To write through the window…………

The windows are open to a warm October afternoon
as the phone rings and I’m startled  by the sound of the roar in my head
as my eyes land on the caller ID and see my hand  lift the receiver.
Children’s Home Society of N.C.
I answer in slow motion,
feeling the turn of the earth as a season changes.
~  ~  ~  ~  ~
She’d just turned 18 the last time I’d spoken with the adoption agency that had placed my child
and I was the one calling.
At last she was “of age” and I could finally offer what I’d held heart-tight
for her until then,
could say my love and I’m sorry and how are you and I’m here.

No,  I’d been told.  The records are sealed.  Permanently.
The heavy weight of the words I’d signed in my childhood landed hard,
a door politely slammed on my heart.

But I may,  they’d offered,
in the pleasant way of a helpful customer service rep,
send a note to be sealed in her file.

I wrote my heart out that day,
raw already from wrestling to prepare my other kids for this,
hoping I’d told them well,  that they might comprehend the impossible,
not be singed by the shame that had branded me –
wanting them to feel secure and understand my heart,
to feel her wanted-ness and their own.
I was afraid of hurting someone.  Of hurting everyone.

And aching for connection so that she could finally hold the whole of her story,  beloved.
That she feel the light that I kept burning for her…..for the all of her,
her life and parents and story and song.  For her own unique way.
I’d trembled over what may need to be faced,
but strong love overrode the fear
and reached out anyway,
smacking hard into a door,
closed and sealed.
~  ~  ~  ~  ~

But the windows are open this day in October;
we are all eleven years older
and I answer and turn sharp onto the road that I travel today.


“I’m calling because of the note you left in her file.”
It had been a persuasive invitation to come get me if ever they please could see a reason.
They had seen one.
“We’ve waived a court order because of your note; she is sick and needs her medical history.”
It was urgent;  would I please comply.
Yes,  yes,  my maternity lunges forward,  and suddenly I am fully a mother,
rushing toward her crying child.

Listening intently to the description the woman from the agency gives of her symptoms,
I recognized them as familiar struggles to my mother,  my sister and I.
“Tell her,”  I plunge in,  and my words flow quick and steady like a ticker tape,
my voice barely supporting the pounding of my heart.

“Will you let me write her,”  I ask.

The next day the voice calls back, warmer this time, to take the information I’ve gathered.
“We’re going to let you send us an e-mail.
We’ll cut and paste and remove all identifying information
and pass it along to Allison.”

Allison.  I’m hearing her name and it’s music and mountains
and everything I’ve missed.
I hold it like a gift that I’ve been given.

And so I’m swept once more to the wide nursery window where I’d last stood 29 years ago
watching someone else hold and rock and feed my baby girl
while I pressed my face against the cold hard of the glass,
tracing her tiny features with my eyes until I could know
and store them away.

This is how it came to be that, eight Octobers ago,  I again pressed my heart up firm against the glass
and began to write through the window….

window box

I’m taking this Summer to share a story long in the living
because it’s shame and hope and grace and love and we all dance with these,
and it’s only in the lonesome that the shame gets it’s teeth.
I’ve written a smidge of back story….you can find it here.
I’ll fill in the spaces as the courage comes.

Be back with a fresh one next week.  Thanks for sharing the road
and for your patience as I wobble through:)

“Shame hates it when we reach out and tell our story.
It hates having words wrapped around it – it can’t stand being shared.
Shame loves secrecy.  When we bury our story,  the shame metastisizes.”
– Brene Brown


  1. Elephant's Child on June 19, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    Oh dear heart.
    So much pain. So much love.
    And finally a glimmer of hope that the love can be heard and recognsed for all its beauty.L
    Love recognised defeats shame. And pushes it into the weeds and dances on its nasty heart.

    • jennifer on June 21, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      Love recognized defeats shame……gosh that is profound.
      I love those words. Thanks for the gems you leave at my door:)
      I appreciate you so,

  2. Lynn Wilkinson on June 19, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Sweet gentle honoring so of all your love… So careful with the shame, so as not to misplant a step. Jenn… Continue to know the Shane is not of your making. So wrestle against that which holds you back…for, yes, the truth does set you free. In your time, I your way. We are gentle listeners will support as you find the courage and the words to speak it out. Your courage shared will be the healing balm to those who also have had such shame imposed. I adore you for everything you do!

    • jennifer on June 21, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      Wrestle I do. Thanks for your coming-alongside-ness, Lynn:)
      You are golden, friend:)

  3. Rebecca on June 20, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. Beautiful, true. Whenever I read your work, I feel little long-buried bubbles of my own pain and shame rising, coming up for air. Sending you so much light and love this Monday morning.

    • jennifer on June 21, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Long buried bubbles of pain and shame…i love the way you see things.
      Thanks for squeezing my hand. I feel it and it matters much.
      Big love and thanks,

  4. Kathryn on June 20, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Sending you lots and lots of love, Jennifer. You are strong and hopeful and brave, and oh what a good mom. Kathy

    • jennifer on June 21, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Gosh, I appreciate those kind words, Kathy.
      Thanks so much. Much, much, much:)
      Happy summering,

  5. gotham girl on June 21, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Oh Jennifer…I’ve read this and tucked it away…came back to it and read it again…tears each and every time. Sadness and happiness all rolled into one big gully washer. You are so in my thoughts…

    • jennifer on June 21, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks, my friend:)
      And so much hope, too. Hope is a main character….I’m getting there:)
      Hope and shame. Same in all our stories, I suppose.
      Thanks for sharing the road with me. You make me brave:)

  6. ELK on June 23, 2016 at 7:28 am

    so touching . . . <3 thankful for the tender sharing <3

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:33 am

      Thanks for your tender listen, Elaine:)
      It means the world to me.
      Big thanks,

  7. Kimber Britner on June 23, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Big courageous and beautiful awesomeness!

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:32 am

      Thanks, Kimber. I appreciate your kindness and support:)

  8. Leslie on June 23, 2016 at 8:16 am

    thank you, thank you. this is grace, and i am grateful to witness it through your words. love and grace to you and all you love, always.

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:32 am

      I’m grateful for your company, Leslie….thank you much:)

  9. Louise Gallagher on June 23, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Oh dearest Jennifer,
    You have my heart aching with your words, my arms craving the feel of infant skin, of newborn breath whispering softly against my cheek.

    Your courage, your love, your beautiful heart and caring soul, these are who you are. Shame is just a visitor who has stayed too long.

    Write it out dear Jennifer, write your heart from the inside out and light-up the path to Love with your words.


    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:32 am

      “Shame is just a visitor who has stayed too long.” Yes and wow…I love the way you wrap words around truth.
      Thank you. I so appreciate your presence and kindness. Much thanks.

  10. Kathy on June 23, 2016 at 9:01 am

    I’m reading with my eyes and heart wide open.
    Sending love + light to you dear Jennifer.

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Thanks for your openness, friend. It’s a thing of beauty and I’m daily inspired:)

  11. Joan Creasy on June 23, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Brave heart, love heart, compassion heart, understanding heart born from the pain and sadness but giving LIFE now to so many! Much love, Mom

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:30 am

      Thanks, Mom:) I love and appreciate you so.

  12. Cathy on June 23, 2016 at 9:56 am

    I can only imagine how hard that was to give up Amanda all those years ago when you were so young. Giving birth to her brought you back to the right path for you life. By giving her up you were thinking about what was best for her and not you since you would have been a child raising a child. The not knowing how she was and if the family was a good family to her must have been over whelming. To not see her grow and see all the changes in her has left a hole in your heart all these years. The only good thing is you have had three beautiful children with Bryan to fill up some of that hole.
    My heart goes out to you and want to send you ((((((BIG HUGS)))))) my dear sweet cousin.
    Love to you always

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:30 am

      Thanks for sharing your heart, Cathy; so beautiful, that:)
      I appreciate you and continue to pray for sweet, sweet solution
      in all of your parts, too.

  13. Eva on June 23, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Beautiful. Honest. True. Real. Courageous. Love. That’s my friend, Jennifer. Thank you for sharing your journey! I ♡ you!

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:28 am

      Big hug and glad thanks, dear Eva. I appreciate your words so very much:)

  14. Amanda Fall on June 23, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I love you, brave soul. <3

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:28 am

      Oh and I love you, Amanda Fall:)
      Big thanks for your kindness,

  15. Ann on June 23, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Love, love ,love to you my brave sister. Your heart can be free to share this story of love💖

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:27 am

      Thanks so much sweet sister! I appreciate you more than words can say:)

  16. Susan on June 23, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    This story of yours and Amanda’s goes on and as much as your heart has broken and so many tears shed it has not reached its finish… You know how much I love you and that I’ll always be cheering for a happy ending.

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:27 am

      No, it’s not reached it’s finish. Maybe just barely begun.
      Thanks for the way you encourage me along the way.
      Seriously, your voice is pure gift.

  17. ladyfi on June 25, 2016 at 2:45 am

    So much pain and love and beauty. Thank you for sharing.

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:26 am

      Thanks for coming alongside to read, Fi.
      I appreciate your caring heart,

  18. Suzanne on June 25, 2016 at 7:36 am

    I so understand and get how shame sinks its teeth in when we keep it buried. You are so beautiful and courageous Jennifer to open yourself to sharing your story in the ways that you do. It heals you no doubt, and it also heals so many others who receive the gift of your wisdom. You are a powerful healer. Thank you!! xoxo

    • jennifer on June 26, 2016 at 6:25 am

      Suzanne your words are balm and light and I thank you for pouring them out so.
      Big tenderness to you, friend.
      I appreciate you so,

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