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.”
Tears of joy and fear filled both mother’s hearts. For eighteen years, Evonne had dreamed of meeting her daughter again. On Alyssa’s eighteenth birthday, Evonne once again read the letter I had written to her when we adopted Alyssa. This revelation of my heart gave her a glimpse into our home, life, and family – especially the depth of our personal love for Jesus Christ. Evonne had read this letter every year to reassure herself that she had made the right decision, and that the Lord had designed this adoption for all of us. Even though she now had two sons and another daughter, there was still a void in her heart and in her arms for the special child that had first given her the title of Mother. I understood the longing within this precious mother’s heart. I too had lost my firstborn child.
Now, over the phone, the questions flew back and forth. Could we meet? Where? When? The questions answered, we orchestrated two very busy families, separated by a thousand miles, to meet. It all fell into place like a concert carefully rehearsed, and the meeting was set. Terri, my friend who had help to locate Evonne, graciously offered to host the reunion at her home where both families would be on neutral ground. Alyssa would be comfortable at Aunt Terri’s and Uncle Rick’s
The day of the meeting, we arrived at the Greenes’ home to prepare. Alyssa was so nervous that I told her she could call the whole thing off. She was too practical for that, after all that everyone had done to make this dream come true. She would work through her emotions, but we would have to do it her way. We would greet the family first, and then Alyssa would meet Evonne. We arranged two chairs underneath the shade tree in Terri’s yard for the two to talk.
Finally, Evonne and her family were at the entry gate. We greet the children and Evonne’s husband warmly, with hugs and kisses. Then my eyes fell on Evonne, and I couldn’t stop smiling. She was absolutely beautiful. Hugging her, I cried and thanked her repeatedly. Frank reacted exactly as he had done the moment he laid eyes on Alyssa as a six-month-old baby and said, “Mari, she’s beautiful.” He squeezed her until I know she stopped breathing for a moment. The we all went inside, leaving Evonne on the porch to see, at last, her daughter’s brilliant smile and sparkling eyes.
The two hugged, rocked, and cried for a long time. Finally, they sat down and began to unlock the hearts closed for eighteen years. They spoke guardedly at first, since the question on each heart still had to be answered. Evonne had to know if Alyssa was upset of angry that she had been placed for adoption, and Alyssa had to know why. Within minutes, each had her answer, and each was settled that this was good.
Evonne explained her difficult decision. She had known that if she truly unconditionally loved her baby, she would be willing to let her baby go. I was reminded of the story of the two mothers who visited Solomon. The real mother was willing to give her baby to the other mother so that her baby would live. Evonne was that kind of mother to Alyssa. She knew it would be better to live without her baby than for her baby not to have all that she needed to live.
Now, Evonne had to know if Alyssa resented her decision. I was a little afraid of the answer. I had always hoped that Alyssa was thankful for her place in our family. Her response calmed all my fears. Alyssa thanked Evonne for the adoption plan that gave her our home. Because of the life she had been given, Alyssa had received the Lord as her Savior, guaranteeing her an eternal home in heaven. She was thankful, not resentful. Arm in arm, the two left their meeting place to join the family.
We immediately fell in love with Evonne and her precious family. We began a relationship that we believe will not end. Frank to Evonne that we wanted to adopt her too, and Evonne wanted us to be part of her family as well. Frank wrote out adoption papers for each member of our new family. Everyone signed the document, and we had it witnessed. We believe they are all a part of us now. The seal was stamped in each of our hearts. During the visit, we pointed Evonne’s husband to the Lord, and less than one week later, he prayed to receive Jesus as his Savior.
The story is hardly over. Our new family visited us for a week this summer. We had a wonderful time sharing our interests, our pasts, and our hopes for the future together. Knowing that not every story has such a joyous outcome, we are thankful that the Lord has allowed our lives to be “knit together in love.”
Recalling those sad words that we had a one-in-a-million chance to have a baby, we just chuckle at the wonder of our great God who planned from before time that we would not only have a family, but have a very special one. The Lord has truly given me the desire of my heart. Now instead of having just one daughter, I also have Evonne – and that makes two.
Written by Mari Venezia. This article was published in the Fall 2006 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine.
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