the heart of the matter.
Every word between us I know is meant. Every hug and tear I know is filled with thankfulness, hope, love, and grace. The magnitude of this relationship with her is not lost on me.
The honor to raise these children is unquestionable. Will I take it for granted?
These are the ponderings of my mind. Of my heart. There’s so much more and yet I find myself in awe and unable to put into writing everything that I feel. And maybe that is best. I have so much stored up in my heart that perhaps is meant to stay there unspoken and just held.
My son has been kissed and hugged and held by his birth mother. He has slobbered on her and spit raspberries in her face. He has pulled her hair and given her smiles and squeals.
What grace has been given in this. What beauty. What hope. What love.
I praise God for what happened on Mother’s Day. I feel so unworthy to even witness it. And yet I am a part of it.
I am a part of this. How can this be?
This pondering leaves me speechless. Truly speechless.