I’ve written and re-written this post at least three times. How do I tell you about the life changing impact the past two days have had on my life? How can I tell you about her, without telling you our story?
At seventeen I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I saw her for the one and only moment in her life that she was quiet. She didn’t cry when she was born, she didn’t cry much after, either. But she made up for it over the next gloriously heartbreaking two days in which I kept her in the room with me and by my side.
Even though I knew and the choice had been made, I fed her. I changed her. I held her. I rocked her and sang to her and loved her. I took pictures and told her stories and while holding her in my arms with tears streaking down my face, I wrote her the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write. How could properly express to her that “I want you” and “I love you more than anything I’ve ever loved before, ever” were not good enough reasons to keep her? I endeavored to explain it anyway.
Yesterday morning, over twenty years having passed since the day I left my heart behind in a hospital room, I held her in my arms again. I’ve kept her somewhat selfishly close these past two days since she’s come to visit. I must make more concrete plans for everyone in our family to meet her, too.
Friends and family alike are in wonderment at how easy it has been for us to be together. But that way was paved for us and by us.
I refused for one second to be silenced about my first child. “How many children do you have” is a very loaded question for a birth mother to one, a mother with two at home and a third with wings. I have four. But that simple three word sentence requires explanation.
And so, since she has always been someone I’ve spoken of, and I’ve always told my children they have two sisters, one who lives far away and another who lives in heaven, they greeted their sister with squeals of delight. She is their sister, they love her, and they have monopolized near every free moment she has when they are near to her.
We loved her before we met her because we have always known her. We did things unheard of in adoption twenty years ago–we stayed connected. My beautiful daughter was raised with the knowledge of my love for her. How blessed am I?
My beautiful daughter was, and remains, loved and supported in a stable and non-toxic environment by two parents who love each other and their children. She has healthy boundaries and a delightful sense of self. She is confident in her beauty and still kind, because there was never someone telling her that these two things cannot coexist. Her parents were absolutely everything I hoped they would be for her, and even better than my sweetest dreams could have ever conjured up in my own imagination.
Giving her up for adoption was the first momentous decision I had ever made, and I had to be taught how to do so. This decision was so thoughtful, so careful, and so deliberate that I never once questioned the validity of its goodness. It was right. And not denying her was just as right.
Even with many around me encouraging me to pretend she didn’t exist, I refused. I always refused. There is so much I want to say, but there is not enough room in one post to share the overflowing elated emotions of this beating heart.
If you take away nothing else I wish for you to know this: even a broken child who had suffered tremendous trauma made a perfect decision and knew in her heart for over twenty years it was right.
I know so many days can be dark for so many of us. The dark days can linger and be long but there is light waiting for you. Keep searching for it. Look within and find what is right and live in joyful conviction of it. You do have it inside of you. I promise.