Seeing her for the first time that Wednesday afternoon was intense.
Just moments prior, I had cradled a precious baby boy in my arms. In reality, I held a fragile and innocent baby boy that she had delivered into the world just 18 hours earlier. Within that past hour, a kind-eyed NICU nurse had reached her gloved hands into a sterile incubator. She nonchalantly lifted that infant out of that protective plastic enclosure and gently placed him into my internally shaking arms.
Just moments earlier, I had been holding another woman’s baby as my own. I had been holding HER baby boy.
Ian and I cautiously entered through the threshold of her hospital room and found ourselves engulfed in an anxious tidal wave.
There Ian and I were face-to-face with the woman whom God would use to bring us our own little deliverer. The next 48 hours were by far the most uncomfortable and conflicted moments of my life.
I was on the verge of a break down. Beyond the point of exhaustion from the year-long emotional hurricane that we had just survived, the fact that I had just been nuzzling her newborn son was too much to process. He was her son but was also supposed to be my son.
Our eyes met and without another thought, I rushed to her bedside. She looked desperately broken. She and I immediately reached for each other’s hands. The tears streamed down both sets of our cheeks and I told her how amazing she was for allowing him to live. She could have so easily taken his life before he was born, but she chose to let him breathe life. I poured out my gratitude to her and shared with her how much God loves and treasures her.
In those first few moments of sitting next to her bedside, holding her hand, I knew God was going to have to intervene in a very obvious way. The naturally the happy-go-lucky extroverted sanguine that I am, was buried beneath grief, sadness, confusion and a tiny amount of relief. I knew I would be unable to hold it together and keep the conversation going for the next two days. I was faking it as much as I could but I was on the edge of collapse.
The earthquake inside of me was an 8.0 in the Richter scale.
That precious baby boy was still 100% hers. I was very aware that even though she had placed a baby boy into another dear woman’s family through adoption in the past, that she could just as easily change her mind with us. I was so scared and anxious about losing our child and yet, I was also deeply saddened for her.
His birth mom was so incredibly broken in spirit.
While speaking she projected the belief that she was no more valuable than the “scum on the bottom of the gum on a shoe.” She clearly was not aware of Whose she was and didn’t know how proud He was of her. That brave woman sacrificed her role as a parent because she knew her baby needed to be the first priority. A selfless woman who suffered incredibly for the sake of her little boy’s life… she was blind to that part of herself. In her mind, she was a wretch. In our minds, she was an instrument of God.
The emotional tension enveloping that hospital room was sucking the breath out of us all. Her desperation for peace was evident to all. My desperation for finality had to remain quiet. In her mind, all was final as she had already mentally signed the paperwork releasing her rights to Little Man over to us.
“Do you mind if I go and see him?” She tentatively asked me the next afternoon.
‘Do I mind?’
He was still her child. He wasn’t even legally ours. Didn’t she know what a basket case I was? How did she not realize that Ian and I felt like imposters every time we entered into the nursery and cradled and held HER baby boy? Didn’t she know that I was scared to death that she would change her mind?
Her inquiry revealed the reality that in her mind he was already our child.
Oh, that precious and hurting woman. I will never be able to erase her face from my mind.
Ian was doing his best to walk the tightrope between two extremely irrational and hurting women.
The next two days dragged moment by moment. Interestingly enough, it was my introverted husband who end up maintaining the conversations with her. During the multitude of hours we spent in her hospital room, he was the one to build a safe relationship with her.
My hubby is obsessed with sports and we soon realized that our birth mother was also a sports fan. It was amazing to see my husband connect with her. The two of them engaged in light conversations bantering about various sports teams and their star players. They would discuss scores and statistics and clutch plays from years past.
It was my introverted, prefer-to-not-have-to-talk hubby who maintained the majority of conversation. Ian elevated the mood when she would fall into deep grief and sadness. He was always able to make her smile and she would begin to engage again.
At one point she confessed that while pregnant she engaged in some pretty dangerous behaviors.
She cried and apologized profusely. In response, we reminded her that she was already forgiven. Ian and I were so grateful to her for allowing him to live.
“Is it alright if I see him one last time?
She asked my permission to see him again. Just typing those words brings back the muddle of angst which penetrated my soul at that moment. Her overwhelming grief tormented us both. It breaks my heart just thinking about her anguish. In actuality, she believed she was disposable. I could not believe she had ever felt the need to ask my permission to see her boy. Her humility was as shocking as a bucket of iced-water poured suddenly on one’s back. “Of course you can see him,” I reassured her. She and I slowly walked back to the nursery through the long hallway with walls covered in portraits of newborn babies. As we traveled down that never-ending corridor, she pleaded with me. I will never forget her words.
“Please don’t ever let him think that I don’t love him.”
My heart broke in twofor her… In response, I promised her that he will always know how much she loved him. My son’s birth mother was and is simply amazing. In her brokenness, she loved him enough to give him a chance at a better life. She is the picture of humility and my heart continues to grieve for her loss. Additionally, our family is indebted to her forever. She gave us a son. ***** The nurse approached me with a little life of flesh and blood in her hands. It was as if he was being delivered into the safety of a family chosen by God for him. Out of the confusion and trauma that he had experienced for the first 39 weeks of his developing life, he was entering the safety of a family. However, God was also delivering my family into our own place of refuge. Mercifully, God was delivering us (me specifically) from a life of outward perfection but inward idolatry and arrogance. He was delivering me into the life-altering, pride-crushing, idol-destroying journey of sanctification. God used our baby boy as a deliverer for me. My boy has torn me down over and over again, demolishing my pride through repeated humiliation and the disappointment of unmet expectations. By His Mercy, God has used my precious little man to build me back up stone by stone with His Son as the cornerstone. Thank you, God, for A. Thank you, God, for our boy. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ. – Ephesians 1:4-5
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