Hannah’s Story: The Other Side of Adoption, By Nicole Wick

Please welcome guest blogger Nicole Wick (@nicolewick on twitter). Nicole is an adopted daughter, and graciously agreed to write in honor of National Adoption Month. Find Nicole at www.nicolewick.com, and www.xxxChurch.com

I was adopted when I was three months old. My first home was an orphanage in Vietnam, one of many orphanages that housed thousands of children born out of the Vietnam war. I would have stayed in Vietnam had it not been for an international effort to airlift children out of the country before it fell to the communist regime. Like about three thousand other orphans, I flew out of Vietnam in the belly of a U.S. military cargo jet. Older children lined the side benches while infants like myself slept side by side tucked into cardboard boxes in the middle of the empty planes. When I arrived in the United States, I was adopted by a wonderful family and have lived my entire life in a comfortable Midwestern community thousands of miles away from rice paddies and land mines.

Adoption is such a beautiful thing. Adoption brought me into a family, something that I will always be grateful for. I used to think of adoption as putting together — two parents coming together with a child to create a family. But when I had my children, I started to understand that adoption is also an undoing — a mother being separated from her child. This “other side” of adoption is probably the reason I am so drawn to the Old Testament story of Hannah and Samuel.

In 1 Samuel 1 and 2 Hannah, a woman who desperately wants a son, promises God that if He blesses her with a child she will sacrifice that child to the Lord’s service. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for Hannah to take Samuel, the little boy she wanted so desperately, up to the temple and leave him. To just walk away. We know from verse 1:24 that she kept him with her until he was weaned which, in those days would have made him about two years old. Two. As a mom, I read that and wonder if he looked at her with big eyes pleading with her to stay. I wonder if he wrapped his chubby, dimpled baby fingers around her hand as she placed him before Eli. I wonder if he cried when she was leaving. I want to know if anyone was there to comfort Hannah’s precious toddler as she walked away. And I can’t help but wonder how long before he realized she wasn’t coming back.

1 Samuel 2:19 is one of my all time favorite Bible verses. It reads, “Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her sacrifice.” As a mom, I think this may be the most tender verse in the entire Bible. I imagine Hannah counting the days until it was time to take the sacrifice to the temple and see her little boy once again. I love the picture of her carefully, lovingly sewing together a little robe to take to him. In my mind she takes her time with each hem, knowing that the thread would be the only thing connecting her to him for another year. I see Hannah sewing her love, a mother’s love, into every stitch. I know that she must have rubbed her face against the cloth so he could wear her scent or feel the touch of her kiss even if it was only on his clothes. And I’m sure that she wondered every day if her little boy remembered her.

I love Hannah. I love birth moms. They are the unsung heroes representing the other side of adoption. While it’s great to honor the coming together, I think it is equally important to honor the coming undone. And so, I honor my birth mom:

Thank you for the gift of your sacrifice. Thank you for bravely walking away and giving me over to something better even if I cried. Thank you for thinking about me all these years (like I know you must) wishing you could give me a hug, a kiss, a touch, or a little token made with your love. Thank you for loving me enough. I remember you.

About Sarah Pinnix

I'm a mom, blogger, vlogger, libertarian. I love Jesus, and my husband, too. Social Media Strategist for a Non-Profit (All statements here are solely my own)


  1. Beautiful.

    I have tears. What a special gift to your mother.

    Is that picture yours? You?


  2. How could you not cry after reading this. I can only imagine what it felt like to write it. My husband was adopted at birth. Though he has not interest in finding his birth mother, he open to the idea if our daughter wishes to find her.

    thank you for sharing your story!


  3. Musings of a Housewife says:

    I love this post. I just forwarded it to a good friend who is an adoptive mom. Thank you for speaking so beautifully of adoption!


  4. Serena Woods says:

    Oh, my goodness. Nicole. So beautiful. I was adopted when I was ten. I watched my mom sign the papers and I saw the mascara run down her cheeks when the car drive away. She gave me the only the she had…away. A way. She let me have a future.

    You have reminded me. And moved me.

    Thank you, friend.



  5. Serena Woods says:

    Oh, my goodness. Nicole. So beautiful. I was adopted when I was ten. I watched my mom sign the papers and I saw the mascara run down her cheeks when the car drive away. She gave me the only the she had…away. A way. She let me have a future.

    You have reminded me. And moved me.

    Thank you, friend.



  6. Nicole Wick says:

    @ohamanda – Thank you so much. The picture is actually from a friend who was an aid worked. I have a few more of his photos on n adoption post on my blog: http://www.nicolewick.com/my-adoption-story/

    @Theresa – Thank you for your kind words. BTW – love your twitter avatar 😉

    @Musings of a Housewife – I'm honored that you would forward my post to someone else. Wow. Thank you.

    @Serena – I love you dear friend. Thank you for sharing a thumbnail of your story in your comment. You always inspire me.


  7. Jenni Clayville says:

    You are SO beautiful, my friend.

    We were told we were infertile after a 3 year struggle and were on our way to adopting out of Kenya, we found ourselves pregnant with Chance (hence his name).

    The verse we had painted in Chance's room was Hannah's prayer, "I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." ~1 Samuel 1:27-28

    I have often thought about how Hannah gave Samuel up to the Lord and how too have promised the Lord the same thing of my children… every day

    Adoption has always been in our life plan… and your post has reminded me of how each child is planned… by God.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I love you, dear friend!


  8. Melissa @the Cellulite Investigation says:

    My sister-in-law was also adopted from Vietnam as an infant during the war. She was on the last plane carrying orphans to the States. My father is a Vietnam veteran, and it makes him so proud to see his grandchildren, half-Vietnamese, Half-Italian American.

    I can't help including a link to their picture on my blog –I know you moms/grandmoms out there will understand this. It's a compulsion that cannot be ignored. Sorry!:D


  9. MoreThanMommy says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Vietnam is such a beautiful country with a rich culture. You are so lucky to have so many facets to your history!

    I wanted to suggest the book Motherbridge of Love from Barefoot Books. It's technically about Chinese adoption, but it really expresses the forever bond between the birth mother and the child she lovingly gave up for adoption:


  10. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.


  11. Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama says:

    I had no idea that babies came over like that from Vietnam…what a gift those mothers gave. Bless you for honoring them in this way and sharing your touching story!


  12. Print Postcards says:

    "Adoption brought me into a family, something that I will always be grateful for."

    And you are really lucky and blessed. You are God's gift to your family. Thank you for sharing this very nice post.


  13. AdoptAuthor says:

    I have never heard that bible story told more beautifully nor felt it more deeply!

    My favorite bible story is that of moses, another baby lost to the mother who bore and suckled her infant son, for the three months she hid him before releasing him to save his life and then again as his wet nurse. I often think of Jochobed nursing her son, his looking up at her, and then handing him over to the Princess.

    Even though Moses was educated in the greatest Egyptian schools of the time (Acts 7:22), he remembered his parents’ early teachings about God and became "a man of power in words and deeds." When he was 40 years old, Moses left behind everything in Egypt, to save "his people" and lead millions of freed slaves.

    The bible teaches us that adoption – the taking and caring of another's child can be a glorious thing, as it ws for you, but it does not erase or undo one's original =heritage (as unfortunately American adoption today does by sealing one's original identity forever).

    Today, many Asian adoptees are seeking and returning to their roots and also trying to help mothers in crisis not have to face the pain of Hannah and Jochobed, but be offered assistance in their time of need, as, I beleive, Jesus would have us do.

    Please see two current stories about Korean adoptees:



    Gob Bless, and thank you again for your insights and for sharing so poignantly and graciously. I wish you much love and wholeness.


  14. AdoptAuthor says:

    PS I was so moved by your story I quoted it with a link back here on my blog:


    I pray all here read Exodus 2:1-10.


  15. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this!

    I don't know what to say…thank you.


  16. That was so beautifully written. I was moved to tears. My husband is looking at me like I am nuts. Thank you for sharing.


  17. baby furniture says:

    So beautiful!.. so touchable!.. thank you for sharing… thank you for speaking so beautifully of adoption!…


  18. Nicole Wick says:

    Hi everyone,

    I am beside myself with all of these wonderful comments. Thank you so much for reading my post and for giving me such love and encouragement.

    Thank You!


  19. Ginkgo100 says:

    I think about my adopted son's first mom all the time…


  20. Beautiful, thank you for sharing this side of the story. I need to revisit that passage <3



  1. […] days later, count ‘em: one-two, I am reading this very blog. I see this guest post, by Nicole Wick. I read a beautifully woven story about a woman that found faith, devotion, and […]

  2. […] The tears recently spilled over as the blogging dots were connected in an amazing way. Back in November, it was National Adoption Month.  Not having any adoption experience, I put out a call on Twitter for guest bloggers.  My incredible and inspirational friend, Nicole Wick answered the call and posted this touching story of her adoption from Vietnam. […]

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