Living with fear can be crippling, but for the most part, I really didn't think about it constantly. There was a time in my life when I believed that I would never be able to go a full day and not think of that little baby that I walked away from in the Williams Lake hospital...not wonder who she was, where she was, who she was with.
But that day did come - gradually.
I believe that God transplants newness into our lives to lessen the impact of the old. That is what He did for me. He gave me a full and busy life with kids, a husband, a job, and good friends. I remember once feeling guilty for almost forgetting Amanda. But Dan one day gently told me that it was a gift from God. It was He that was helping me to release Amanda - not just physically, but emotionally as well. If you can't do that, then she really wouldn't be completely surrendered.
As Alyssa and Riley grew up, I knew that there would come a day they would have to be told about their "sister". I wasn't looking forward to it, but still, being the planner that I am, I tried to rehearse scenarios in my head what that reveal would look like. I think I had figured out what to say - it was the 'when to say it' that had me baffled.
But God had other ideas for my plans
News of my niece's unplanned pregnancy caused some serious conversations in and around our home. Lys was in Junior High, so she was starting to figure out some of these things. As the topic of what was going to be done about this new baby came up, so did the talk of adoption.
One night, during a horrific electrical storm, our power was knocked out and Lys and I found ourselves home alone, in the dark. We sat in the living room together watching the bolts of lightning and started to talk. The topic of her dear cousin came up and she said, "I don't think she should give the baby up for adoption. I don't know how anyone with a heart could ever do that."
"Well, Lys...let me tell you a story"
My rehearsed plan of what to say was shattered, and instead I poured out a tale of brokenness, grace, forgiveness and redemption. She was completely silent for the entire time. In the darkness I wasn't able to read her expression, but at the end and after what seemed to be a LONG silence, I asked, "Lys, are you okay?"
Her teary cheek pressed against mine as she wrapped her arms around my neck and said, "Mom, I've never been so proud of you in all my life"
so much better than my scenario
What an amazing answer to my prayers. I could have never imagined that it would have worked out that way. Not only did she 'get it', but she was proud of me?
Alyssa is like her Dad in her ability to keep a confidence. I knew that she would never tell anyone, and being that Riley was still pretty young, I didn't want him to know quite yet. She promised her silence, and we didn't speak of it again...
until THAT day.
A frantic call. "Mom, come get me right now. I'm at the gym." I had no idea what had happened, but hurried down to pick her up. She jumped into the car and burst into tears.
"They know, Mom, they know!"
Who knows and what do they know?
"My friends, they know about Amanda!"
What? How did junior high girls know about my secret? This is impossible. As the story came out I learned that during basketball practice, one of Lys' friends was talking about adoption, since she was adopted, she casually mentioned that Alyssa's mom gave up a baby for adoption too. Alyssa was horrified. I was horrified.
As I tried to calm her down, I needed calming as well. Who all knows about this, and now that it was exposed to a group of junior high girls, EVERYONE would soon know that didn't already.
I quickly went into recon mode. I decided that if this was going to get out, then I wanted to be in control of how it happened. I started contacting some of my close friends and poured out the story to them. The responses were that of surprise but also of support. I felt that I was gathering up a team that would be able to stand around me when the gossip started to spread.
My plans were working.
Then my dear friend took me aside and said...slow down....do you really think that God lead you all this way just to drop you on your head now? How about we let Him take this the rest of the way.
That was a difficult thing to do...but the right thing.
I reluctantly stopped the frantic damage control and watched the chips fall. My world didn't come crashing down. Everything stayed quite normal infact. I had gone a whole 2 weeks after the junior high gossip incident and all seemed to be well.
My dear friend was visiting in my house and we were in the kitchen, talking about the recent events - actually whispering, because I still hadn't told Riley yet.
The phone rang.
"Hi this is_______ from Lost Angels Registry"
My thoughts raced through my brain trying to figure out what exactly that was when I remembered that I had registered my contact information on an adoption website dedicated to helping find birth parents/children given in adoption.
"We have had a hard time reaching you. It looks like you didn't update your information for a while"
Yes, it had been a number of years, but this is weird to be getting a call in the evening to update my file.
"We think we have a match"
A match...what is a match? I'm confused... "Excuse me?"
"A match - you gave a baby up for adoption on April 4th, 1982, correct?"
Why can't I breathe? What is that sound of ringing in my ears? Am I sleeping? Is this a dream? "I'm sorry, I don't understand." I grab my friend and run with her into my bedroom and close the door behind us. She is wondering what in the world is happening as my face tells a story that she isn't able to read.
"If you are in agreement, I have someone that would like to make contact with you. She is really excited and is waiting for your call. However, this is up to you. If you don't want to make contact, we will respect that"
Still no air. Breathing is supposed to be a reflex but one that I'm not able to do right now. "No, I mean, yes, it's fine - I can do that" I can? No I can't!
"Alright, her name is Amy. This is her number...."
I'm not sure how I was able to write down the number much less even hold a pen in my shaking hands. As I hung up the phone, I just said to my friend, "It's her - she found me". We both were in shock and sat for a few minutes taking in all that had just happened. Then I dialed.
"Hello, is this Amy?" But your name is Amanda...who is Amy?
Then what are you supposed to say? I can't even remember that conversation from that point on. It was the moment that I always looked forward to/dreaded happening, but for the life of me I can't recall - other than the emotions...joy, fear, regret, peace, thankfulness, wonder, more fear...every emotion that one can experience went into those few moments on the telephone.
I told her that I wanted to meet her and that we would make that happen soon, and that was the end of the conversation...
The next few days were a blur of calling my family and telling them the story, making plans for a reunion, and telling Riley...
Riley, my dear boy...never saw the negative side of it - ever. He had another sister. It was just cool. Never judged - only loved.
We made arrangements for Amy to make a visit to Three Hills. She was going to fly in and meet my family. In my head I had always pictured what that would look like. I watched so many episodes of Oprah's adoption reunion shows, that I had convinced myself that this is exactly what it would be like.
Of course, again, I was wrong.