“Ten years ago, I was sitting on a bench in the Olive Garden seating area, a nervous wreck. The clammy hands, feet bouncing, heart racing, on the verge of a panic attack-kind of nervous. I was about to meet the mother of who I hoped and prayed more than anything was my unborn child. In walked this beautiful, bubbly girl with a smile as big as her belly. She wrapped me up in a hug and said, ‘you’re not nervous are you!?’ In our two hours with her, she told us she loved motherhood and wanted to give another woman the experience of being a mom. She told us of the life she wanted her baby to have – and the successful black man she knew he would grow to be – because she refused to let any child she gave birth to be cheated out of life, just because hers wasn’t together at the time.
She told me her biggest fear was that she would regret this decision for the rest of her life. I promised myself right then and there that if she chose me, I would spend every day of his life making sure she wouldn’t.
He was in my arms two weeks later.
She endured her greatest loss in order to deliver me my greatest joy. She gave him life and loved him first, and even though the stretch marks from his pregnancy might not be found on my skin, she made sure they were etched all across my heart before he was ever born.
One year later we got a call from the agency telling us his birth mother wanted us to adopt another baby she was about to have. He would be our son’s full, biological brother and she wanted them to be together. They flew her to our state and we talked over dinner about the last year we spent with our son, Eli, and the hopes she had for his brother and for us. We thought because they were siblings and we had just given this agency over half of our annual income, and sold most of our belongings to bring Eli home, that they would be willing to work with us. Some kind of discount, a payment plan…anything to keep these brothers together and honor her wishes. To make a long story short, when they found out we did not have the money to cover their fees, they cut off communication and began showing her other profiles, giving her the impression we were not interested. Knowing we had to be able to tell our son we did everything we could to adopt his little brother, we began to fight hard for this boy.
He was our first failed adoption.
Cue touchy subject here and not my story alone to share: What I will say is that God only ever has imperfect people to work through (including me) and some at this agency saw a profit instead of a baby. We exposed them for that by going behind their backs, resulting in a cease and desist letter and threats from their lawyers. We had no choice but to let go and grieve the loss of the baby boy who would never be ours. The last thing we heard was that she had placed him with another family. The agency never delivered our letters or pictures that she requested, and we never heard from her again. We were forced into a very closed adoption due to an agency that failed us both. In the following years this agency was decertified, and the owner went to prison for fraud and embezzlement, leaving behind him the trail of broken hearts he was responsible for, including hers and ours.
One night, 10 years later, we received a message on Facebook from Eli’s birth mother. She knew our first names and like a needle in a haystack opened an account to find us. We immediately responded and filled in the missing pieces and began planning for the day she could see him again and find peace in the decision she made all those years ago.
That moment arrived last week. She hadn’t seen him since the day she left him at the hospital over 10 years ago.
The moment she walked into the room and they took each other in can only be described as one of those rare, deeply awing moments that etches itself deep in your soul where you know you will forever remember it. One of those moments where I give up words for a while because none of them are big enough. I felt quiet and small. Standing there, I felt like my heart had taken up residence in my throat and it would come crawling out if I tried to speak. The awe of this moment coming full circle made me wonder if I should slip my shoes off because I felt as if I was suddenly standing on the most holy ground.
In that moment, standing there, hugging each other with tears streaming down our faces, we became motherhood for this beautiful boy. She gave him life and I was teaching him how to live it. She came to connect him to a past I could not give him, and I am giving him a future she could not provide. I have spent every day for the last decade looking into those big brown eyes that hold no gene of mine, being reminded of the love and bravery and heartbreak it took for her to let him go. It is now my one great honor to be able to give her back these moments of his life after what she has given me for the rest of mine.
But wait. Hold on to your hearts friends, because the story doesn’t end here.
Because God. Because He is good all the time and He works all things together for our good, the remaining piece of that wreckage was also restored this week.
Eli and his biological brother who went to another family have lived 45 minutes from each other for their entire lives, and have never met. Until now.
Their birth mom arranged for a day they could meet while she was visiting. When I saw him running down the hotel hallway towards us, I realized that a part of my heart had always belonged with this sweet boy. We all hugged, holding on a little tighter than you would a normal stranger. The boys swam and showed each other their tricks. They could do all the same ones. We played a getting to know you game and half of their answers were the same.
After we left, knowing our lives would always be a little bit fuller now, I cried the entire drive home just thinking about all of the ‘might have beens’ with him and I grieved the last 10 years they missed of each other. But that day, I made slime with him and he shared his Milk Duds with me and we talked about the girls he likes as if we’d been doing this all his life. I hugged him tight and saw how God wrote this story for the good of all of us. For me, for his mother who needed him, and for his birth mother who had to make an impossible choice. Most especially though, for the two of them.
Their story began with brokenness and heartache and tears. But there was also selflessness and joy and laughter and hope and gratitude and so, so much love weaved right alongside it. I hope someday they will see that they too have the strength to live and laugh and love, not in spite of the loss they have experienced, but because of it.
I cannot wait for the day when these boys understand God’s hand in their own stories and recognize just how loved they are down to the smallest detail of their wonderfully unique lives. And to you, beautiful you, while you wait for the miracle God has in store for you, whatever that may be, rest assured that He is making something beautiful out of your situation and of you.”
This is an exclusive story to Love What Matters. For permission to use, email Exclusive@LoveWhatMatters.com.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kortni Miller, 36, of Utah. You can follow this special reunion story, and learn more about their adoption journey on her Instagram, born.from.my.heart.
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