Buried breaths and baby steps…

i want you
She’s been on my mind for thirty three years
but I’ve never seen her face
in full bloom.
I remember only the weight of her
presence on my tummy and soul.Her head was bruised
from the forceps that pulled her
from me.

My heart was bruised
as I signed papers with grown-up words like “unfit” and “relinquish.”

I was sixteen; her eyes never met mine.
She was quickly shuffled away into deserving arms.
I remember how tightly her slender fingers clutched mine before they took her.

Today I sit down to write another of many letters
I’ve been allowed to send her these past three and a half years
(words, until recently, confined to my heart and journals).
It’s a dream-come-true that they reach her at last.
A miracle, really. And I’m grateful.

I’ve written her earliest stories…all of my whys and ways taken,
shared everything I imagine she may want to know about her birth mother
…carefully ladling generous portions of my heart into her bowl.
It’s like choosing Christmas cookies to place in a too-small mailing box,
each one stuffed full of love and hope that she smiles and feels it.
I wrestle over which ones to include and which to leave out.

The package I gently wrap in respect for the person she is and the life that is hers,
for the woman who is her mother and the legacy that is hers,
and for the choice that is my birth daughter’s: to respond…..or wait…..or do nothing at all.
I’ve released her; my love will not wobble with her choosing.

And I ride the brakes of my own heart until it’s burning and smoking and reeking
with the smell of ancient ache and the muzzled voice of my younger self
as all of the loss and longing and love come screaming from shut down places.

As I pick up my pen and begin to push it,
slicing off another serving of the tender portions of me,
I bleed out words to Dear Amanda,
and arrange them with hands that shake from holding back the surge
of my long ago voice,
silenced and buried alive,
that erupts with such fury
my heart rips a bit with each pulse.

And as my swallowed words tumble onto paper,
un-forbidden and staring back with fiery rebellion,
I let them be
…..let them say themselves.

And I feel them…..feel them all the way down to my broken places
until I’m spent with their leaving.

Then I wad up that paper and start with a clean one
that will be filled with grown up words…….sturdy ones that lift and carry my voice
grown bold and strong.

I’m grateful for this grown up voice
and use it now to give wings to the words I couldn’t say before:
I wanted you.
I want you still.

On behalf of the child I used to be, I hurl those words into the universe
and with pain soaked in joy
I begin to write….


  1. PaperPumpkin on August 3, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. I wish I could absorb some of your pain. The raw beauty of your honest words are loving, and so bittersweet. You are brave. Hugs, Kathy

  2. rachel awes on August 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    oh tender friend,
    i'm sending you the biggest hug i can muster.
    i'm sending you love to your wide open heart.
    i'm sending you celebration for your honest feelings ~ your feeling & saying them.
    what else is left but to love still in big ways & find words to send out of our hearts.
    you are so very beautiful. xox

  3. S. Etole on August 3, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Your heart-words carry and leave an enormous impact on mine …

  4. Nancy on August 3, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    The pain you have experienced and continue to experience has birthed a woman full of compassion, mercy, geniune acceptance of others, and love filled to the brim…..I have experienced these from you and I am so thankful for you…..

    My heart hurts for you and tears sting my eyes as I read of your pain but the end of this story has not been written and I pray it will be that brings you enormous joy…..God's ways are higher than ours and as we cling to Him, He works situations out for our good and His glory……

    Big big hugs circle all around you.

  5. Mary on August 3, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    may she hear your beautiful heart in the echo of each word she reads.

    love and hugs!!

  6. maribeth on August 4, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Rendered speechless as I silently absorb what it has meant to you to have loved so fiercely from afar and live with such deep longing for so long. Powerful is this love that has and is being sent out. It will reach your daughter's heart.

  7. dulcy on August 4, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I'm crying for you Jennifer, but there is hope in what you wrote, and I'm excited that there are connections being made. If you write her from your heart, as you do here, what a gift of love to receive!


  8. Bren on August 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I don't know that anyone could have expressed their heart and heart break more powerfully than you. You've found your voice and with it you can and will touch the lives of those who walk your pain and know what you speak of. Such courage, such love laid down with fresh tracks of ink and tears…nothing more powerful.

  9. Sharron Leaf on August 6, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Your heart is with her wherever she is.
    She feels your heartbeat, full and free,
    as you do hers.
    It warms my heart to know
    you'll be with her in eternity.

  10. Relyn on August 7, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Dear Jennifer,

    … I have no words. How do I… What do I say… How do I tell you what this honesty, this compassion, this deep, deep love does to my heart? I can't. I know I can't.

    And so I sit.

    And I cry.

    And I wish I could tell you…

    And I pray that she knows. And that you can tell her some day yourself. And hold her in your arms. And love her in a new way. And feel her love in return. Oh, my friend, I pray all this for you. And more…

  11. LeeAnn on August 7, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Oh Jennifer! My heart with eyes full of tears read every painful and beautiful word that your beautiful spirit poured out here. You are such a deep and lovely soul and I pray that the words you so sincerely have penned for your daughter bring healing to you both.

    Thank you God for my beautiful friend Jennifer that you have created so very special and for her very loved Amanda. Work your miracles on their behalf.

    A Heart Filled Hug,
    Lee Ann

  12. Liv on August 8, 2010 at 5:54 am

    Oh Jennifer. My heart just aches for you. So brave and beautiful, so raw and real. I wish I could wrap up all that pain, tie it up with all of your question marks and hurl it into the big wide ocean…but instead I am simply sending oodles of love and light your way.

  13. LindyLouMac on August 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    What truly beautiful writing, why have I not been over here from Beautiful World before I wonder. I will be back.

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