One year ago this month we drove down to Beth's town to spend the day with her. Firefly was still a teeny semi-bald baby, not even six months old.
As evening drew on, we dropped Beth off at the site of her weekly volunteer gig serving the local homeless community. The program's volunteers are a tight group and many are close friends with Beth. She had asked if we would go in for a few minutes so she could introduce them to Firefly before we headed home.
We immediately agreed, of course. But--to be honest--it was hot, the long day had tapped out my introverted self, and we had a big drive with two tired kids ahead of us. Let's just say my inward enthusiasm was tepid.
To top things off, I went to change Firefly's diaper and stumbled into the weirdest conversation I've ever had in a bathroom. I was still a bit dumbfounded by that interaction when I came out of the restroom and handed Firefly off to Beth. I caught glimpses of her working the room with Firefly as I relayed the whole conversation to Todd.
Soon most of the group sat down, ready for their meeting. I stood tiredly with Puppy in the back and watched Beth stride confidently to the front of the room and turn to face them. I knew from the stories she had shared with me that these were much more than fellow volunteers or even friends. They were family. The ones who supported her practically and emotionally during her pregnancy when the people most obligated to stick by her turned their backs. The ones who brought her through the difficult weeks right after Firefly went home with us.
Beth stood smiling at the small group, more proud, more glowing than I had ever seen her. "I'm so excited to finally introduce you. This," she said, presenting the wide-eyed baby perched on her hip, "is my daughter, [Firefly]."
The room murmured and clapped in appreciation. My selfish frustration at not being on the road disappeared. It was such a treat to see Beth there in her element, embracing her place in Firefly's life. Her daughter. Her world. Her people. Beloved friends who loved and prayed for Firefly before we even knew she existed. Who continued to love her then, even in her absence.
Picture it: Firefly secure in her first mother's arms, surrounded by her loving community. It would have been impossible, I think, not to see in that moment a glimpse of what might have been. And yet, also a picture of what is.
Read about other moments made possible by open adoption at the Open Adoption Roundtable.