Sunday, November 30, 2008

When she walked in...

I was completely unprepared. I was thinking thoughts like, "Am I holding the bottle at the right angle?" and "He's so close to my body. I wonder if he notices my smell? Of course he notices my smell. Can I figure out a way to smell more familiar to him? Hmmph, I don't see anything nearby that could change my smell"...these were my thoughts. Yes, they were in regard to Jude, but totally and completely self-centered thoughts. The first hours I spent with him I was in a constant swirl of thought, unable to slow my brain to reason, yet at the same time, feeling such warmth and love, as the nurturing, nesting mama mode kicked in. I knew I felt pain for him. My greatest joy, becoming his mom, was the result of so much pain. So much loss on his part.
But, there was one moment, one moment when I understood a glimpse. I never wrote about this, because it was too much. Too powerful of an experience for words. Too raw. Now, almost a year later I feel like I can begin to touch it and hopefully, next summer, I can hope to try to make a small touch of it right. Although just a faint touch.
I'm glad I had witnesses. Without them, I fear I would have transformed it into a dream.
The upstairs of the Thomas Center, the care center where Jude lived for 5+ months, is where we spent a good part of our days. Learning how to take care of our precious little babes. Tommy had gone to the Embassy to turn in visa paperwork. Our travel companions were the types of people you instantly feel comfortable with. Our conversation was friendly, relaxed and real. In retrospect we were all probably doing the same dance of swirling and trying to nurture.
I was with Tesfahun when she walked in. I remember her face vividly. She was older. It's difficult for me to even guess her age. Her face was respectfully wrinkled. Especially around the eyes. Her eyes were very dark and made of water. She had one woman on each side of her. The three of them walked in purposely.
I didn't know to whom or where she was headed. I was a little taken aback when she approached me. As talkative as I am, I can initially be quite shy.
She spoke to me in English. I know that she had carefully chosen her words. She reached out to him and said, "Tesfesh"... He lit up when he saw her. His little body relaxed. Comfort. Peace. Most definitely love.
She looked at me, directly in the eyes. Holding my gaze with such intensity, I knew I couldn't glance away for a moment. It was a moment she had planned. It was her moment.
She stated calmly with much intent,
"I love him.
He is special.
He is a special baby.
He is happy."
Then the tears started as she repeated,
"I. Love. Him. I. Love. Him."
When she said his name, "Tesfesh" you could feel the love. You know when someone truly loves another, you can hear it in their voice. Especially when they say the person's name. Her "Tesfesh" was one of the most beautifully spoken words I had ever heard.
All I could whimper was "Thank you. Thank you for loving him."
She said each word earnestly. Each phrase was repeated for emphasis.
She handed me back our baby. She had brought support for this. Her support grabbed each of her arms as she broke and helped her to physically leave. The love she had for him is imprinted on his soul and will never leave. It will be passed down to his children. I heard her weeping. I felt her weeping. When I regained my ability to focus my eyes, I saw a roomful of tears. It was too much. It's still too much. I wish I could share with words her love. But, mothers know it.
She was not his by birth, but she is indisputably one of Tesfahun's mothers. He was her hope. As he is mine.

22 comments:

Lea said...

That is a beautiful story....thanks for sharing it with us.

KelleyO said...

beautiful and so very moving. Judah is so lucky to have been loved it makes such a difference.

Nicole said...

Oh Danni you express your emotion so beautifully! He is such a loved baby and deeply touches everyone in his life. Love you!

Mish said...

You've shared this with me before but it was tear jerking to see it in print. So sad, yet SO beautiful. I can't quite wrap my brain around it. What a special little guy you have. It's so wonderful to know how deeply he was loved. I hope next summer she will know how deeply he is loved by you and Tommy and your family and friends.

J'Laine said...

I remember it was the most bitter/sweet goodbye I had ever seen... She truly loved him; so much that she wanted you to know.

You describe it so eloquently.

Judah has touched so many in his short life. He has had many amazing women in his life.

Thank you for sharing and bringing me back to those days...oh, how I wish I could relive them again...I wouldn't change them...just would like to reexperience that week again?

jen said...

This is so touching.
Sam was also at the Thomas Center. From your description, I wonder if I have met this woman.

Before we were able to pick up Sam, I worried so much. I wanted him to be loved more than anything. I prayed and focused and sent all the love I could from my heart to his.
What a gift to know how much love your son was given before you could show and give him your own love.

Sarah said...

What a beautiful (and teary) post...thank you for sharing this emotional and touching experience. How comforting to know that Jude was loved, that is a very special gift.

Jocelyn said...

Beautiful post, your description made me feel like I was right next to you watching it unfold...Judah has touched so many lives, including mine. I know he is loved by many...but to know he was so loved by the ones who watched over him until his Mommy and Daddy could bring him home is so amazing.

Rebecca said...

This is one of the most amazing moments. The way you told your story. And Judah's story. And her story. It made me feel like I was there. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. What a brave, brave woman.

Ted and Lori said...

This is a treasure you have to give to Jude one day--it's so true that he has several mothers, and how generous of you to acknowledge that. I sometimes call myself Abe's "third and final" mother, as I can never disregard his mother by birth and the mother who loved him until I got there. Wonderful post, Dani.

coffeemom said...

Beautiful. So hard. Mothers... thank you for this post. I know it too, and it makes me cry. Again.

Meredith said...

Thank you

Janice said...

I have just come across your blog for the first time and was so moved by your retelling of events "when she walked in..." That is the type of moment that I am actually a bit scared of when I travel to E. to get my daughter. I hope I can handle a moment like that if I have one.
Thank you for sharing that. Your description was beautiful.
Love your blog.

Julie said...

So beautiful Dani. I'm sure that meeting you gave her comfort too. Judah is loved by so many!

Lori said...

Oh, I don't know how I didn't see this on my blogroll til today.

Dani - what a special, wonderful, and heartwrenching post. Your writing skills make me feel every bit like I was there while reading it. With all of the love that goes along with adoption, there is a ton of pain. I'm so touched - thank you for sharing this intimate experience.. xoxo

los cazadores said...

Oh my goodness, I'm sitting here at my desk crying. That was so powerful.

Cindy

Little Ethiopia(n) said...

thank you for reminding us that there are other people out there that deeply love our children... that is a good feeling to have. PS-we have your entry of Judah laughing bookmarked and play it often...he is amazing!

Stephanie said...

This post is absolutely beautiful. (And THANK YOU to Lori for posting the link.) Thank you for sharing this with us. It truly is touching. Bless you. And Bless the Mothers - in whatever ways they come!

courtney rose said...

Phew! What an amazing, incredible story. I am moved beyond words. Thank you for sharing this.

Now go give Judah a squeeze from me....

nana said...

to observe is one skill, to feel is another, to communicate both is a gift. You are an adept writer and were so chosen to have become Jude's Mom, just to share this with us. How lucky we are. Thank you. Tommy is the luckiest to have you both.

Anonymous said...

Oh Danielle, what a beautiful and touching story. It has brought and continues to bring tears to my eyes and those tears are rolling down my cheeks. Just beautiful. You expressed your emotions so eloquently. -Tanya

Heather said...

This is my millionth attempt to respond to this post, and in the shadow of your beautiful story, of this woman's love and pain, I still can't find words to express how full this makes my heart, and how it breaks it, too. I love Judah so much - I love you and Tommy so much - and I love this woman, and all the women and men that cared for and loved Judah before us.