On the Miracle of New Life: A Brief Reflection by an Adoptive Mother

A small offering to mark the occasion of National Adoption Awareness Month and
to honor all members of the adoption triad everywhere…

New life is always a miracle. Adoption is a miracle of miracles: the miracle of life and the miracle of finding, of being found, and of a complete gift of self for the life of another in a brave, heroic way. (I am thinking of the courageous birthmothers who carry life and give life, making a most difficult sacrifice, dying to self to give life to another.) Emotions swirl around this gift of new life. Families find each other; there is interplay of sorrow and joy, finding and losing, sacrifice and gift. God surprised my husband and I with this drama, this gift, at a point in our lives when we thought it would never happen.

At the time, we had been married for 14 years. We had hoped and prayed for the blessing of children from the very beginning. Eventually, we knew the cause of our infertility and that only a miracle would make this dream a reality. We both had been working in ministry. I was a Catholic school teacher, and my husband served in youth ministry. We prayed, drawing close to the Lord and to one another, seeking His will, and discerning that perhaps He was calling us to be fruitful in this realm of service…perhaps we were called to bring Christ and His love to children other than our own. Also, working in ministry, we felt that we would never be able to afford adoption, and so hadn’t looked seriously into it. We were not the stereotypical childless couple. We never traveled, never “wined and dined” or splurged on ourselves. Instead, we sought to splurge our very selves on those the Lord placed in our lives, from the youth and families we served, to my brother with severe disabilities. So, when we were asked by our pastor if we were interested in adopting a baby, we were caught off guard and found ourselves rethinking and hoping and dreaming again, of a home filled with life that we could only imagine.

Our daughter was almost a statistic in the culture of death. Friends reached out in love to offer emotional and financial support to her birthmother. The young mother made a courageous choice to nurture and carry her baby, to make a complete gift of self in imitation of Christ, and then to let her go, to be nurtured and held by another mother, to flower and blossom apart from her, to find her gifts and her calling in the shelter of another family. She sacrificed her feelings and her heart, so that another family could be formed, but one that never forgets her or her sacrifice of love.

Parenting is never an easy road, whether by adoption or not. Whenever we open our hearts to another and to God’s will, there will be sacrifice and suffering. True love always involves a complete gift of self. Adoption is not easy, but parenting never is. My heart is open to more than just my daughter; it is open to her birthmother as well. An adoptive mother is ever aware of this sacrifice, this taste of bittersweet, this joy mingled with sorrow, even while she goes through her own challenges of parenting. His grace is our shelter and our hope. He orchestrated this family. He chose my daughter and allowed me to be her mother. Her birthmother entrusted me with this precious gift. I am humbled and awed by the gift and responsibility. May I always strive to fill my heart and home with His grace and love, to nurture this life entrusted to me with the utmost care, to be the best mommy I can be and cherish every ordinary, extraordinary moment.

 “…I bow my knees before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named…”
Ephesians 3: 14-15

Pax et Bonum,