With Christmas just around the corner, I’m sharing an excerpt from Christmas 1998 a few months before my birth-daughter Sarah and I were reunited in our Adoption Reunion. This excerpt is from my memoirs just released this 2016, Finding Sarah Finding Me,
Because Christmas isn’t easy for everyone, at least not every year.
Excerpt from Finding Sarah Finding Me:
A few days later, with the adoption file containing Sarah’s and her parents’ legal names in my hand, I phone the reunion support group. I don’t really know what to expect, but I’d like some advice on the next step toward reunion. The resulting rollercoaster of phone calls in one afternoon comes as a shock. As soon as I tell the other member of the support group, she starts a computer search on the voting registry for Anne and Hans VandenBos. Moments later, feeling again like the Cold War spy, I write Sarah’s home address down on a pad of paper. What do I do with this? Walk up to their door and ring the bell, and say, “Hi, I’m Sarah’s birth mom. Have you been waiting for me as long as I’ve been waiting for you?”
For half a minute I want to giggle. In reality, I need my adoption counselor to smooth the way, and I write Bob a long letter bringing him up to date. A week later he calls.
When I sit in his office again, Bob’s brow puzzles over what could have happened to the first letter I wrote for Sarah. He can’t remember receiving it, but my friend assured me she had delivered it. Bob thinks perhaps he stuck it at the back of an old cabinet when he moved some files.
But nothing ever fazes Bob. With a grin, he asks me to write another letter to Sarah. He’s also been wondering why he hadn’t heard from me since our first talk, and I wonder what happened to the numerous voicemail messages I left him. Is Bob juggling too many counseling cases and put me on the back burner? Had he simply forgotten me? Or maybe Bob has become a bit cavalier doing monumental work, such as taking a baby from one woman to give that baby to another woman. As cavalier as God?
It doesn’t matter though. On this section of the emotional rollercoaster God must have slowed the process in answer to my prayers, to prepare Sarah and her parents for the reunion. And now God is speeding up the process. I can accept this. After all, God is God. I stuff my previous disappointment down deep. The heavenly Father isn’t going to let me down like my earthly dad did.
Meanwhile, Bob leans back in his chair with a chuckle and fills me in on memories he’d been unable to share with me at the time I relinquished Sarah. Nineteen years earlier, Bob and his wife had taken care of Sarah in their apartment at Trinity Western University. It comes as a surprise to me that Bob and Beverly cared for my child the first night she’d been apart from me. I’d always assumed they’d taken her directly from me to her adoptive parents. A slim shaft of hurt arrows through my ribcage, cutting off my breath. As if I’d been kept in the dark all those years ago. When Bob had phoned me that night after I’d come home from hospital I’ had no idea my baby slept in his arms.
If I’d known then, would I have asked for her back?
But I shake off this tiny sense of betrayal. It no longer matters. Now the search is back on track, and I can afford to laugh….
….That sweet little memory of Bob’s erases a tiny bit of that new shadow in me, that sense of loss, knowing now where she’d actually been after I’d said goodbye. I stuff my jealousy deep into a crevice of my heart.
Before I leave Bob’s office, he says, “It’s only a few weeks until Christmas. Better wait until after New Year to deliver your letter to Sarah and her parents, so we don’t intrude upon their family time.” Family time. I nod and smile, but inside I shrivel. I understand. Still, hurt stabs once more that I’m not considered family. And David and our kids aren’t family to Sarah either. The desire to run and hide shrouds me again. So much for my confidence of only moments ago. Oh, who am I kidding?
The fear of rejection continues to hammer me on the drive home. During the Christmas holidays I leave a voicemail for Bob that it would be best to call the whole thing off. Better to stay in the shadows, let Sarah live her life without the awkward addition of a birth mother who doesn’t really fit into any family dynamic.
Bob calls back that night. “You’ve trusted God all these years, Christine. Don’t stop trusting now.”
Read Forward and Chapter 1 of Finding Sarah Finding Me by clicking HERE
To read more about Christine Lindsay and her fictional novels as well as her memoir, go to her website www.christinelindsay.org