Are you thirsty?

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

“Children thirst to hear where they came from…
they need to know that they were desired,
that their birth was a wonder, and they were always
the object of love and care.”

~ Marcelle Clements

The boys never tire of hearing about the day they were born, how I labored them into this world. They love to hear of when they were still slippery and wet against my bare skin and we gazed deeply into each others eyes for the first time.

Captain Knuckle joins us earth-side

Captain Knuckle full on smiled at me – yes, a real smile that spoke of recognition and joy at seeing each other again. I don’t care what the experts say, this mother’s heart knows that was his first real smile and it was glorious.  And then I cried because my heart was so full of love for this tiny creature. (That’s us above – Captain Knuckle came so quickly the doctor didn’t even have time to put gloves on! What the picture doesn’t capture is me sobbing over and over and over, “It’s my baby, it’s my baby – no one can take him from me!”)

The Professor is born

When the Professor was born, it was about 25 minutes from the first contraction to when he was placed in my arms. When he landed safely in my arms, he looked up at me with a wide eyed gaze as if to say, “Hi there. I love you. Can you please explain what just happened to me?”  And I cried because my heart was so full of love for this tiny creature.

Princess P with mama on the delivery table

When the doctor (the one with the hands of a surgeon but the heart of a midwife) passed Princess P. across the surgical drape nine months and one day ago, she was placed on my bare skin just like all of her siblings. I couldn’t look directly into her eyes because I was on the surgical table, but I wrapped my arms around her as the nurse snapped my gown back together with Princess P. tucked inside and covered us with warm blankets.  I inhaled deeply and breathed in that heavenly scent of peace and wonder that new babies bring with them. She was so calm, so warm – perfect, just like you. We lay there together for the entire time it took to close the incision, our hearts beating against each other. And I cried because my heart was so full of love for this tiny creature.

Every child’s birth was a wonder, a miraculous dance of the oldest kind. Each of you has always been the constant object of my love and care. This mother-love is what innervates my cells and motivates so many of my decisions. I hope that someday you will want to know your story so you can understand you were not just adopted but you were born.

Someday, I hope to have the honor of  telling you of your journey into this world and that yes, you were labored over, bled for, cried for, and above all else – loved.

Much love,


13 thoughts on “Are you thirsty?

  1. I am at work quickly catching reading 2 blog posts. You forgot to put a warning at the top of this – please have Kleenex in hand and don’t cry at work.

  2. (((((((((Melynda))))))))) I have those wonderful stories too- Jean has indeed asked me about the day she was born. I love telling all of my children their story. Also you made me blubber too, memory is so very overwhelming at times. I love you!

  3. I read adult adoptees (women, anyway) are often motivated to begin searching when they become mothers themselves. This is certainly true for me. Because I have experienced a story like the ones you’ve shared here, and now I want to know the story of my birth. Not the why-I-was-relinquished story, necessarily. The story of the-moment-I-entered-the-world. I want to believe it is magical for every child, even me.

  4. One of the greatest losses I feel for my children adopted from Africa is of the stories of their births. I too love telling my birthed children of the first moment they slipped out of my body and into my arms. I appreciate telling my adopted children of the first moment I saw them, touched them, but it really isn’t the same. I wonder too, how much did they weigh? Did their mothers nurse them? were they born at home, in a hospital? Maybe I wouldn’t want to tell Evan’s story too much because the sole thing I know about her is that she died “in childbirth” I wish I knew if she lived to hold him, if she gave him the name he had at three years of age when I met him. I hope she did, I hope Evans Mwape was what she called him because I kept his name in her honor, just a minor change adding on our last name and dropping the S from Evans, now Evan Mwape English.

    I wish I could tell Mariah about the t-shirt she was wrapped in by her mother, I wish I could tell her the name she was given at birth, about the first moment she looked up at her mother’s face. The information I have is so, so limited. Her mother was “school aged” and in Zambia that translates to younger than 16. Her mother traveled by by bus to the bus stop directly in front of a hospital. Held her, wrapped in an old t-shirt and handed her to a woman near by. She said “I’ve lost my money, will you hold my baby while I look for it?” Put her in the arms of the woman and left never to return.

    Over and over again I contemplate that journey taken by mother and child. That journey, the one that led the young mother to leave her in another’s arms in a place of perceived safety must have torn her heart out. She could have left her alone on the steps of a church, she could have tied her in a grocery sack and left her at the side of the road. I know children with these very back stories. I tell Mariah over and over again “Your mother must have loved you so much. She went to such great lengths to ensure you were safe and warm and cared for.”

    I ache to be able to find that young woman, to be able to share Mariah with her, to be able to assure her that we love and adore Mariah, that she’s safe and warm and cared for. Whatever desperate circumstances led her to that bus stop, her child fresh from birth to that bus stop, I know she loves her still, that she thinks about her, wonders about her, hopes for her.

    • Have you ever tried finding her, Monica? I know it might be a slim possibility of finding Mariah’s Africa Mom, but I just wondering what the process might be like for someone in your position.

      • I don’t know how we would even start. I don’t have a name, a picture, even the birthday on the birth certificate is circumspect. I have imagined it, but can’t think of a feasible way it could happen.

      • That’s really hard, for both you and Mariah. I hope that one day the impossible becomes possible and you can all meet each other. Can I be a fly on a wall if it does? I promise I will be a good one and not bother anyone!

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