Thursday, August 1, 2013

What Do You Say to Someone Who Gives You Their Child?

Fourteen years ago, today, we adopted twin baby boys from a beautiful teenage young woman. Every year, on their birthday, I write a letter updating her about the boys and sending her pictures of them. I remember, before they were born, when we knew the adoption was really going to happen, I wrestled with the question: What do you say to someone who gives you their child?

This would be a woman who would go through 40 weeks of growing a baby inside her own body, or in our case two babies, and then endure the painful procedure of giving birth, and at the end would give me her precious, beautiful boys.

I understood my part of the adoption process, loving a child. I already had two bio kids. I knew how to love, cuddle, kiss, care for, rock, feed, change, play with, smile at, tickle, read to, and raise a child. I also knew how painful, emotional, spiritual, miraculous and amazing it was to give birth.

Having loved two children, I could not under any circumstances, imagine giving my child to someone else. I knew some women who did not want their child, for whatever reason, were free to have an abortion at any time. So, why go through the nine months of growing a baby in your own body, just to give them to someone else to enjoy, forever?  I had a hard time dropping my daughter off on her first day of preschool. I drove home bawling in the car, counting the two hundred and ten minutes until I could pick her up again.

This time I would be on the receiving end. Someone had chosen me (and the hubby) to give their babies to forever. First, I knew she must really love those boys to endure the nine months, knowing she would end up with nothing but stretch marks at the end. Then, to go through meeting potential adoptive parents, get counseling from the adoption agency, to make sure she was of sound mind and knew exactly what she was doing, and go to court to make the whole thing legal and permanent. She had to put the good of her children ahead of her emotions. She had to want the very best for those babies growing inside her.

So, back to my question: What do you say to someone who gives you their child?

The words ‘thank you’ seemed so inadequate. You say ‘thank you’ when someone passes you the potatoes. You say ‘thank you’ when someone holds the door open for you. Should we bring flowers? We did. Should we buy her a gift, like jewelry? We did. Should we buy her a gift card for food or other necessities? We did. But, we gave those things to other women who had a baby, and they weren’t giving us their child to keep.

It is just impossible to comprehend. Because the truth is: there are no words to say to someone who gives you their child. There just aren’t.  It is an act that is too huge, too amazing, too selfless, too generous and too loving for a response. It is right up there with the words Jesus spoke “No one has a greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.”  This birth mother denied herself and gave up part of her life, the life she nurtured inside herself, and laid that life in my arms. It is still such an amazing thing.

I stumbled through the words 14 years ago. I said ‘thank you.’ I hugged her. I promised to love her twin boys with all of my heart, for all of my life. What did she want in return? She wanted me to tell them how much she loved them. She wanted me to tell them  she loved them more than they would ever know.

It is such a huge, self-sacrificing concept. I am not sure I will ever be able to fully relay to them the depth of her love.
They did ask me once when they were little, “Mom, remember your friend?”

“Which friend is that?” I asked.

“Your friend that you adopted us out of her belly?”

“Yes, I remember her,” I smiled; glad they knew she was my friend.

“She was really nice, wasn’t she?” he asked simply.

“Yes, son, she was really nice.”

One day, they will know and possibly understand. But today, I sit down to write a letter to the woman, who 14 years ago today, gave me, gave our family, the best gift ever. She gave me the most beautiful twin baby boys, that had grown in her belly. My boys, and her boys too. To her I will say ‘thank you’, again and again and again.

Twin's birthday
  How about you. What would you have said? Any other adoptive parents struggle with this question?


  1. A beautiful piece about stepping into what God gives you. We should all be so grace-filled when we receive a blessing of this magnitude. We may say thank-you but it's inadequate. Thanks Robyn.

  2. Thank you for writing this. Watching a birth mother go through life loving and missing her child her whole is not easy. Her grief consuming her. It is a comfort to know that the woman who is now the mother of Her child loves as deeply as she loves, so that the child who is loved twice over know it. Thank Robin for being a mother.

  3. I have tears in my eyes from reading this. Thank you Robyn for writing such a moving and heartfelt tribute to the birth mother. I couldn't imagine giving up a child. It was hard enough watching my son drive away last week for 17 days. What a blessing you received 14 years ago.

  4. Thank you for reading and for your kind comments. I love sharing how loving the boy's birth mother was. I admire her and am so incredibly thankful and blessed to have these boys. They have been such a blessing to our family and we all love them so much.

  5. Robyn, what a precious thought to share. I tend to forget this part of my story because my parents are the only mom and dad I've known. But 32 years ago my birth mom was giving me up and my parents were figuring out a response as you were. My parents couldn't have children and they may not have had me. My birth mom could have decided as you mentioned to have an abortion, and as my mom describes it, that's what she was told to do by her boyfriend at the time. She instead went to live in a home away from what she knew, away from her family, and after 9 months of being uncomfortable she gave me up rather than the alternative. I thought it was interesting her request. She wasn't a believer, but she asked for a Christian family to adopt me. She knew I would be well taken care of. I tend to forget those moments and feelings I'm sure my parents and my bio mom had that day. Thanks for giving me some perspective. God is most certainly faithful, and his hand is all over my story and yours. He's most definitely the greatest adoptive parent of all! Thankful for his love and acceptance!

  6. Thanks for sharing your story Chris. I love hearing the adult perspective, since I have only been on this side. I'm so glad adoption is a biblical concept and am so grateful that God has adopted us into His family.There really is a lot of love to go around in adoption. Blessings to you and your family.

  7. So beautifully said! I am going to print this out for CJ to read when he is older. It is so hard to put into words and you did a GREAT job! Thank youQ

  8. Beautiful, Robyn! I have written those letters too! No words to express how humble and blessed it makes me feel to be entrusted with two lives that might never have been a part of me had their moms chosen differently!

  9. Still brings me to tears! Thank you for speaking my heart!

  10. Thanks Norma and Michele! I know you both feel the way I feel. There just are no words to express the depth of feeling to these women, for how they have blessed us. Happy Mother's Day to you both!

  11. This is so sweet Robyn, and you have loved them well. You and Vince have kept your promise and I know you will continue to!

  12. So very touching, I am sure I would never be able to articulate something as meaningful, as beautifully as you have... So much to think about... I wish I were a writer. :)

    1. Thanks for your kind words Karen. They mean a lot.

  13. Just beautiful! I'm sure the gratefulness just pours out of you every time you look at your boys. What a strong and courageous women she was to give her boys to you! Blessings always!