I was so nervous I threw up on the airplane from here to there, traveling to meet not only our soon-to-be son, but also his mom. It could have been the fact that I was 20 weeks pregnant, but the anxiety raging inside of me was certainly to be, at least partly, blamed as my stomach turned itself inside-out.
While I was upchucking the little food I had consumed before our flight, I thought about how she was his mom–no other word preceded “mom” yet. She was his mom, and yet I knew he would soon be our son.
The flight from here to there took what felt like years, but suddenly we landed and I wondered where the time had gone. Nerves strung high, anxiety consuming my core, my husband and I grabbed our luggage and made our way to the hospital where we would meet our soon-to-be son and his mom.
I didn’t feel the need to place the term “birth” before her “mom” title, not until she put paper to pen and placed her son into our arms as his parents. I felt no entitlement to her son; I only felt an all-encompassing love and hope and anxiety, intermingled into one human (me).
With shaky hands and a hope-filled heart–not for her son to be made mine–to be careful with her heart with my words and actions. I knew I could not possibly understand the gravity of her days spent in the hospital. I knew I could not possibly know the weight of her decision to make an adoption plan, to place her precious and beloved baby boy into another family forever.
We walked a few flight of stairs, checked in at the nurse’s station, and stood outside of their room. I sucked in a deep breath, my husband and I looked one another in the eye, we grabbed hands and we knocked on the door. How do you greet the person who is placing in your life the best gift ever given?
My eyes found hers, the woman who birthed our son and loved him since his beginnings, and the tears in each of our eyes began to well. I smiled as my heart rate picked up speed; my feet found themselves and walked my body towards her, holding her son all bundled up in hospital blankets.
These were sacred moments and I felt the sacredness in my bones.
Not a single part of me felt entitled to her son–the one who would be made ours–but every part of me knew these two would forever change our lives. These were sacred moments and I felt the sacredness in my bones.
I wasn’t going to demand or even ask her to place him in my arms, not yet, because I knew we would have forever to hold him. But she held him up, offering him for us to see and hold and meet. With a humility I could not have mustered on my own, I let her set him in my arms and I looked at his precious, perfect little face–so brown and round and sweet–and I looked from him to her, from her to him, and back again. Speechless, I stood before her in awe and wonder; these were sacred moments.
I handed our soon-to-be son to my husband and asked our son’s mom if I could sit on her bed with her. I wanted to know her, I wanted to hug her, I wanted to squeeze her; but I kept calm and quiet, praying to bring peace to this unnaturally painful piece of her story.
We did our best to tell her how good she did, he was beautiful and perfect, she made him and carried him and delivered him. I asked her about labor and delivery, we grieved together that we missed it, we talked about what she wanted to eat. Everyone knows a woman who just gave birth deserves to eat whatever the hell she wants.
A burger and fries, she said softly and without demand. My husband jumped at the smallest sign to serve her, grabbed the keys and sought out the best burger and fries in the area. We sat there in that sacred space of the hospital room, eating burgers and fries, and unsure what was okay to ask but nervous we weren’t asking enough–we took notes, etching down details our son may want to know one day. We asked her about her past employment, about family, about his birth dad. We asked her what she loved to do, what she craved and ate during pregnancy, what her favorite type of music was. We asked her what she had been calling this sweet son, so loved and cherished by so many.
Years ago, had you painted a picture so sacred, so cherishable–moments deserving to be preserved forever–of the day we would meet our future child’s birth mom, I would not have been able to wrap my mind around it. I would not have been able to see past my fear and pride and jealousy. But as we walked through our wait to meet our son and his birth mom, we read and we listened. We discovered a hope buried within ourselves to preserve the relationship between adoptees and birth families. As we walked through our wait, our idea of communication in adoption went from fear-based to love-based.
By the time I had the privilege of meeting my son’s birth mom, I was more than ready to embrace her and love her, to thank her and tell her how important she is. I was more than ready to invite her into our life, to our shared son’s life, to acknowledge her place in our family.
Meeting my son’s birth mom was nothing short of an honor and I pray to embrace her–in person–once again.
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