Of Sacred Things – Birth, Adoption, and Reunification

Being able to speak with my son's birth mother after twenty years was a sacred experience.

Denalee Chapman May 13, 2014
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I’ve had lots of spiritual experiences throughout my life – way more than what I can count. I’ve felt the tingling of the Spirit as I’ve watched the Aurora Borealis dance through Alaska’s sky … I’ve had the witness of the Spirit when truth has been spoken … I’ve experienced overwhelming feelings of peace, which I recognize as spiritual events. But the truly sacred … those are fewer and very personal. And I can recall them with perfect clarity. Although I was baptized at the tender age of eight, I remember that sacred experience in picture and in feeling. That sacred moment when I entered into the covenant of marriage with my husband, including God in that covenant, stands out as monumental in my mind and heart. Nothing quite compares in sacredness to the birthing room, turned temple, as our new little people entered mortality.

I keep my sacred experiences close to my heart. And although I may mention them casually, my feelings toward them are reverential. They are dear, and tender, and uniquely mine. Each personal sacred event has not only given me peace, but has also filled me with indescribable excitement and feelings of completion. Previous to these events, I didn’t really know there was something I was missing. But as the event transpired, I recognized the filling in of gaps in my life that I had never before noticed. Sure, I knew I wanted to be married; and I knew I wanted children. But I didn’t feel empty.

And so it was – a month ago – when a new sacred experience filled me to overflowing. Twenty-one years ago, Bryan joined our family when he was just five weeks old. Through pain greater than childbirth, we finally secured his adoption when he was nearly two. Ours was a closed adoption. Bryan grew up knowing he was adopted, but at age sixteen he stated that it had always been a “non-issue.” Even still, we all knew the time would come when we’d search out his birth mother. And all of us have nothing but gratitude and love in our hearts for her, and recognize her love for Bryan in that great unselfish act of placing him. With only a phone number and a name, after searching for over a year, Bryan asked me to make the phone call. We didn’t know if she would be grateful or pained that we had found her. Bryan just wanted her to know of his gratitude.

My pulse quickened when I recognized the number on my caller ID, two days after leaving a message for her. For nearly a year, I played that moment over and over in my mind … how would I want to be approached if the roles were reversed? When it came right down to it, there was no way to circumvent the purpose of my call. “I don’t want to shock you, or invade your privacy, but I don’t know how else to say this: You don’t know me, but if you placed your son for adoption 21 years ago, we’re the family who was blessed to adopt him.” Silence … “Are you ok? I’m so sorry to be so blunt. He just wants you to know how grateful he is, and ….” I choked up. The sacredness of the moment overpowered me and I couldn’t speak. My heart filled with the Spirit – triggered by 21 years of saved-up gratitude and love for this angel of a woman. When I found my voice, I continued, “…. I want you to know how grateful we all are. I love you. I know it sounds strange, but I really do.” Our 20-minute international phone conversation was among the sweetest I’ve ever had. There were more sobs than speaking, more silence than words – but every moment was sacred.

Here I had thought that when I found Bryan’s birth mother I would be giving a gift to the two of them … This was supposed to be Bryan’s event, Bryan’s opportunity, Bryan’s closure. And if his birth mother wanted it, it was supposed to be her moment, her fulfillment, her gift. And although it may have been all that for the two of them, for me it was my unexpected sacred experience that I will forever hold dear in my heart.

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Denalee Chapman

Denalee is an adoptive mother, a motivational speaker, a writer, and a lover of life. She and her husband have adventured through the hills and valleys of life to find that the highest highs and the lowest lows are equally fulfilling. Book Denalee to speak to your group, or find Denalee's writings, including her books on her website at DenaleeChapman.com.


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