From the day we were married, even before, my husband and I felt like we were called to adopt a child. It was an unexplainable feeling for me, one which I attached many rational explanations to, despite they not accurately reflecting my feelings. These feelings included, for example, wanting to be proactively pro-life or supporting women who feel like they have no options upon discovering an unwanted pregnancy. Some time after the birth of my first biological son, we began a two year-long adoption process.
After many hopes and heartbreak, I felt like I couldn’t go on much longer. The ups and downs of adoption situations that fell through were more than my husband and I could bear. I called my agency and told them not to show us to any other expectant moms for a while, just so we could breathe and recover. The following week we had a much-needed worship and prayer meeting at our home with a handful of friends from where we lived. While deep in prayer, I suddenly felt yanked out of the moment as if doused with cold water. “That is weird!” I remember thinking to myself. I looked at the clock next to me and noticed it was 9:44pm. The next day, I got a phone call from our adoption social worker: they had shown our profile to an expectant mom, we had been chosen, and our son was born last night at 9:44pm.
Several months after we brought our little guy home, I found myself running errands with my own mom. She asked me the question on why we adopted, and I gave her my rehearsed answer. But then she got quiet and something shifted in the air around us. From the core of my being, I knew the answer to the question I was about to ask, but out of fear it took me a few moments to speak the words: “Mom, have you ever had an abortion?”
Before I take you down the journey to healing, I want to tell you that I’m an only child, born to a military family that moved every few years. I have dreamed and pined for a sibling. It has been the greatest emptiness I have ever felt. Hearing that there was someone who was supposed to be there, yet wasn’t, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to process. I’ve taken that realization, that pain, to therapy. I’ve taken it to a priest, and I’ve taken it to a healing prayer ministry. I’ve forgiven and been proactive about restoration, but every now and then, I find that my woundedness hasn’t been completely healed.
I was at adoration recently and the now-familiar pain of loss began to bubble up again. I asked the Lord, “Can you tell me anything about my sibling? Even though we are separated by the veil between heaven and earth, I want to know him or her.” In my mind, I got an image of my little son, the one who was grafted into our family by adoption. I also had an internal understanding that the sibling that was in heaven was a brother, similar in a way to my little son. I gave him the same name as my son, to honor him and to let my little boy know that he was named after a great saint- his uncle.
A second moment of understanding arose when I began to contemplate how he must have felt, watching from heaven as the mother that had loved and nurtured me was the one who had discarded him, despite the reasons she had. In that little adoration chapel, I happened to glance over at a corner to a statue of Mary, holding the infant Jesus. Just as fast as the glance was that realization that my brother went straight into the arms of Mary. He didn’t enter heaven as a fully grown man but instead as a baby, mothered tenderly by Mary herself. He grew in her love in Heaven, lacking nothing. My
gratefulness to Mary overflowed for loving this one small person who I never met. Thank you, Mama, for being the mama he needed all of his life and for continuing to mother me.