Ten and a half years ago, on a December afternoon, I got in my car and programmed my GPS unit with the address I’d scribbled onto a scrap of paper the night before.
Forty-five minutes later my heart was beating rapidly as I searched for a parking spot at an OB-GYN clinic. As I entered the waiting room, I scanned the room to see if Kiera had already arrived. I hoped I could remember what she looked like enough to spot her among all the other expectant mothers in the room. I met her for the first time a month earlier.
Realizing she was not there yet, I picked up a parenting magazine and faked interest in it while I waited. Eventually, Kiera walked through the sliding glass doors, wearing distressed jeans and a simple white long-sleeved tee. She was easily recognizable by her shiny blonde hair, chocolate brown eyes, and genuine smile. Her baby bump had grown bigger and cuter since my husband and I met her.
Soon after she checked herself in and sat next to me she was called back by her nurse. I followed her, feeling uncertain. “Did I really belong here? Should I be here?” I questioned myself.
Kiera smiled and greeted her nurse. Before she stepped onto the scale, she introduced me to her nurse by saying, “This is Erika. She is the baby’s mom.”
The baby’s mom.
The words took me back in the warmest of ways. I extended my arm to shake the nurse’s hand but she enveloped me in a hug instead. “That’s wonderful! I’m so glad to meet you,” she told me with a smile. “I adopted my son twenty years ago.”
“Wow,” I said, “Thank you, it’s nice to meet you too.”
Kiera was smiling. I surely looked like a dope with my mouth gaping.
I had dreamed of adopting a baby, but I’d never dreamed of being invited into moments like these!
The appointment got underway. I heard the baby’s heartbeat and listened as Kiera visited with her doctor.
My mind drifted and I remembered some well-meaning words from a friend when I told her Darin and I were going to adopt a baby. She said, “Oh I am so happy for you Erika! You will be a great mom. You deserve this!”
I imagined what my friend would say if she had been sitting in that doctor’s appointment with us right then. Would she still think this was something I deserved? Or would she, like me, be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the gift I was receiving? Would she too be speechless in the presence of Kiera’s humility and generosity?
Mother’s Day is approaching again, and my heart is reflecting.
I’m thinking about the baby girl who made me a mother… and the mother who brought her into this world and placed her into my arms. Throughout the adoption process, and in our relationship since Kiera has chosen humility and generosity over and over and over. She not only gave me the gift of motherhood, but she also taught me by example how to love her baby well.
Like every mother, I make mistakes. I have discovered my darkest flaws since I became a mother and I have regret. But when I have been able to take a difficult moment with my children and ask myself, “How can I humble myself in this moment? In what way can I be generous?” I have been able to love well.
For this reason, on this Mother’s Day, I want to say thank you to Kiera. She has taught me the beauty of pursuing humility and generosity as a mother. I will never arrive, but by God’s grace, will continue the pursuit.