The house was filled with after-school noise. We had just walked in. My kids and their friends were clamoring for snacks. My 10-year old handed me the phone, saying, “It’s for you!”
Setting my purse on the table, I grabbed the phone, holding one hand over my ear so I could hear. A tentative, young female voice asked me if there was anyone in my family named Donna. When I told her I had a sister-in-law named Donna, my caller gasped and became silent.
Finally, she spoke again, her voice trembling, “This may sound funny, but did she have a baby 21 years ago?”
I was honored to receive this phone call, which brought together an adopted daughter and two mothers who have since forever bonded. What follows is each mother’s story of the circumstances and love surrounding Erin’s adoption.
A mother’s sacrifice
Donna: I found out I was pregnant at 21, while involved in an unhealthy relationship. At first, I excitedly saved and planned for my baby’s arrival. By the time I was seven months along, my worries about being able to provide security and stability for my child became overwhelming. Abortion had never been an option. I loved my baby, and after anguishing hours of prayer, it seemed unfair for my child to be raised in my current situation. More than anything, I longed for my child to grow up in a stable home with two parents who could provide a loving environment.
A friend sent me to a minister who had contact with such a couple. Even though I never met the couple, I was told they were from a small town where they attended church. They had been trying to have a child for several years, but were now hopeful of adopting a baby. I believed they were the right parents, and the appropriate paperwork was filed.
The day I gave birth, the nurse announced it was a girl and whisked her off to the nursery. My arms ached to hold the precious baby I knew would soon be out of my life. The nurses told me it was better that I not see the baby, but I insisted. After carrying her for nine months, I had to hold her. For the next three days, I held, rocked, fed and prayed for the tiny child, but I never wavered on my decision to give my daughter a better future.
The hardest thing I ever did was leave the hospital without my baby. For the next three months, I stayed in my room grieving the loss of my baby girl.
When it was time to sign the final papers, I sent a box to the attorney to give to my baby’s adoptive parents. It contained a blanket my grandmother had made, a pair of booties, and a letter. The letter told the parents that I hoped my baby completed their lives and that they would fulfill hers. I let them know that if she ever wanted to find me when she was older, I would love to meet her.
Overjoyed with Erin
Nita: My husband and I tried for years to have a baby. In desperation, we let our minister and everyone else know we wanted to adopt. Word came that a young pregnant girl wanted a good home for her baby. Arrangements were made, and we waited.
When word came of our baby’s birth, I squealed with delight. When we held her, we fell madly in love with our little Erin. I was fearful that the birth mother might change her mind until I read her letter the day we signed the final papers. It was then that I realized the sacrifice Donna had made for her daughter and for us. From that moment on, I loved Donna, and I always told Erin the special story of how she came to us.
Each year on Erin’s birthday, I thought of the sadness Donna must feel. Deep in my heart, I knew someday we would meet and be able to thank her. Erin grew up a happy little girl in a country home with a horse to ride and surrounded by love. When Erin was six, I gave birth to a baby boy. She became troubled about being adopted. As a teen, Erin became even more interested in knowing her biological mom. I showed her Donna’s letter and told her Donna’s name. I reassured her it would not hurt my feelings if she wanted to find her birth mom.
Erin tried to search for her to no avail. Each time she went to the city, Erin looked up related names in the phone book. The call that finally connected them came after four years of searching.
A Happy Reunion
Donna and Erin arranged to meet two days after the phone call. When they first saw each other, it was as though each of them were looking into a mirror. Not only did they look alike, their hair, make-up and clothes were uncannily similar. Their personalities were even the same. They hugged, talked and bonded as if they had always known one another.
Nita sent along a box filled with photos from every year of Erin’s life so Donna could get caught up. Looking through pictures of swimming lessons, birthday parties, basketball games and family gatherings, Donna knew she had made the right choice for her daughter 21 years ago. Nita also sent a moving letter telling Donna how much the gift of her daughter meant, and how she hoped Donna and Erin could pick up where they left off. Nita told Donna she loved her and hoped they could be friends. The letter ended with, “There’s nothing wrong with Erin having two moms!”
Since that phone call, Nita and Donna have maintained an ongoing relationship, expressing the unselfish love of two mothers—one who gave her birth daughter away out of love, and another who gave her back out of love.