Sunday, May 8, 2011

An Unforgettable Mother's Day Gift

I will never forget the anticipation I felt when my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child. I was elated; he was terrified. But it was an incredible moment. To know we were going to be parents, a mother and a father. It was unlike any feeling I had ever experienced. And when that child was born and we welcomed that beautiful baby girl into our home and our lives, I knew we would never be the same.

I was right. And so it was with each additional child. The thrill of the anticipation, the utter joy at the birth, the overwhelming peace and love at bringing each child home and caring for him/her--those are some of the best moments of my life. And now, as I watch each child grow and become their own individuals, it is so fulfilling.

This past year as my husband and I made a somewhat difficult decision to adopt a baby, I couldn't help but wonder what the experience would be like. There's such a natural bond between a mother and the growing child within her womb, I wondered how quickly or easily I would be able to bond with a child I had not personally carried for nine months. I was thrilled and elated at the prospects, however, and have looked forward to the day we would welcome this new child into our home with joyful anticipation.

After experiencing disappointment from one failed adoption, it was difficult to allow my heart to let go of fear and not hold back, and it was a struggle to allow my mind to even consider and hope for this to work out. It's taken a tremendous amount of faith, more than has ever been required before as we've prepared to add a child to our family. But knowing that the risk would definitely be worth the outcome, we plodded onward, putting our faith and trust in God that this adoption would in fact work out.

Last Thursday morning, May 5th, we received an unexpected text from the adoption agency. The birth mother was in labor and the baby would be born that day! We were not expecting the baby for nearly three more weeks, so to say we were surprised and excited would be an understatement. Less than 30 minutes later we were given the news that our baby girl was born, 4 lbs, 13 oz, 17 " long. Tiny, but beautiful.

I desperately wanted to shout for joy and thrill in the excitement of this anticipated event. But . . . I couldn't. Not yet. It would be at least 24 hours before we would know if the baby's mother would in fact sign the adoption papers and this baby would be ours. It was a long day and an even longer night. It was after 3:00 a.m. when I finally fell into a short and restless sleep. But eight hours later we received the news that the papers were signed and the baby would be ours! A thousand different emotions enveloped me: relief, joy, gratitude--especially gratitude.

Because this was a closed adoption we were not allowed to see the baby until the birth mom had left the hospital and the baby was more than two days old. I looked at this tiny bundle and could hardly believe she was ours! She was so beautiful! I felt an immediate love for her and desire to be the best mother to her I could possibly be. I held her in my arms and felt immense joy and humility and love. But I felt something else also that I didn't anticipate. I felt a deep love for her mother, who made a difficult and painful decision to give this child up to a family she knew could offer her baby a life she couldn't. I longed to know more about this courageous woman and I wanted desperately to thank her in person. But it was not to be. I could only express some feelings in a card and hope she somehow understood what an incredible gift she had given our family.

And so, this Mother's Day, not only am I profoundly grateful for the now five children God has so mercifully blessed me with, but I am grateful to another mother, an unsung hero, who on this Mother's Day, just three days after giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, said goodbye to her only a couple of days later, allowing me the opportunity of being a mother once again. Mothers, no matter who they are or where they come from, truly are the most remarkable people in all the world. I'm so honored to be one, and so honored to the one who so recently blessed our family this weekend.

It has been the most unforgettable Mother's Day gift I've ever received!