My husband and I adopted a
beautiful baby girl a few years ago. Her
birthmother, Anne, had picked us. After
looking at numerous profiles of waiting
couples, she saw our picture and she knew
we were the ones: the ones who would
parent her child and love her with a love
which, I am learning, doesnt have
any room for fear.
We met Anne shortly
after our daughter, Bella, had been
placed with us. We wanted to meet Anne,
to see where this angel of ours had come
from, to thank this woman who had given
us life (an impossible thing, I
Now that it was going
to happen, a million thoughts raced
through my mind, the most nagging one
being, What if she wants her back?
But in a moment, I had
the answer to that: Of course she does!
What mother does not want to be with her
Then in the next
moment, I knew that my fear didnt
matter. I knew that my love for Bella,
and even for Anne, was greater. And I was
amazed. For once in my life my love had
silenced my fears.
In those four hours we
spent with Anne, watching her hold our
sleeping beloved one, a lifetime passed.
We fell in love with Anne as we heard her
story, her reasons for choosing us, her
hopes for Bella. We fell apart as we
tried to tell her that Bella was the best
person who had ever happened to us.
Toward the end, words failed us.
As Anne put Bella in my
arms, she said, "I am just the mom.
You are the mommy now." She turned
to go and began to sob.
I felt my heart cry
out, Love Anne, too. Love her well.
So I stepped toward the door, held out
Bella to her, and said, "I think she
needs another kiss."
Anne turned and smiled;
she kissed Bella on the forehead, then
rushed out the door. What that last kiss
cost her perhaps Ill never know.
That she was choosing love over fear I do
The day passed. The months
passed. Pictures and letters were sent to
Anne. No answers ever came, though I
invited her to write. The date for her
annual visit came and went; still no
word. She was beginning to fade from my
mind, though she was always in my heart.
Then came the day not
so long ago when love and fear had to
contend, again. Out of nowhere we
received a call from our social worker at
the agency: Bellas birthfather,
John, and Anne were a couple again. He
wanted to meet Bella (he had never seen
her, though he had known she was his
My world was rocked. A
peaceful, sunny afternoon was suddenly
dark. Fear was back. For a few days it
was all that I tasted and breathed.
Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I
heard, But what of love? And only
my fear answered, But what of loss and
pain and ache that has no end?
In those days of
waiting to hear of a meeting, I was a
distant mother, I think. I held Bella and
cared for her; I played with her and took
her for walks. But I could feel myself
trying to put distance between us.
Ridiculous. As if anything I did or
didnt do could lessen the love I
have for her.
It was my husband who
broke through the fear to find me. He
spoke about how meeting with Bellas
birthfather would probably be a good
thing for all of us.
"But what if .
. . ," I asked, not willing to
put the unthinkable into words.
"Then we deal with
that," he said. "But think
about what this will mean to Bella, to
know that her birthfather wanted to meet
her, to see her, to hold her, to let her
know she was loved."
So it was that I came
back to love again, that I looked at my
daughter and imagined her 15 years old,
asking questions, needing answers.
"So my birthfather wanted to meet me
but you didnt. . . . " Love. I
couldnt escape it. I peeled away
the fear; I felt raw. I agreed to move
forward to arrange a meeting with John.
As before, the days passed. Now
the months have begun to pass. Still no
word. No phone call returned to the
agency regarding a meeting with us. What
does this mean? Im not totally
certain, but I know that John must have
been . . . afraid.
What does this mean for
me? That I live every day to the fullest
and love Bella so much that sometimes my
heart feels as if it will burst. That I
will be open to whatever is waiting ahead
on the road. Will John contact us again
tomorrowor next monthor next
year? We cant know. I do know that
to meet Bella, to share a few hours of
her life, is the only way that her
birthfather can show his love for her
now. And I know that I cant deny my
daughter lovenot mine or anyone
Rose Decaen is
a free lance editor based in southern
California. Decaen, her husband Chris,
and Bella recently welcomed baby Isaac to