I just arrived home from the airport where, like the other ladies involved, I have been crying my eyes out for the last three hours. My head is pounding and my eyes want to close, but I don’t think I would be able to write about this experience as well after I slept on it.
After 17 days of roller coaster type experiences and emotions, baby Malia and Addie are on the plane back to Utah to meet the rest of the family. It sounds like a happy story, and it truly is, but those of you who have ever been intimately involved in an adoption know that the final separation of a birth mother from her child is anything but happy.
How can an adoptive parent think of anything in those final moments other than the anguish and sorrow that the birth mother is experiencing? How can any normal person not feel anything but admiration and deep love for a mother who is making the biggest sacrifice possible?
The heart wrenching decision to place a baby for adoption is one that is too often misunderstood and judged. It is a decision about putting others above your own needs and wants. It is about sacrifice and love. Here we have a birth mother and birth grandmother who are naturally grieving the loss of their child. There are many more aunts, uncles and cousins who are shedding tears tonight as well, but fortunately when baby Malia arrives in Utah, she will be introduced and welcomed into a new family who will surround and cherish her for the rest of her life.
Malia’s birth mother is courageous, strong, and faithful, and Addie hopes that Malia will inherit these traits from her. Still, courageous as she is, it is devastating to watch this young birth mother in her last moments with her child. I watched as her tears, which she usually keeps hidden deep inside, fall freely onto her infant’s face. We who look on are helpless to offer any kind of meaningful support or encouragement. We stand back and watch the process of saying that final goodbye with out hearts knotted in pain for her.
Words are meaningless at this point. Communication is through tears and hugs. The pain of parting moves to the promise of a bright future.
And then, the baby is transferred from the arms of the mother who gave her life, to the arms of the mother who will help her live it. And we cry.
We watch as Addie walks away with Malia in her arms. The other women turn to look at me, they want me to say something, as if they are not sure what to do next. I try my best, and share with them some thoughts from my own experiences with birth mothers and about Heavenly Father’s plan for each of us. The turmoil of emotions turn to peace, and we are silent for a moment.
For some reason on the way home, these words keep repeating in my mind, “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him.” Knowing that we are all children of God and that He loves us is crucial in such a pivotal life experience such as this. We are valued. We are important. He cares about us, and knows us as individuals.
And what must we do? Love Him back. We do this by moving on. Enduring to the end. Continuing faithful in all that we do. Appreciating and showing gratitude for all that we have been blessed with. Reaching out to others around us in love and acceptance. Following the example of His Son, Jesus Christ in how we treat others. I have a lot of work to do, but when I stop to remember who I am, and how much I am loved, I am able to recommit myself to how I should be living my life.
So there are two mothers…one with a full heart, and the other with a broken heart, and a baby who doesn’t yet realize that she will be blessed her whole life by the journey of two amazing women and their incredible feelings of love towards each other and to her.
Having a broken heart isn’t bad when we humbly turn to our Savior to heal our pain. Having a full heart is good when we remember that everything that we have comes from the Lord. If I can feel so much love tonight towards this amazing birth mother and her strength and sacrifice, think of how much more her Father in Heaven must love her. Lessons like this help me understand and see things in perspective. My heart aches for the birth mother, and is full for Addie and her family.
Precious Malia is a gift from God. It has been a privilege holding her, feeding her, loving her, and witnessing the miracle that is her life.