From Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

A Treasure Without Price

I had waited nearly five years for this moment. Five years enduring the empty arms of childlessness, the baby showers for someone else, and the well-meaning question from friends, “Are you pregnant yet?”

I longed for a baby of my own, and at last it was happening. Our baby was due to arrive anytime. My husband and I waited with bated breath, our hearts pounding with anticipation. Soon, he would be here—soon! We had been told it was a boy. A son of our very own. What joy!

Years ago, before we knew of the long, painful journey ahead in our quest for a child, I had chosen a boy’s name. For some reason, we had never been able to settle on a girl’s name, but the boy’s name had come quickly, with no hesitation and no second thoughts. Our son would be Nathan Andrew, meaning “Gift from God” in the Hebrew language. I was unaware of the name’s meaning when I first began sounding it out on my tongue. I just liked the way it flowed—the fine, masculine ring it produced in my ear. I chose my son’s name long before he was ever conceived, when he was still a desire deep in my heart. Once I discovered the significance of the name, I was doubly pleased. How fitting a name for such a precious gift from God.

Now we waited for Nathan Andrew to arrive. The painful months and years we had endured would soon become a dim memory.

A car drove up and parked in front of the house. We pressed close to the window, eagerly watching as a woman stepped out of the car with a blanket-wrapped baby carrier. As she walked up the sidewalk, I held my breath, my eyes never leaving the shrouded bundle she carried. I would soon hold my baby in my arms. Yes, God had chosen to answer our prayer through adoption.

The scene was suddenly thrown into slow motion, and questions flashed through my mind with the speed of light. What of the girl who had borne him? What of the young man who had fathered him? What were they doing on this day?

A single act of passion had touched off a chain of events that culminated in the life of this innocent child. What wrenching discussions must have filled the homes of these teenagers a few months after that act.

She could have had an abortion. No doubt it would have been easier than bearing the shame of being an unwed 16-year-old mother. It would have been easier than watching the fresh, young skin across her belly stretch into an enormous mound, the tissue underneath breaking, leaving permanent scars. It would have been easier than experiencing the pain of childbirth when she was hardly more than a child herself. It would have been easier than carrying a baby in her body for nine months, feeling the kicks, the hiccups, the heartbeat, and then kissing it good-bye as soon as it was born.

I thought of this young girl, 10 years younger than I. She was somewhere in this city, recuperating from the birth of her baby that was no longer her baby. Hormones must be raging in her body, making tears a frequent companion—and her arms were empty.

After nine months of waiting, she had given life to a little boy. After five years of waiting, we were taking that little boy and giving him the life he deserved. We would be the mother and father who would love him, providing for his physical, emotional and spiritual needs in ways that a young girl was not yet capable of.

With tears in my eyes, I silently thanked a stranger whose baby would become my own. At peril to herself, she had carried and nourished him in her body, she had endured the pain of delivery, and would carry the scars of childbirth until her dying day. And then, she had given him to me.

I was his mother now, and for the rest of his life. I slipped the blanket from its tent-like perch on the handle of the baby carrier and stared into the face of my son. Big, gray eyes fringed with thick, black lashes solemnly stared back at me. I touched the tiny, perfectly formed fingers and toes. He was beautiful!

With heartfelt words of gratitude, I whispered, “Thank you!” not only to God for answering our prayers and sending us a son, but to a girl I would never meet. A girl whose gift was a treasure without price. Thank you.

Sandra Julian

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