By Adrian Collins
I have been inspired by many in this world: Mother Theresa. Nelson Mandela. Harriet Tubman. Oskar Schindler. Their acts of love and courage were recognized and applauded across the globe. Yet there is a hero of mine whose name is neither printed in any publication or shared on news media. She has become one of my greatest inspirations. She is my son’s birth mom.
When she placed her baby boy in my arms ten years ago, I stood in silent awe at the magnitude of her sacrifice. Her brave and heart-wrenching decision in choosing adoption for her son captured my breath. Her motivation? Love. Pure and selfless love.
Giving Honor at the Adoption Entrustment Ceremony
Before parting ways at the hospital, we had arranged for an adoption entrustment ceremony inside the hospital chapel. This meaningful ritual in open adoption marks the transition of a child from one family to another and emphasizes an extended family connection that will honor and respect the birth mom’s bond to her child.
On the morning of the ceremony, I rose early from bed to polish a poem I’d written for the occasion. Poems were unfamiliar territory to me, yet the words had flowed into my mind like rushing waters and emptied onto a single page. The poem would become a personalized gift. I tucked the poem inside a folder and dressed my three young boys in neatly pressed collared shirts and khaki pants before we piled into the car and headed to the hospital to meet their baby brother. When we pulled into the hospital parking lot, my husband led our family in a word of prayer, asking for God’s guidance in our adoption. I placed my palm on the folder and he prayed for God’s comforting hand on the birth mom as she grieved the loss of her son. We prayed that she would know how much we loved and honored her.
The small chapel was filled with several family members from both our side and the birth mom’s side: grandparents, parents, siblings, spouses, and children sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the dozen church pews to demonstrate their care and support. A pair of white lilies sat on opposite ends of the stage; the bright flowers seemed to radiate against the dark stained-glass backdrop. We filed inside quietly and sat across from the birth mom who held her infant son and stared intently at his sleeping face. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. While strength and courage oozed from her being, I also recognized the painful expression on her face. I was a birth mom once, too. I remembered staring at my infant daughter’s face for those last few minutes with her; soaking in all her sweet features, memorizing the shape of her lips and outline of her nose, willing my mind to never forget. I vowed to make sure her son’s face wouldn’t become a distant memory, but instead would see him whenever possible and develop a sweet relationship with him as he grew.
Words of Love and a Poem Reading
The ceremony began with a short prayer from my pastor. After reading scripture and speaking a few words of encouragement, the birth mom took the stage with her parents at her side. Words of love and adoration for her baby spilled from her lips and hovered over the audience like wisps of a cloud. My husband and I wiped away our tears as she thanked the two of us for our commitment to raising her son.
Several others joined her on stage:
Her parents showered her with affection.
Her sister spoke of her bravery and sacrificial act of love.
My mother offered a baby blanket she’d knitted in colors of navy and brown.
My husband choked back tears as he promised to love her son unconditionally and teach him about Jesus.
When it was my turn to take the stage, my voice trembled as I read the poem I’d written for her:
“Who Knew…that you would learn of a little one growing inside you. Or the fears and anxiety of all that was to come. Who Knew that this little one would listen to your heartbeat, feel your warmth from the beginning.
Who Knew…that I’d hope for another baby to add to our family. That I would pray for a little one to cherish, care for and show God’s love to each and every day.
Who Knew…that our paths would one day cross. That this little one growing inside you would tie us together. Who knew of the friendship that would blossom.
Who Knew…the tears of joy I would feel when you chose us to become the parents of this beautiful baby boy. That our family would embrace and love you. That our boys would pray for you and their new baby brother each night before bedtime. That my heart would wrap around your as we began this journey together.
Who Knew…that you would give birth to a perfect baby boy. That I would look at him with wonder and amazement. Who Knew that we would make a promise to love him unconditionally, care for and support him, encourage him and share with him the story of his beautiful and courageous birth mother.
Who Knew…that I would try to find the right words to tell you just how thankful we are for this beautiful baby boy. That I would thank you for entrusting him to us and giving us this opportunity to love him each and every day. That I would thank you from the bottom of my heart for this gift of love you have given to us.
Who Knew…that this little boy would touch so many lives?
God Knew…that we would be brought together. God formed this baby boy in your womb. God prepared our hearts to embrace this bundle of joy. God painted this beautiful family portrait from the beginning.
And I will thank God each and every day for the child that you gave and for the child we will raise. I thank God for your amazing heart and blessing you are to us. I thank God for the baby boy.
I’m so glad that God Knew…all along.
Inspired by the Love of a Birth Mom
When I finished reading, I locked eyes with our son’s birth mom and hoped she would always know the depth of our gratitude and love for her. “Thank you,” she whispered. I wrapped my arms around her and our baby boy; the three of us encircled in a relationship of trust and mutual love for one another.
Today, when I reflect upon the ceremony, I remember the love of a birth mom. I remember how God knew all along that we would cross paths and she would choose me to parent her baby boy. I remember that “in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). I remember being inspired by her grace and courage. And I continue to thank God for her.