Before we went on our trip to meet the girls and file our paperwork, we were told that we would be meeting our girls' birth Mom. We didn't know until we were in Haiti that we would have the option of maintaining contact with her after our adoption is complete. I believe that God puts people in our lives for specific purposes. If it weren't for our close friends that have an open adoption, this concept might have freaked me out. But, our friends adopted their 10 year old son at birth and have maintained a relationship with his birth Mom. They consider her a part of their family and it is such a beautiful relationship. He obviously does not question who his Mom and Dad are, but he also has no mystery or question about who his birth Mom is. It makes me wonder what would happen if our society was less judgmental of birth Moms who choose adoption. Or what would happen if we would celebrate open adoption as an option so women wouldn't feel adoption means giving up being a part of their child's life. Maybe new attitudes towards adoption would go a long way in making Roe v. Wade unnecessary?
Anyway, off my adoption soap box and on to my story. Our itinerary indicated we would be meeting the girls' birth Mom on Wednesday. I had so many people praying for this meeting, I really did have a peace that passes all understanding. On Tuesday, we had all day at the hotel with the girls. We had just finished lunch when our guide, Patrick, found us at the pool and said "The girls' birth Mom showed up at the orphanage today because she can't come tomorrow". OK, I panicked a little because I thought I had another day to get my thoughts together.
We gathered up the girls, drove to the orphanage and took the girls to the toddler room. Out on the porch, a nicely dressed, very thin woman was introduced to us as the girls’ birth Mom - Alexandra. I gave her a hug and kissed her cheek and Jim gave her a hug. Through Patrick, who interpreted for us, she thanked us for adopting her girls. We thanked her for the girls. I sobbed and couldn't talk (this surprises no one, I know). Once I pulled it back together, we actually had a very natural conversation in a most unnatural situation. We told Alexandra we would send pictures of the girls to the orphanage as they grew up. She asked if she could send pictures of herself to the girls and we said “of course”.
Education is very important to the people of Haiti - when we wrote our dossier to be approved by the Haitian government to adopt, we were encouraged to talk about our plans to educate the children we would adopt. Knowing this, I told her that we had a child already in college and that Sophna and Sophinia would also go to college. This made her smile!
Jim told her we would have the girls pray for her and she said that was good, because she knew she needed to go to church more. I asked her if she had Jesus in her heart and she said "not yet but I am thinking about it"! So Jim told her we would pray for her to ask Jesus into her heart.
We asked her what she wanted us to make sure we told the girls about her as they were growing up. She said to tell them that she was very young and very poor and couldn't take care of them.
Then they brought the girls out to us and Jim and I backed off and let her love on them. We no longer had an interpreter so we just sat together in a peaceful silence while she held the girls. We had someone take these pictures of us that I know the girls will treasure. (Well, Sophna might not be happy that you can really tell she has that belly in these pictures!)
The nannies took the girls back to change diapers and when the girls were gone, she told an interpreter standing near us to tell us she was leaving. I said to the interpreter "ask her if she wants to wait to say good-bye to the girls" but she shook her head. I am sure good-bye was just too hard. Jim and I hugged her and I kissed her cheek and then she was down the driveway.
She can come see the girls every other month until we bring them home. There is a specific day that birth moms can visit their children that live at the orphanage or get updates on their children who have been adopted. And, we are definitely committed to maintaining contact with her, through the orphanage, as our daughters grow.We know it just seems downright unfair that this Mom is not able to raise her girls because of the conditions in Haiti. She is living in a tent and looks like she can barely feed herself. But, the reality is, she chose love by bringing her daughters in to be adopted. We are so blessed and grateful to God to be given the chance to also choose love by becoming their Mommy and Daddy - in addition to, not in place of, the Mommy that gave them life. Please keep Alexandra in your prayers.