There is a woman around the world, an ocean away that carried my daughter. She nourished her and kept her warm. She fed and clothed her for six months of her life. Their bond, no matter how deep, finds its way back to one single thing. Her belly button. The tell tale sign that there was another woman, another mother before me. I sometimes have to remind myself that I did not give birth to my daughter. I did not carry her nor did I endure pain and was not covered in sweat when she made her grand entrance into this big world.
As Norah's birthday approaches I find myself thinking of this mysterious woman. And the man that helped bring her into this world. To say that I am not curious would be a lie. But the unspoken contract remains. We will never know. We will never know of their existence, their circumstances around our daughters birth. The few things I do know I hold onto with clenched fists. She kept her for six months. How heart breaking that must have been for her. Were they married, were they young, educated, tall, short... the list could certainly go on and on. Norah has the longest fingers I have ever seen. And she is tiny. Very petite and very girly. I wonder who she looks like...
On her birthday, I will think of this woman. Her birth mother. As I know she will probably be thinking of Norah. The daughter she holds in her heart and will never again see.
If I could tell her, I would tell her this:
Norah is so gentle. She has a smile that would light up a room and sparkling eyes. She is funny and incredibly smart. She is beautiful and is so nurturing. She is the first to say Bless You after a sneeze. She is a Daddy's girl in the best way possible and I have never seen something so small bring a grown man to his knees.
She is the daughter that I always prayed for and how she made her way to our family is a miracle to me. I am so blessed just to know her and to be a part of her life.
I would tell her thank you. Thank you for making that sacrifice, no matter the circumstances. For loving her enough to do what was best for her.
She is the apple of our eye and the song in our heart.
So on her birthday we will sing and blow out candles. We will all clap and open presents and eat tons and tons of cake and ice cream. We will hold our special gift close as we welcome her third birthday. She will have been home almost as long as she was in China. I wonder how much of that she really remembers. I hope and pray she keeps it in her heart forever. That is the only link that she has to her "China Mommy". And I know that someday she will have questions. I know that one day I will have to explain everything as best as I can. And for that day I pray for strength.
And on her birthday I will remember that special woman. I pray that she has peace in her heart and if there was someway I could let her know that her daughter is loved more than anything, I would. I hope that she is thinking of us on this special day, as I am sure I will be thinking of her. And for a brief moment as my daughter blows out her candles, I will close my eyes. I will take a deep breath and I will whisper, "thank you." And maybe, just maybe, it will make its way to China and into that mother's heart.
"Heaven is the face of a little girl
With dark brown eyes
That disappear when she smiles"
~Steven Curtis Chapman~
"Heaven Is the Face"