For our son’s third birthday, his birth mother asked if she could send some gifts for him. I was thrilled when the gift arrived and we opened it excitedly. She had carefully picked out beautiful books for him that would be a support and lift him throughout his life. We pulled them from the box one by one and read them as a family, snuggling and talking about his birth mom and how much she clearly loved him.

As we pulled the last book from the box my eyes immediately started to water. The title of the book was Born from the Heart. This beautifully written book by Berta Serrano was my story, too. It spoke of the journey, the searching, the love that grows for a child you have yet to meet. The beautiful illustrations looked like the art I chose to hang on my walls. This book belonged with our family. It immediately became one of the regulars in the bedtime story rotation. I was reminded that of all the people in my life, it was maybe his birth mother who understood my yearning the most.

I started to think about this connection we have as mothers to the same child. On the day we signed paperwork, the caseworker asked me to say a few words about what this placement meant to me. I muddled through, explaining the pain of ten years of infertility, ten years of tears. I tried to explain how strong the longing was to have a child, to see my husband become a father. I tried to explain how full my heart was and how lucky I felt to also have my arms finally be full.

His mother’s eyes had filled with tears as she locked eyes with me and so intently listened. I have thought about that moment over and over again. Two women both with anguish in their hearts that was in some ways similar and yet so staggeringly different. I think we both could empathize with how deep our grief canyons were. We could in that moment hear the echo of each other’s tears. It was in that moment her place in my heart was cemented.

Over the last year as I have read this book I always think about how the intent of this story was to teach adopted children about how much they were wanted. About how much determination and intention went into the parent’s search for their child. But when I see the imagery of a woman with her heart stretched forward pulling her towards her family, helping her search and sending love, I always think of the connection I have with an incredibly strong woman and hope that she can feel that even though we aren’t together, part of my heart is always reaching towards her and sending her love.