Sitting in the hospital bed, I held Sarah, my tears splashing onto her tiny face. My counselor softly said, “Christine, she’s your baby. You can keep her if you want to.”
But I wanted a daddy for my baby. And I felt this promise from God—if I stuck to the adoption plan, He would reunite Sarah and me one day, in a unique birth-mother and birth-daughter relationship.
I banked on that promise.
Three days later, the gray, steel, elevator doors on the hospital ward closed between Sarah and me.
The years passed, and I met my wonderful husband. Three times over my empty arms were filled with our children. I couldn’t have been happier. But I couldn’t forget Sarah. As time inched closer to Sarah’s 18th birthday I prayed harder for our reunion.
I could see it all—a big family dinner, Sarah’s family and ours, all sitting around the table, celebrating.
People ask me why I searched for Sarah instead of waiting for her to search for me. I felt at the time that God doesn’t wait for us to come to Him, but He goes looking for us.
Two years later, the day came that I’d been praying for 20 years. I was scared to death. So afraid Sarah wouldn’t be able to love me. So afraid of rejection.
My husband and I got to the counselor’s office before Sarah and her fiancé arrived, and we were given the bad news—Sarah’s mom and dad didn’t want to meet me. They were at home sobbing . . . broken-hearted.
I was stunned—they don’t want to meet me.
With these thoughts spiraling through my mind I opened the door to where Sarah waited. A beautiful, young blond woman stood up to meet me. For years I’d imagined us falling into each other’s arms and crying like people did on TV. But all I felt was intense sadness that this beautiful young daughter and I were complete strangers.
It was clear God had given Sarah exactly what I’d prayed for. She was confident, happy, studying to be a nurse, planning her wedding. Why was I not overflowing with joy?
Because I wanted to be a part of her life, and her in mine. But Sarah’s life was full, so busy, there wasn’t much time for us to get to know each other.
I had never felt so rejected. Though I hated my self-pity, I couldn’t stop thinking how God had disappointed me.
He’d had 20 years to put this reunion together, and this was the best He could do?
Months later my husband found me crying on couch, and he put a brand new journal and pen into my hands, and said, “Write it”.
So I started writing—the heartaches, the emptiness—and healing gradually came. As I studied the Bible, this verse became my life motto.
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…
My love for my kids, including Sarah, pales in comparison to God’s love for us. It wasn’t Sarah that I needed to make me whole on the inside, nor any of my children, or my husband.
I needed God to fill that gaping hole in my heart.
I began to realize I also had no right to feel rejected by Sarah’s parents, and I lightened up on them.
Twelve years have passed, and a relationship between Sarah and me began to flower. Today we’re more like a favorite aunt and favorite niece.
But God wasn’t finished yet.
In 2011, my debut novel was released. Shadowed in Silk has nothing to do with adoption. It’s set in India, has romance, deserts, Russian spies, guns… One day my publisher sent me photographs of models for the front cover. On a whim, I sent Sarah’s picture to my publisher. They thought she was perfect.
I can’t explain how wonderful it was to see birth daughter’s face on my novel when it was the pain of losing her that inspired me to write.
The book came out, and Sarah and her husband came to tell us they had decided to be missionaries, providing medical care to third-world women and orphans. One of the missions they would be working with most would be the Ramabai Mukti Mission in India.
I nearly fell off my chair.
I’d never told Sarah, but the true-life Ramabai was the Indian Christian woman who was the inspiration behind one of my main characters in Shadowed in Silk.
Only a tender-hearted Heavenly Father could do this. He had given me that unique relationship with my birthdaughter that I’d asked for all those years ago.
Sarah on the Mission Field