I think most moms have a bit of a sense of nostalgia on their child's birthday. Remembering exactly when the labor started, how the birth progressed, that first cry, first cuddles, the smell of a newborn's skin. We remember, too, the sleepless nights, the innate fears, waking every half hour just to make sure he's still breathing. There is nothing like the newborn days, full of trials and treasures.
I have one son whose newborn days are not my treasure; they belong to his other mother, his "Birth Mom", his "China Mom", his "Tummy Mummy". (We're still not sure how we'll refer to Her, but I do know she'll forever have a place in our hearts and conversations.)
I know nothing of Titus' newborn days. I look at his baby pictures (the earliest I have is 6 months old) and mourn that I'll never hold that sweet, tiny infant, never smell that newborn's skin, or recall in striking detail just how he entered the world. Each one of my children entered the world in their own ways, giving surprising foreshadows to their personalities and preferences. My oldest was precise, a textbook delivery (as far as the Doc is concerned), entered the world with a strong voice, determination, and a 9/10 APGAR. She's always known just what she wants and exactly how to communicate it. She feels a burden to do things "just right", and likes rules (especially the ones she makes!) My second was born posterior, facing the opposite direction than "usual". If you know her, you understand that completely! She hummed with every breath for her first 24 hours and my midwife kept checking her lungs to make sure everything was OK. "All is well, she is just singing". She sings still. My third came out so chill and relaxed I thought he wasn't alive. Honestly. He gave his obligatory cry after plenty of pokes and prods just to get us to stop. He's hardly cried since. He exudes contentment and peace in a way I never knew a toddler could. All throughout my pregnancy with him I felt there was something different about him, both physically and spiritually, and I felt peace. Something in his spirit still leaves me expectant. And his extremely mild "special needs" led us to Titus.
But only She remembers clearly how Titus entered the world and any hints that may have for his personality. Only She could answer my questions about his first days. When Titus was found, he was estimated to be about three days old. I imagine that was accurate. That means he may have had about three days, three sacred days, with his birth mother. I can only imagine what those days must have been like, but She must remember in detail. First, there's the story of his labor and birth, his first cry, the feeling of relief... then discovering his differences. Her joy so immediately turned to sorrow. Then came the discussions, the decisions. Were there moments of peace and normalcy? Moments she almost forgot his differences and frail health? Did she sing him songs and whisper to him the story of how she met his father? There are many social, cultural, and practical pressures in his birth country that may have played a role in his abandonment. I will probably never know what led them to their decision, but after a lot of reading books and biographies surrounding the subject, one of my guesses is that his birth parents recognized medical needs that they were unable to handle. Perhaps their decision was rooted in a love so big that they would give him up for the hope that he might live.
How does she handle these days? His birthday and the days following to his abandonment? Does she clear her schedule and find a quiet place to mourn? Does she fill her calendar so she can't stop to reflect? Does she ever speak about him? Does she imagine him growing up? Does she believe he is alive?
I feel strangely connected to her today, as if I could look in the mirror and see her in my reflection. She mourns his future she'll never know; I mourn his past that Jesus can redeem, but I can never reclaim. My joy is born of her tragedy; my future of her past. I wish I could know that which she may wish to forget. We are both separated from our son today, wondering what he is doing, how he feels, if anyone is holding him and making him smile.
I do not know how she copes, but I do know that I will focus these three days, for the rest of my life, on praying for her, because Jesus' redemption is the only way I can cope with the brokenness of this life. I pray that she will find peace in Christ's forgiveness and hope in his promises. I pray that some day in Eternity I'll see her. I'll know her immediately from her brave dark chocolate eyes, dimpled round cheeks and perfectly arched eyebrows that she passed on to our son. And we'll celebrate together all our lives ransomed in Christ.