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.