Every day I wake up and make a promise to a woman who I have never met who lives on the other side of the world. She is my daughter’s birth mother. When my daughter was six weeks old she wrapped her up carefully, put her in a basket with a note and a pendant and brought her to the pediatric ward of a hospital outside Beijing. I think about how she must have felt that day as she rode up to the 6th floor of the hospital, knowing that on the way down she would be alone. I wonder if when she found a safe spot and put the basket down if Mae was asleep or awake. I wonder if as she rode down in the elevator if she ever thought about changing her mind and taking her baby/my baby back home with her.
The only thing I do know is that she wanted a better life for her daughter than she could provide. So, every day I wake up and promise to do my best. I promise her that I will never take her decision for granted. I promise her that because she did her part, I will do mine. I promise her to love my daughter for both of us. When I kiss Mae goodnight, I kiss her twice, once from me and once from the woman on the other side of the world. When she belly laughs as she jumps on the trampoline with her brothers I hope that her other mother hears it in her dreams. When she cries, I comfort her knowing that there is a woman on the other side of the world who is depending on me.
Mae is Apraxic, a disorder that puts her on the Autism spectrum and greatly limits her speech, for now. She has been my child for almost 5 years and we have not yet had a conversation, let alone touched on the issues of her adoption. This makes it even more important for me to hold her other mother in my heart. There are days when having a special needs child is unbelievably hard, there are days when I want to lie in bed and pull the covers over my head. But I can’t because I think about that elevator trip, and what that other mother gave up.
My dreams of my daughter started long before I met her. Just like with my other children as she grows they have changed. I once dreamt that I would drive her to dance lessons, and host giggly sleepovers. Now, I dream of hearing her say Mom. It makes me happy to know that somewhere on the other side of the world is a woman whose dreams for her haven’t changed. In her mind, Mae’s life knows no limits. Every day, I promise her to do my part, every day I promise her that I will love that little girl for both of us, that I will never forget that she went down in that elevator alone.