Little Man asked, “Mom, when will you take me to Ethiopia to see my mom?”
“I don’t know, but we want to take you some day.”
“Okay, I miss her. I want to go back and live with her.”
Yesterday we framed this portrait of six-month old Bee being held in her mother’s arms. I’m fairly certain that the instant she saw it, it became her most precious possession. Our talented friend, Katie, drew it from an invaluable photo, the original of which is kept in our fire safe.
Bee shared this photo on Facebook yesterday and asked me to type the status to go with it as she dictated to me, “Thank you to Katie Smith for drawing this picture of me and my Mom. I love it!” I asked, “Do you want me to say your ‘Ethiopian Mom’?” She answered with surprise and certainty, “No, she’s my Mom.”
Just when I least expected it, we got an email from Little Man’s first mother. As I was writing about my own sadness yesterday, and thinking of my friends who share this sorrow, and I was also thinking of Little Man’s first mother. We hadn’t heard from her in a long time and I was worried. Was she even alive? I prayed that we would hear from her, but I’ll be perfectly honest and admit that I didn’t think it would happen any day soon.
Yesterday the sadness crept up on me and I had a heaviness in my chest. It’s a familiar sorrow, one that I prefer to keep buried beneath the surface, but some days that just isn’t possible. I read an article, Adopted or Abducted, about the coercion of mothers during the 1940’s through 1980’s, to place their children for adoption. It brought back memories, ones I try not to recall very often; it also brought back my friends’ stories.
One, in particular, keeps interrupting my thoughts.
Sometimes you have to ask yourself, “If I could only tell one more story, what would it be?” Tell it Well is my answer.
I will never forget the night I checked my email and saw the subject line, “Is this for real? I’m your son.” I was stunned and felt faint. We had just watched Swiss Family Robinson with our crew of five little ones, and we were getting them ready for bed when I paused at the computer. I must have gasped because the children started gathering around me. I kept saying, “Don’t touch the computer. Don’t touch the computer. Get Daddy – somebody get Daddy!” I was afraid that with one click of a button, the message would disappear and my son would be lost from me forever.
I stumbled upon a link to a music video of the song “Everything to Me” by Mark Schultz. After watching it, I clicked on the link to the story behind the song.
It is powerful to hear him talk about his birthmother and see the emotion on his face. His face and voice speak to me more loudly than his words.