“A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy & the depth of that privilege are not lost on me” ~Jody Landers
Just a few weeks after we came home from China, I was in our bedroom, rocking Felicity to sleep. I was holding her, staring into her beautiful brown eyes, and I was overcome with JOY. Amazing joy. I was so thankful that she was a part of our family, that she was here. In that moment, I uttered a prayer of thanksgiving. Thank you Lord, for my arms being full. That prayer was no sooner whispered, than a deep sadness came over me. My heart was filled with joy and my arms were filled with a beautiful little girl, because, 7,000 miles away, in that same moment, there was another mom whose arms were empty. My joy was born of another mother's pain and sorrow. There are moments when that reality is hard and beautiful, and bring-me-to-my knees inspiring.
I think about her often. Felicity's mom. I shed tears for her pain. I pray for her daily. I wonder how she felt the day of our daughter's (hers and mine) birth. Was she filled with joy? Expectant wonder? Was she worried when she saw that her daughter's face was not the perfect face she had hoped it would be? How did she feel those three dreaded days before she made the decision to leave her daughter at the gate of the orphanage. Most of us reading this are mothers . . . we have an idea of the agony she felt in those days. My heart aches for her.
Now, I bet she and I wonder the same things. Does she have her mother's nose? Is that cute, side wards glance from her mom? Does she look more like her mom? Does she have her father's personality?
And as the holidays come, we experience them all anew with Felicity by our side. Watching her at Christmas brought so much thanksgiving for the gift that she is. Over the years there will be many Christmases, birthday parties, etc, etc that will be marked with the presence of a special little girl. And as each one comes, I only hope that I remember that those days bring pain for another family that is separated from that same daughter.
You see, I cannot separate my joy from her sadness. And I do not think I should try. They are meant to be intertwined. It makes this whole journey a little more beautiful.
Someone once told Pete and I we were heroes because we are giving an orphan a home. Us? Heroes? No. There are heroes in this story (our daughter being one of them), but we do not hold the privilege of being heroes. No, Felicity's mom is the true hero. She gave until it hurt. She sacrificially chose do to what she felt was best for her daughter, even though it would only bring her great sorrow and loss. Her sacrificial love gave us one of our greatest gifts. I will forever be grateful to her.
Many nights as I hold Felicity, I pray that I can love her well. Not just for Felicity, but to honor her birth mother. May my love honor her sacrifice and be worthy of it.
I pray, God willing, that I may meet her in heaven one day. I want to thank her for our beautiful daughter and share with her all the memories that she is missing now. Until that day, I pray that God give her peace. That she may know, in her heart that her daughter is well loved and cared for. That she is an orphan no more.