Buried breaths and baby steps….

hidden gifts
 She’s been on my mind for thirty four years
but I’ve never seen her face in full bloom.
I’ve known only the weight of her presence
on tummy and soul.
Her pretty head was bruised
by the forceps that pulled her from me.
My heart was bruised
as I signed papers
with grown-up words
like “relinquish”
and “unfit”.
 I was sixteen;  her eyes never met mine.
She was quickly shuffled away
into deserving arms.
I remember only how tightly
her slender fingers clutched mine
as they took her.
Today I sit down to write
of many letters
I’ve been allowed to send her
these past four and a half years,
(words that, until before then,
were confined to my heart and journals).
It’s a dream-come-true
that they reach her at last.
A beautiful 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 cup.
purple passion
The package I gently wrap in respect
for the person she is
and the journey that is hers,
and 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 of ancient ache
and the muzzled voice
of my younger self
as all of the loss
and longing
comes shrieking 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,
muzzled 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
and fill it with my own grown 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 say the words I couldn’t say before
I. wanted. you.
I want you still.
take these broken wings
On behalf of the child I used to be
I hurl those words into the universe
and with pain soaked in peace
I begin to write……
 (I’m submitting this today as a part of Liv Lane’s e-course challenge on authenticity
to write something that you’ve not dared to share before.
I shared it before…..last year,
this especially tender ache.
But time has made it all new again,
my limp more pronounced
…the feeling of rejection sharper,
the loss crisper,
the unanswered longing deeper
and so I offer it up to you today.
Please hold it gently.)


  1. PaperPumpkin says

    You are so brave and strong and honest even through the raw pain, Jennifer. If I could be with you now, I would hold you and cry with you. I admire you and I send any strength that I can, to you, even though you have so much. Freeing your 16-year-old self and being able to shout that you want her, wanted her, still want her, is such a healing road to be on. Love, kath

  2. Dear Jennifer,

    This brings tears to my eyes. You write beautifully and your feelings shine through your words. A very brave post! Thank you for sharing yourself so openly – you are an inspiration 🙂



  3. Oh, Jen. I wish I were there to wrap my arms around you, offer fresh Kleenex, and wade in the water with you. You were incredibly brave to let her go, to give her what you couldn't. And you're incredibly brave to keep on loving her so deeply and to let us in on that tug of war within your heart. I pray that, somehow, you'll be filled with deep peace about your past, your present and whatever the future may bring. BIG love to you.

  4. Oh, Jen. I wish I were there to wrap my arms around you, offer fresh Kleenex, and wade in the water with you. You were incredibly brave to let her go, to give her what you couldn't. And you're incredibly brave to keep on loving her so deeply and to let us in on that tug of war within your heart. I pray that, somehow, you'll be filled with deep peace about your past, your present and whatever the future may bring. BIG love to you.

  5. pickledmemories says

    Beautiful images Jennifer! Hugs to you ~debbra
    (BBTL classmate)

  6. wildruffle.com says

    Oh my goodness – thanks for being so brave and sharing these poignant words with all of us!

  7. Helen Lowery says

    Wow!It is an honor to just be in the same class as you with Liv. Your writing is gripping and real. I could smell your sweet baby as her hand slipped from your finger. You moved me on every one of my senses. Amazing writing, beautiful story telling, sensual, spiritual. The whole package. Thank you for honoring me with your story today. Helen Lowery

  8. my heart is touched as I read this again…love given even if it is not returned…still you continue to reach out and offer your heart…love pursuing…more concerned with the other…less of the pain that it may cause you.

    may God continue to bind up and heal wounds.

    love to you my friend!

  9. Shauntelle says

    Jennifer I can't tell you how much this touched me and how much I hope that one day you and your daughter will have a chance to reconnect so that she can know where she inherited her strong and vibrant spirit (because I'm sure she has it!). Bless you and thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Andrea (Sacred Suds) says

    omg, Jennifer, I'm bawling over here. This is heart breaking, and heart healing, and so full, FULL of love and beauty. I have not heard many birth mother stories, and I can see now how hard it would be to tell them. But you were so brave to do it, and I thank you so much for sharing. Without this I would not know. I have so much compassion for your strength and your love. You have a beautiful soul.

  11. tear drops fall upon the keys as i tap tap away here..although I have not felt your loss I know you to be a special person filled with a spirit of life and love and I hold these tender feelings you have shared very gently to my heart .. I pray that Amanda has just a bit of who you are!

  12. Jennifer, there is no earthly love like a mother's love for her child, so unconditional and full. I hope that some day you get to meet with your daughter. It is heart breaking to know how much you regret having let her slip from your arms at such a tender age.

    If you only could turn back time I know that you would hold on tight to her.
    Keep your dream alive and never give up. I'll keep you in my prayers. Although your words are so eloquently written they still sting deep in the heart. Hugs, Julia

  13. dandelionexpress says

    This was beautifully written Jennifer. You definitely met the brave and authentic challenge with this post! I am awed by your strength.

  14. Sandra Ludwig says

    Jennifer, my heart aches for you. Such a lovely post, yet so sad. I am not sure what to say, except thank you for opening your heart to us. I cannot imagine being faced with such a decision. My teens were very rough years for me, too.

    Your artwork is stunning–such deep and beautiful colors!

    Thank you, too, for visiting my blog and leaving such a wonderful comment. Please come by again, OK?

  15. rachel awes says

    i continue to hold
    this story
    in the most tender
    of places
    that only bunnies know of
    because it is so soft.
    (& i adore your
    hidden gifts art!!!)
    LOVE. xoxox

  16. missing moments says

    Brave and beautifully said.

  17. Bonita Rose says

    BIG BIG love to you.
    I hope with every day there is more peace in your heart, and that you continue to see the beautiful life around you. Sharing love that often, may never be given back, is so so hard.. this I know. This I know. I deeply feel your pain beyond your words. Know you are loved and prayed for. And I will be believing that one day soon..that love you so desperately want to hold and touch, will be given back to you.. xo big love to you this day. That grown up girl Amanda has her birth mother right here, that loves her , that truly LOVES her. XO HUGS

  18. Jennifer –

    Thank you so much for dropping by my blog and leaving such a kind, sweet and beautiful comment.

    As for your post – WOW. So beautiful, moving and full of love. It took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your authentic self with us – what an honour.

    Love and light to you.


  19. Amanda Fall - Persistent Green says

    Oh, Jennifer, I am sending you the biggest of hugs. How brave and tender and true of you to release this out into the world. I know you've touched many of us with your words–including me–and I hope that our loving you in return brings a balm to your spirit.

    As someone who has been on the other end of estrangement, I find your words full of hope and healing.

    Much love.

  20. I don't know that I've ever read such heartache more powerfully expressed. I hope someday she chooses to know you and the heart that has loved her through all the years.
    I'm also very glad that your words are moving out to a wider audience where they can impact more people.

  21. Barbara Shallue says

    I can feel your ache and pray that the words you send to her fill her cup until it overflows back onto you. Thank you for such a heartfelt post of beautiful writing.

  22. Jennifer,
    Except that you mentioned how many years ago this happened (I am older than your daughter), and that my name is not Amanda, you could have been writing this to me. I was delivered by forceps to a 16 year old girl and handed over to my adoptive parents by the nuns at Catholic Social Services. Mine was a closed adoption and no one involved has any information about my birth mother to give me. I have been told that it is probable that my birth date and place were changed, so my finding her or her finding me might not even be possible. But I hold out hope for a letter just like this one someday. And I promise to respond immediately so that she knows that, even though I have the best parents in the world, I wanted her, too.
    xoxo, Anita

  23. Beautiful, wonderfully moving post. You are and were BRAVE in so many ways.
    Many blessings to you,

  24. My heart is beating fast as I read your words and tears find their way down my face with the pain that you have carried all these years…….How brave you are to be so open and transparent with the grief of so long ago…I really believe the key to healing and freedom is to let God use the pain as He sees fit and obviously you have done that to touch many lives….

    I pray God will continue to heal your wounds; He has already made you into an incredible woman…..

  25. Jennifer,

    I don’t think I every read your words so slowly.

    This time, I wanted to take them all in … to hold them … gently.

    “seen her face in full bloom” Your words are always so elegantly vibrant with feeling and vision.

    Amanda is so fortunate to be touched by your beautiful words. I hope your words bring you the outcome you seek.

    Have you considered enclosing your blog address so that she can get to know you as you … authentically?

    You shine so beautifully from the words you paint.

    SO much LOVE and light to you,

  26. a gentle embrace as I hold these words in my heart ..

  27. Just Be Real says

    Jen dear one you are so very precious. Many hugs to you……

  28. LindyLouMac in Italy says

    What a brave and beautiful post Jennifer.

  29. Anonymous says

    I am someones whose been adopted and has recently come into contact with her birth mother. After reading your recent entry it has me thinking about what it could have been like to receive a letter in the mail from someone you haven't seen in 32 years. What that most have felt like to get a letter from the daughter you gave up for adoption, all the memories.
    Your honesty really struck me and I appreciate you sharing this most private topic.

  30. Christina says

    gentle, i will be gentle with your gift of words.

    so beautiful.

  31. ShaRon Leaf says

    I'm honored to have you in my life. I cannot express in words what I'm feeling after reading your heart on these pages. oceans of love to you, my friend.

  32. your strength is amazing…..and filled with the kind of love many never know, while being true and warm.

    here's a hug for you, for being brave enough to share this with all of us….

  33. Jennifer, I hope you and Anita some day hold your missing parts.

  34. Hindsfeet says

    my darling darling Friend……oh Jen…how my heart beats and bleeds and cries with yours as I read this beautifully crafted collage of your heart…….you are not alone in the ache, in the longing, in the brokenness….I know this place too and will sit hand in hand with you here in acceptance and the gentle understanding tacit quiet shared between two souls that Know.

    let there be healing…

  35. Cheri Wollenberg says

    I'm so slow to read,
    Quick to miss good portions,
    But my heart sings with you,
    Because our best labor is,
    Birthing submission to Someone Higher,
    Birthing dependence on Someone Greater,
    Someone Who works things for our good,
    Giving grace abundantly as we become,
    Gifters to others.
    Love, Cheri.

  36. Odd Chick says

    It is so good to see how many people are moved by your writings. They stir the soul up and leave it fluttering like a bird sitting in the snow on a winter fence. with just words, you make me feel the longing of the child and you break our hearts wide open.

  37. Oh, Jennifer — I seldom get tears in my eyes when I read a blog post, but this moves me to my very core. My heart aches for you, for a loss of such magnitude when you were so young — not only of your daughter but of innocence itself. And oh, if I could give you a huge hug, you know I would.

    It's my hope that she has found your blog, either through your sharing the address or some other way. And that she gets to know you as you are now — beautiful, talented, so very kind and yes, so courageous. Perhaps she is one who comments or follows you — you might never know, or perhaps one day you will. I hope so.

    I admire your courage to share this with the world and your blog friends in particular with all my heart. There are many kinds of bravery. This is indeed one of the most powerful displays of courage I know.

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