Cheesecake with cherries and I won’t go away….

I want a quick time-out to say plain what this story is not.
I’m not moralizing;  don’t have an agenda.
If I ever carry a sign,  it would be to champion hope
Women face impossible decisions and need a tender grace,
not oversimplified,  whitewashed shoulds.
I’m pro-life.  Pro-choice.  Pro-solution.  Pro-people.

There isn’t a whisp of politics about any of this;
I’m just telling my story with tender care to offer some hope and healing.
Yup.  That’s all.  Back to the story;)

Now they’ve gone silent.
I email the address they’ve given,  eager to know how she is.
I don’t hear back.  For days I reach and get no reply.
A week passes and something rumbles hard inside – an ancient, angry ache.
I make a bold phone call and finally get a person who will take the time.
Her name is Edith and  her voice is soft as I tell her,  gentle but firm,  that I won’t go away.
She hears me and my voice grows taller.  They have their politics and I will respect
but I want them to know that I’m here.  For her.  In whatever way she welcomes.
She  is no longer a child and I won’t go away.  Not unless Allison says.


I have written her the first letter and Edith suggests that she wants to write back.
My heart can barely hold still when a week before Christmas they call to say that her letter to me has been mailed.
It arrives on December 23 – I’ve popped out for awhile and my husband phones to say that it’s on the kitchen table.
I get lost on the short trip home,  driving the wrong way up a one way street and stand up a lunch date
who will later forgive me and offer the name of a good counselor:)

She is beautiful.  More deeply,  genuinely beautiful than I can describe.
Her words paint  pictures that I’ve longed to see…..her childhood,  her passions,  her heart.
I wallow in the moment and linger between the lines,  finding grace in nooks and crannies.
Edith tells me that Allison has said of my letter,  “She writes like I think,” and  I’m bowled over by hers.
She is so my girl:)
My heart swells with love and thanks and I’m eager to reply.
Christmas comes and goes like a dream and I send off a second letter,
this one typed up quick and scuttled off like a text.
I’ve loved these first shy lines to each other and I scurry to show that I’m in.
I’m in,  Dear Allison.  So very.


I await her response and Valentine’s candy appears on the store shelves.
I scoop up some chocolate  for her as I do for each of my lovies….will send some sweets her way
and it wows my heart  that I get to do this now!  It’s crazy joy:)
I don’t tell many just yet; these are tender beginnings and I sense the need to walk in whisper.
And I feel keen their shadow,  like a monitor standing over my shoulder
and I hope to wriggle free and reach out to my daughter on my own terms.
But I’m full up with gratitude and delicious hope and another month passes.
Her birthday is approaching;  I’m actually going to get to send
a birthday package for her 30th.  For the first time ever – my heart is turning sommersaults.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I’ve celebrated each of her birthdays.  Always with roses.  Rose – it’s the secret name I gave her.
And with cheesecake topped with shiny red cherry pie filling from a can.
It’s what I craved when I carried her and I imagine somehow that she loves it,  too.
I realize I’m new to her but she has been with me for all her days,
present in my heart at each family pray,  forever on my mind.
At night,  when my husband and I say our love over each of our kids,  she has been included in mine.
In a way I cannot understand,  we feel her.

When my daughter Hannah was 4,  she’d come to me and asked, “where is my sister?”
She’d sensed her, in the sweet intuitive way of a finely tuned child.
I’d gone pale and completely botched the moment; it was piss-poor parenting
and fresh fuel for the shame that often struck me dumb or babbling.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I try to side-step this same shame that hunts me now as I wrap my heart around her coming birthday
and wonder what I could ever give that would be enough for the first gift she’ll ever receive from me.
I’m haunted by all that I’ve missed  and feeling it sorely.
I’ve been 30 years warned to stay away. Leave her to those she deserves.
I feel like I’m high atop a building and walking a line;  one slip and I may lose her again.

“I overheard the man whisper, ‘I am a lover not a fighter,’
and to myself I thought,  I am in fact both.
For is it love at all
if it’s not worth fighting for?”
– Tyler Knott Gregson

I’m posting this Summer series bite by bite
and I realize I ricochet all over and around with this story
but it feels real this way
and I want to tell it true.
I appreciate your kindness and your company along.
Just so much:)



  1. Elephant's Child on July 2, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Tears. With and for you. And awe. For your huge heart. And the rhythm of your love. Which beats without regard for who is listening. And knows that its beat is the RIGHT beat – despite what you have been told, and what you sometimes feel.
    Heartfelt hugs. Always.

    • jennifer on July 6, 2016 at 9:36 am

      Your words. Geesh they have this healing thing about them.
      Thanks so much for coming by and sharing them, Sue.
      I so appreciate:) Big warm hugs,

  2. Kathy on July 3, 2016 at 8:25 am

    My heart is skipping beats…

    • jennifer on July 6, 2016 at 9:35 am

      I love feeling you skip along beside me, Kathy:)
      Big thanks. And love,

  3. Julia on July 3, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Dear Jennifer, I’m reading your storey like intermittent showers that falls on parch earth with rays of sunshiny hope in between episode.
    Warm hugs,

    • jennifer on July 6, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Gosh you see things so beautifully, Julia. Thanks for letting me peep
      into your perspective:) Thanks for sharing the episodes,

  4. Suzanne on July 3, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    You have a tremendous amount of fierce LOVE inside of you Jennifer. There’s no doubt that Amanda feels it all. Your words had me sitting on the edge of my chair, holding my breath with each word you spoke. Sending you both so much love to help heal you both and reunite you together one day, if it’s God’s Will. xoxo

    • jennifer on July 6, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Feeling that love and sending thanks and much back to you, Suzanne:)
      It’s an honor to have you sit with me:)

  5. Barbara on July 3, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    I am not surprised at all that Amanda recognized you had been with her all along. But how amazing that your second daughter felt she had a sister. She must have sensed that love that you held for her, and of course, she must be as intuitive as you are. Bless you for sharing your story and helping others understand it’s not white or black or even solid gray. Sending a big hug!

    • jennifer on July 6, 2016 at 9:33 am

      She was a wildly intuitive child. Absolutely:)
      Thanks for seeing the paradox and walking through all the shades
      with me, Barbara:) Big hugs to you,

  6. gotham girl on July 5, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Just couldn’t agree more with so many of the comments above…oh Jennifer….I just don’t have the words…I’m so filled with happiness for you! ❤️

    • jennifer on July 6, 2016 at 9:32 am

      So much thanks for the cheers:) i can feel them from here:)
      Big hug,

  7. ELK on July 8, 2016 at 7:48 am

    love to you …and your Rose ❤🍒

    • jennifer on July 9, 2016 at 6:03 am

      Thanks, dear Elaine:)
      I receive it, soak in it, and send back my love
      to you:)

  8. Andrea on July 8, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Your Aunt Judy would probably want to get in the car and drive to give you a hug were she to read this. So consider this a hug from us both. She knew you were ever so brave in your loving decisions. Much love to you and yours!

    • jennifer on July 9, 2016 at 6:01 am

      Thanks for the big tenderness, Andrea; I feel those hugs and appreciate your words
      more than I can say. Means soooooo much to my heart, dearheart. I thank you.

  9. Kimber Britner on July 8, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Such beauty in love! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • jennifer on July 9, 2016 at 5:58 am

      Thanks, Kimber:) I appreciate your support. So much:)

  10. Eydie on July 8, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Joy filled my heart as your words painted a beautiful story of your connection with your baby, Rose , now a beautiful women, Amanda. As I slowly took in each syllable , I reminded myself to take in deep breaths and allow the commas to connect me to what you hold deep in your heart. I wait with antipation.
    Much love to you.

    • jennifer on July 9, 2016 at 5:58 am

      Thanks for coming alongside, Eydie.
      I so value your unique perspective as an adoptive mom and send
      love and more love to you and the family you’ve built.
      much care,

  11. Louise Gallagher on July 8, 2016 at 9:26 am

    I read your story before I put on my make-up. It is a good thing.
    I read your story and my heart swells to overflowing.
    your beauty shimmers in every word. Your love shines with every phrase of love expressed.
    Hunted. Haunted. You are alive in love and I feel awash in its beauty.

    • jennifer on July 9, 2016 at 5:56 am

      Thanks for speaking life into these places, friend:)
      Gosh, you have a way. I appreciate your company so much,

  12. Ouita on July 8, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Sweet Jennifer,
    Your telling is captivating, real, & so very poignant. Each segment connects with eternal grace & love. What a gift you have & we are the better for the sharing. Thank you, precious soul, for your heart!

    • jennifer on July 9, 2016 at 5:54 am

      Thanks for encouraging my telling and for your gracious listen:)
      I appreciate, Ouita. So much:)

  13. Pad on July 8, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    Love you with cherries on top! XOXOXO

    • jennifer on July 9, 2016 at 5:53 am

      Cherry cheesecake love and thanks and big hugs to all of you today:)
      What a journey; peace be to yours;)
      I love you, Pad,
      Jen Jen

  14. Susan on July 9, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Your image up there of the empty, winding road is so perfect of how I feel reading each section of this special life story you are sharing, waiting to go around that bend where I get to catch a glimpse of the mother & baby who, hopefully by that time, may be in each others arms. Your joy & grace in the telling, just extraordinary.
    I got a few chills, too, hearing Hannah asking about her sis, whew!!

    • jennifer on July 11, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Pretty whew, huh! Lots of life happening in the details.
      Thanks so much for being a friend and coming along; I can feel you
      there with your easy way and it makes me brave:)

  15. gwen on July 12, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I see the One Father of all people coloring every page of your story, Jennifer. Some come home, some never do. Some hear the whispered Message of His love letters deep in their hearts, begin to hope and feel Him and respond with hearts opening, some never do. How His heart must feel just as you have –the never stopping longing for each one to know Him as Abba, as Friend, as the One who has always known them and loved them and offered Himself as “Home”. <3 Each of us is ever, ever on His mind <3 Thank you for sharing your beautifully painted love story!!!

    • jennifer on July 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      You paint so beautifully with words, Gwen; thanks for sharing such beauty here.
      I hear you. And feel you. And sing along:)

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