Monday, April 16, 2012

First Mother

a glimpse 70 years into the future :)

When Caroline laughs deeply, I sometimes hear faint echoes of my grandmother’s laugh. Someday, we will pull out old VHS tapes and introduce Caroline to the sweet woman whose melodic joy lives on through her great-granddaughter.

And then there is Amelia.

Amelia, whose nose crinkles when she smiles silly. Whose sing-song voice can reach operatic octaves. Whose eyelashes reach her eyebrows, and whose pinky toenails grow folded so she points to them and laughs. Sometime, somewhere where on this spinning globe lived others with crumpled noses and toenails, with stunning voices and eyelashes. People who passed bits of their own flesh and traits to a womb, to the pair of cells that would rapidly divide and grow and become Amelia.

Somewhere in Africa, there is a first mother whose existence cocooned and nurtured the beginnings of this baby I call mine.

I am occasionally jealous of Amelia’s first mother. Her right to claim Amelia is etched deeply into the strands of her DNA. What I would give for even the stray cells left on my toothbrush to testify that Amelia is mine.

Instead, I have papers made by man and notarized in court.
I have a mother’s heart beating love.
I have fifteen months of memories,
   the hope of a future,
   and the sound of my girl calling, “Mama!”

I can tell you that Amelia hates eggs and loves books. I can predict her exact mood based on the hour of the day. I can make her laugh and tell you she’ll count to thirteen, skipping six every time.

But never, never can I explain from whom she inherited hair that grows quickly and strong. I can’t explain who before her was as affectionate and cuddly as she is. Why she is so delicate, so feminine, so tall.



Every now and then, I buy into the subtle lie that my claim to her is forged. I grieve for the history I cannot explain to my child. Will she cry the day she understands adoption’s beauty is watered with tears and grown from ashes? Will she ache for a woman named Grace who birthed her, then carefully left her in a place known for its Christian love?

My jealousy for Amelia’s first mother is waning. Love replaces rivalry. Gratitude brings me to tears. How can a perfect stranger knit together a part of your soul? She tore materials from her own body and built up our family – surely leaving a gaping hole in her own heart. Can she imagine all she has given her daughter?  Given us?

The deeper I dive into the adoption world, the more I fear drowning. I feel the brokenness that created our joy. The pain that led to our blessing. No, I no longer envy Amelia’s first mother. My cells don’t hold my baby's DNA, but my mismatched hand holds hers.  My eyes cry gratitude.  Grace's eyes, perhaps, simply cry.

27 comments:

Jessica Whatley said...

This might be one of the most beautiful posts you've ever written. Love you!

RACHEL said...

Thanks sweet Jess. I love you!

L.O.T. said...

This post has me in tears! Beautifully written from parts of your heart and soul that so many of us don't dare to venture. And you share it so eloquently and with such love and respect for those you adore. Thank you!! That crinkly nose makes me smile.

The Kirks said...

Absolutely gorgeous Rach! You are able to put words to your love in ways that I can't even describe. I feel like I know sweet Amelia so well because of the way you describe her. I love you and your unselfish heart so much!

RACHEL said...

Lacy, you understand every emotion I ever have because you're living it. I can't wait to lay eyes on your sweet baby. I hope I get to see him/her IN UGANDA! :)

RACHEL said...

Thanks sweet Heather. I hope our girls get to vacation together someday and have as much fun as we did growing up. I love you!

The Last Crusade said...

Perfect.

Anonymous said...

That is a beautiful description.


Ashley Moon

RACHEL said...

Thank you both.

Shannon Evans said...

I love this.

RACHEL said...

Thanks Shannon. Yesterday I forwarded your blog to a natural product loving friend of mine. :)

Laura Rath said...

A beautiful, beautiful post!
This is my first time visiting. I stopped over from Allume.
God bless,
Laura

RACHEL said...

Thanks so much Laura! I think I must have been commenting on your blog at the same time you were over here. :)

Elizabeth Giger said...

I'm here from the link-up at The Cloisters. This is beautiful. I always love the connection between our adoption as children of God and those who have gone through the adoption process here. Beautifully written.

RACHEL said...

Thanks so much. Going to check out your blog now!!

Natasha said...

Breathtakingly beautiful. *sigh*

~Mandy said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. As one whose heart aches for the little ones we are hoping to adopt some day--little ones who will most likely be a different color than me, my redheaded husband, and two blond-haired, blue-eyed babies--it is wonderful to see your heart poured out this way.

I stopped by from the Cloisters link-up, but I plan on coming back.

RACHEL said...

What a sweet comment, Natasha!

Mandy, I hope you do get to adopt someday... it has absolutely changed my world. :)

Caitlin said...

Oh my. You write beautifully. And such a topic. My heart breaks and rejoices with yours as I read your beautifully crafted honest words. Thank you for sharing. (I came via the linky...)

Chris Coyle said...

It sounds like Amelia is one lucky little girl to have made her way to you. I'm visiting your blog for the first time through the Tues Archive Link. Very beautifully written.

Kenya G. Johnson said...

This was so beautiful and it brought tears to my eyes. She is blessed to have you. And any mother who had to give up a child for adoption, her heart should surely be filled after reading a post like this. Simply beautiful.

Kenya G. Johnson said...

This was so beautiful and it brought tears to my eyes. She is blessed to have you. And any mother who had to give up a child for adoption, her heart should surely be filled after reading a post like this. Simply beautiful.

moreofhim said...

How beautiful!! Thank you for sharing the blessing of your gorgeous daughter!!

God bless you - Julie

bridgetstraub.com said...

Or just maybe Grace rejoices in having done right by a baby that she couldn't keep. Babies end up where they are meant to be, good or bad.. Everyone has a journey. At least that's what I believe.

Debbie said...

Such a beautiful post and so full of emotion. What a blessed family you all are. And what a lucky little girl who now calls you mommy.

Maria Ana said...

wow.. such a lovely little child.. bless your heart and family..

Kelli Woodford said...

Dear one, your last line.
Yes.

They do cry.

I know. I am a birthmother, too.

Almost eighteen years of tears and questions and faded photo memories.

Sometimes you love by taking in, and sometimes you find yourself in a place where to love means to let go.

A beautiful, merciful post. Coming to Truth is always laced with such.