It was a hot summer evening. Tammy was attending her son’s soccer game. She was seated in the bleachers next to a woman who was anticipating the upcoming adoption of a long-awaited child. Race, color, creed did not matter. What did, and should, matter is that a beautiful gift of life was about to be shared by a very wise and courageous birthmother. The adoptive couple was pleased that they, at last, were “on the list” as prospective parents… their dream was coming true at last.
This covenant known as adoption is, in itself, a blessing.
As Tammy listened to the woman, so filled with excitement about the pending adoption, her own mind wandered. Tammy was adopted at birth. Now at age thirty-three, several decades later, Tammy had only recently initiated a search for her own birthmother by contacting the agency used when she had been placed for adoption.
The search, it seemed, was not progressing and it had been quite some time since Tammy had heard any news regarding her request. The woman visiting with Tammy mentioned my name and spoke of an article she had read about our BSAB (Breaking the Silence Around Birth) support group and suggested that Tammy phone me.
I met Tammy in early autumn …it had taken her several weeks to gather enough courage to call me. We met for lunch.
Tammy had questions and wondered about her “roots.” She made it very clear to me that she had enjoyed a good life. She attended fine universities and held a degree in engineering. However, Tammy, a married woman and the mother of four, still longed to know about her birthmother. It was time.
Tammy contacted the agency once more and requested the search be continued. A few weeks later some disheartening information arrived.
…Your birthmother passed away in 1991. She died of cancer.
Tammy’s heart was sad when she phoned me, yet, she hoped to find other birth family members. She especially wished to come to know her birthfather. Through her own dedication, and with the help of a genealogist, she found the family. Tammy learned that her birthmother had, in fact, married her birthfather, and that he was living.
Three days before Christmas 1998, in sub-zero temperatures, Tammy, unannounced, approached the front door of her birthfather’s house. The same-state city was only 160 miles from her own residence.
Her friend, the genealogist, and I waited in the car. We watched the door open. We witnessed Tammy’s entrance into the home of her presumed birthfather, and we waited.
Thirty or so minutes passed. At last, Tammy came back to the car parked at curbside. Her eyes were red. She was smiling. It was, indeed, one of the most beautifully radiant smiles I have ever seen.
She had introduced herself by asking if the name Aubrey Ann meant anything to him. It was the name he and her birthmother had chosen for her the day she was born. Acknowledging the name, the man ushered her inside and they talked. He introduced Tammy to his wife, who stood at his side, listening in awe as she graciously accepted the news of this secret child from his past.
After a few minutes, Tammy told him she felt she needed a hug …and he embraced her. He held her face in his hands and gently kissed her cheek. “I have never forgotten you or your mother,” he whispered. “I loved your mother very much. Giving you up was the hardest things she ever had to do. She was a woman of strong faith.”
He continued, “Your mother asked me to find you when she was nearing death. When I contacted the agency I was advised that no request was presently on file from you stating your wish for contact. There was nothing more that I could do, I was told.”
Before leaving that white house, decorated with festive wreath and boughs and lights, Tammy’s birthfather asked to meet us. He was concerned that we had gotten cold while waiting in the vehicle parked out front.
How wrong he was, for as the minutes passed, our hearts were warm as we silently sensed the great joy within the walls of that house …merely a sidewalk away. We were filled with joy … and the true meaning of this blessed season. And when we entered his home, his eyes twinkled and his words were simple and kind.
“Thank you,” he said, as he extended his hand, “This is all good.”
I simply replied …”Merry Christmas.”
Then all at once I noticed her
And took her from her space
There was a bit of rapture
In her special dolly face
I did not make a purchase
…I traveled quickly home
To paint the image I had seen
While standing all alone
I envisioned Mary holding her
Then painted from my heart
Another Christmas drawing near
Our lives so far apart
No one knew the love I felt
Nor sensed the longing deep
But a painted girl with doll of cloth
Would hold my secret deep
Did she find a treasured dolly
Waiting for her Christmas Day
Did she feel the warmth of Christmas
Sent from oh so far away?