I was praying as I walked to the food pantry a few weeks ago, struggling with some things that have been heavy on my heart recently. Things that God himself has brought up from the storage room of my spirit for me to work through. I asked for encouragement, for anything to show his love for me for a moment, for something real that was totally from him.

As I stood in line, about to update my Facebook status with something about “hell” and “lines”, Tara called.

Tara is his mom, and has been his mom since he came home to her and her husband and their already bustling household on a cold January day in 2009.

So we talked. All her kids are doing well, including Phoenix, who this year is gonna be a dragon for Halloween. (Everyone roar now, lol.)

I love talking to Tara. She is such an encouragement to me, and honestly if we had met outside of this adoption we would be best friends. I consider myself very blessed to have her in my corner, supporting me with the knowledge of her love for our son.

So she calls him over and puts him on the phone and the voice of a small, not-quite-3-year-old says, “Hi, Nellie! I’m playing at the park!” and I have to be honest, I couldn’t understand all the rest. He spoke with the zeal of the average 3-year-old. I asked him if he went on the slide and such, and he replied excitedly, obviously loving the day he was having. Then he said something that made me start to cry (in the middle of a food pantry!).

“I love you!”

I was stunned for a moment. This is a major first for me. It’s the first time he has said “I love you” to me. He may not know exactly who I am but he said, “I love you”. To me.

Holding back tears, I replied, “I love you!”. He was, of course, a happy, busy body and ran off to play, but not before saying, “Bye!”, after a prompting from Tara to end the conversation properly.

So we gushed for a few more minutes, and agreed to keep in touch as per usual, and get together soon, possibly at Thanksgiving time. (Pray!)

The sound of love wasn’t the words, though those mean a great deal to me. It was hearing the happiness and joy in his voice, and of Tara’s voice as she spoke of him. I am blown away by how blessed I am to be a birth-first mom in this day and age. I love being in an open adoption!

In previous posts I tried sharing little nuggets, and I am sure there is one here for whoever reads it, but today I wanted to share my joy with you. In working with kids I see children Phoenix’s age and I wonder what he is like, and on this October day I feel like I know him a little more. I can’t stop smiling and wiping away tears, so sweet is this moment. What a gift adoption has been in my life, and what a blessing. I hope I never forget this day and I don’t think I will because on October 24th, 2011, my biological son, whom I love and think of every day, said to me the three greatest words yet: I love you.

And Phoenix, I love you, too. You are the promise of the future and the moon shining in my sky. Sometimes I wonder who you will become, and today I feel like I see a glimpse of the loving and wonderful birth son you have been in my life, and see the fruit of some of that labor. I am already beaming with pride at the thought of the wonderful person you will become.


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