“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding”
Our life with our daughter, Alyssa, has been a joy at every turn. She has grown into a very lovely young lady. Never did I realize what a blessing she would be when we fondly called her our “blessing baby.”
When Alyssa turned eighteen in January, her birthday was no different for me from all the others. Every year when Nic and Alyssa would celebrate their birthdays, I would remind them that we needed to pray for their birth mothers. I knew our day of celebration was also a day of sadness for the precious young mothers who gave us the opportunity to parent their children. We would always remember to pray for their hurting hearts on that special day. No matter how many years may pass, a mother’s heart is a mother’s heart, and that day will always be remembered.
One night I was awakened by a reminder from the Lord that, when Alyssa turned eighteen, she could be given a baby book that her birth mother had prepared for her. I had forgotten all about that book until that night. The next morning I made arrangements for the book to arrive to surprise Alyssa on her birthday. The surprise was to be so special that we would have her brother drive home from college just to be a part of the event. When Alyssa opened the book, she just smiled. A real part of her past was in her arms. She held it close and touched every page. We sat with her and went page by page, imagining who the people were on the other side of those names.
Over the years, Alyssa had developed a great desire to meet her birth mother. Frank and I had known it would be a natural desire and had agreed before we ever adopted either one of our children that this family would always be a triangle including our children’s birth parents. We had told them that we would help them when the time was right. Now seemed to be the right time. What better gift could we offer our dear daughter than to help complete the missing link in her life? Taking the next step would be difficult, but not if God was in it. Within two weeks, we found the unselfish young woman who had made our desire for a family a reality.
It would sound too good to be true to allow anyone to think that Frank and I weren’t scared to death about this venture. There was so much to lose. We could really be setting ourselves and our daughter up for all kinds of problems. After all, what if this woman wasn’t the kind of person with whom we would want our daughter, so carefully protected over the years, to associate? What if Alyssa found the lifestyle of her birth mother exciting and decided to leave us? What if Alyssa loved her more than us or wanted to live with her “new family” now? All of these “what ifs” were running crazy in my mind. I did have much to lose, but the verse, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” kept me focused. I had always said I loved my children unconditionally, but did I? Did I love her enough to risk losing her to another mother? Did I love her enough to complete her by letting her see hands that looked like hers and by letting her see that she has her mother’s eyes? What kind of love was I displaying? I had so many friends praying for this meeting and encouraging us not to do it. But deep in my heart, I knew I had to take the risk – for Alyssa.
I knew the hurt of losing a child. Just ten years earlier, our first-born “miracle baby” was killed in a jet ski accident. I knew how hard it was to live without him all these years. Although I truly knew first-hand the all-sufficient grace that God so freely gives, I was afraid to feel such pain ever again. But, as much pain as Frankie’s home-going was (and continues to be), I had to be willing to feel the pain of losing another child if that was what it would take for Alyssa to know the joy of meeting her birth mother.
Unable to put off finding out who she was another moment, I asked Terri, my dear friend, to drive by the house and see where they lived. Terri pulled across the street and called me to say it was a nice, neat home. “Oh no, someone is looking out the window. I have to go to the door. What should I say?” Terri said in a panic. I told her to get Alyssa’s birth mother alone and tell her the truth. As Terri approached the door, there was only enough time for a quick thought-prayer: “Oh, Lord, please let this be good.”
I waited patiently for the phone to ring again, and it did. This time, a voice I had only dreamed of hearing was on the other end. “Hello, Mari, I am Evonne, and I have been searching for our daughter.”
(To be continued…)
Written by Mari Venezia. This article was published in the Summer 2006 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine.
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