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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Is a picture really worth a thousand words?

I received a picture of our baby and her birth mother today. It was taken by the lab that administered the DNA test a couple of weeks ago. I've been anxiously awaiting this picture, and I realized, only upon glancing at it for the first time, that I expected it to answer so many of my lingering questions. I tore open the envelope and stared at it for a full 3 minutes, drinking in every single detail. What was she wearing? What was the texture of her hair? What was the shape of her eyes? Were her ears pierced? Did she wear makeup? Did she look healthy? What was that ring on her finger? Was she smiling? How did she hold the baby? Did it look like she would change her mind? After a while I set the picture down feeling rather dissatisfied. It didn't answer any of my true questions. What is her situation? How does she feel about this adoption? Who is the father? What is their relationship? What has her life been like? Who is her family? What are her interests? her goals? What is her personality? Who is she? These are the questions that I am desperate to have answered. These are likely to be the questions that my daughter will be desperate to have answered at some point in her life. I was getting a taste of how my baby may feel some day: a yearning to know everything there is to know about a virtual stranger who has affected our lives so deeply.
The magnitude of what's happening jumped out of that picture and hit me like a sucker punch in the gut. This young woman is losing a baby and our daughter is losing her birth family. On the flip side our baby is gaining a pretty nice family in California who loves her very much, and, of course, we feel like the luckiest family on Earth to be able to call her our own. It's monumental for all involved, and seeing that picture brought it all into perspective for me.
The birth mother's birthdate was on the paperwork that the lab sent me, and I realized that she is exactly two weeks younger than my baby sister, Hannah, who just turned 19 and is in her second year at Sacramento State. More perspective.
Our baby girl is four months old today and still we are struggling with her name. It's bumming me out a little not to have it figured out. Pretty soon I'm just going to make an executive decision and name her already! ~Heather

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