Every so often I sleep with my phone. When I know one of my birth mama’s due dates is approaching or we get news at her last prenatal appointment that “it’s almost time.” So my phone is on my bedside table at night.
The call usually comes at a less than perfect time like when I’m poolside with the family, in the middle of the night, or during the busiest work week. (Actually, once it came during a dinner party gone horribly wrong for which I’ll be forever grateful.)
And I rush to pick her up or meet her at the hospital; breathing heavy, eyes going a little wild with the pain, and struggling to make sense of the beginning of the now imminent goodbye.
And so we labor together. I coach. She breathes deeply. I encourage. She groans. I pray. She rests.
And I watch in awe as a woman labors to give birth to a gift she knows she won’t keep.
At this point I’ve usually walked with her for months. We’ve chatted for hours over coffee or tea. We’ve talked to doctors. We've talked about adoption and life and hurts and relationships. We’ve found an adoptive couple. One that fits her mold of a “perfect family.” At least one she believes will be the perfect fit for her. She’s become a friend and I’ve come to love her.
I love her bravery and strength. I love that she’s been through so much and still smiles. I love how she loves. She loves her baby so much that she recognizes she can’t give him what she so desperately wants him to have.
And so I watch her smile as she pulls her baby to her chest and meets him for the first time. I watch the adoptive mother stand in awe at the miracle she just witnessed and the miracle that will be the beginning of her child’s story. He was soon passed from one mother to another. And in that moment his love was doubled. All because this amazing woman made a choice for life.
As I watched this story unfold again; it always shocks me how beautiful and messy and hard and wonderful adoption is. We chatted today; just days after watching this picture of sacrifice. She was crying. But she explained they were happy tears as she thought of her son and everything she had been through and how she had written him the beginning of a very good story.
And I was reminded why these women are my heroes.