Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Trenches / Chapter 1 / Nothing Short of a Miracle

On December 6th we welcomed a new little life into our family. When I heard her first startled cries, my heart skipped a beat. "Oh! A baby. I have a baby!" Somehow the recent months of friendly tummy taps and watching my middle expand hadn’t exactly prepared me for this moment.

Even a week later I found myself holding a little bundle wrapped in pink and marveling that she was mine. The little rosebud mouth, the thick brown hair that was a departure from the Hansen norm, the long slender fingers–all belonged to my daughter.

As I rocked little Natalie and continued to examine her tiny features, I found myself thinking of my sister . . . Feeling grateful to even have a sister.
Most people are a little puzzled when I tell them that my sister and I are only five months apart. Sometimes I let them noodle over that fact a while before I explain that Sherri is adopted.

Growing up, I thought I knew what it meant to have a sister who was adopted. Basically, instead of bringing baby Sherri home from the hospital, Mom and Dad flew to California and brought her home from there instead. Although the story of how she came to be in our family was different from my own, I didn’t consider it extraordinary.

Having children, however, has altered my perspective. As I held my newborn daughter, awed that she belonged to me, I realized that years ago another mother had also held a tiny daughter–a daughter that would be hers to cherish only momentarily.

What must Sherri’s birth mother have felt, knowing that the infant she had just given life to would soon spend that life cared for by another? Although I will probably never be able to fully answer that question, I do know that sticking to her decision was anything but easy.

When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, a woman may decide to terminate the pregnancy, keep the child and raise it herself, or give the baby up for adoption. Living with any of these options creates challenges. Only one of the choices, however, made it possible for me to have a sister.

I often find myself holding my precious newborn and thinking of Sherri’s birth mother and others like her. Their decision to have a baby and choose adoption is nothing short of a miracle.

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