70: Our Mother’s Heart

70: Our Mother’s Heart

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Amazing Mom

Our Mother’s Heart

A mother’s love for her child is like no other love. To be able to put that feeling aside because you want the best for your child is the most unselfish thing I know.

~Mary, American Adoptions Birth Mother

In 1962, my mother experienced a heart-wrenching betrayal. She clutched me, a one-year-old baby, in her arms, and crossed the shabby apartment to face my callous biological father. “I’m pregnant with our second child.”

He shook his head in disgust. “Give both kids to the orphanage. I don’t want anything to do with them.”

Heartbroken, she told her doctor the news during her next prenatal check-up.

“I’ve taken care of you and your family for years,” the doctor said. “I’d like to share a story with you.”

The doctor told Mom about a childless couple he knew. “They’d do anything for a baby. They’re wonderful people and would give your little one a good life. The baby would be loved and protected. Your child would have a secure future.”

Alone and unable to support two children, Mom made the agonizing decision to let the couple adopt her soon-to-be-born baby.

After giving birth, the hospital staff refused to let Mom hold her newborn girl. “It’s for the best, dear,” a nurse said, and whisked the infant away.

Mom struggled to her feet and crept down the cheerless hospital corridor. She found a secondary nursery tucked off a back hallway. Babies filled the unmarked cribs. Heartsick, she left the hospital never knowing which child belonged to her.

Along with the baby girl, Mom left a piece of her heart behind.

Soon after, Mom moved out of state for a fresh start. Years passed, and Mom met the hard-working, loyal man who would become my new father.

They went on to have three sons. And with each birth, Mom thought about the precious little girl she’d given up, praying the child remained loved and safe with her adoptive family.

My brothers and I grew up and had children of our own. None of us knew the private grief Mom still carried in her heart.

Meanwhile, Mom’s old doctor had proven true to his word. His ecstatic friends had adopted the baby and named her Annie. They showered her with love.

Annie grew up in a large, exuberant family, filled with aunts, uncles, and cousins. Laughter marked every celebration.

Many years passed, and two of Annie’s friends, also adopted, began searching for their birth mothers. Sadly, both mothers had passed away.

“What am I waiting for?” Annie wondered. Her friends’ lost opportunities motivated Annie to seek out her own birth mother. Two years of searching ensued.

On July 20, 2016, my parents’ phone rang. Dad answered with his trademark good-natured, “Hel-lo?”

“Hi, is Nancy there?”

My father, used to screening numerous sales calls, asked, “Why do you want to talk with her?”

Annie hesitated, unwilling to open old wounds or reveal secrets if her existence remained unknown. She said, “I’m doing genealogical research, and I believe Nancy and I may be related.”

Dad heard “research,” mistook Annie for a telemarketer, and hung up.

Annie spent an uneasy night, apprehensive but determined to make contact. The next morning, she prayed and called again.

My mother answered, and Annie blurted out, “Does the date October 1, 1962, mean anything to you?”

Mom clutched the phone with a shaking hand. “Yes. Yes, it does.”

“I’m the person associated with that date.”

Mom slumped against her living-room wall. Tears of joy streamed down her face. “Oh, honey, you finally found me!”

A two-hour conversation ensued. Annie talked about her loving parents and happy upbringing. Mom shared family history and the reasons she’d given Annie up for adoption.

After they hung up, Mom blasted off an e-mail to our family. The subject line read: Joyous and for most of you shocking news.

Mom wrote: In 1962 before I moved here, I gave my little baby girl up for adoption. Birth records are now unsealed and she was able to locate me. Annie called today and we had a wonderful visit.

I read the e-mail and called Mom immediately. “Are you okay? How are you feeling?”

Mom’s joy bubbled through the phone line. “I’ve prayed for her all these years, hoping I’d done the right thing, but never truly knowing. Annie told me she has a terrific life. Now I finally have peace.”

For Mom, learning that her sacrifice hadn’t been in vain healed the hidden ache she’d dealt with for so long. The missing piece was again in place.

After fifty-three years, our mother’s heart was finally whole.

~Jean Jones

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