I have been thinking about you lately. Do you remember that day 6 years ago when your womb was emptied? Do you remember the frail, struggling baby girl that came into this world, barely 27 weeks old?
The truth is, I used to look down on you. I judged you for the choices that you made that day. I held Nina close to me and accused you, “How could you!” “How could you abandon your own child!”I convinced myself you were a bad person. My delusional righteous indignation made me believe I was better than you.
As I have learned to love Nina – as she has become my very own – God has broken my heart for you.
You were so young. You were not married and you did not plan to get pregnant. I wonder if Nina’s father left you, or if he ever pressured you to have an abortion. I wonder how your parents responded. Were they supportive or did they turn their backs on you?
How would you have supported your baby? What could you have offered to her if you were unsure of your own future?
I will never know what brought on such an early labor for you. I do not know if you did not take care of yourself and your baby or if it happened as a result of poverty, a lack of nutrition and scarce food.
But I do know what it is like to give birth for the first time, I know what it is like to feel myself be emptied out, and see a tiny human being that is so much a part of me. What was it like for you, seeing Nina so frail, her skin translucent from being born too soon, unable to breathe on her own and so helpless?
When you refused to hold her, had you already made up your mind that you would walk out? Were you afraid that feeling her in your arms would make you want to stay? Did you think that she would die? Were you afraid that she would have a disability due to her early birth? Did it scare you to think that in your country, she would not be accepted and you would have to raise her without support?
Was it the thought of a disability that turned you away? I understand. When Nichole was born, I did not handle her diagnosis of Down syndrome well. I cried, I questioned, and I feared what our future with her would be like. I couldn’t find love for my baby amidst the tears that overflowed. So I think about you and how I judged you, and I am sorry.
I wonder if you have prayed for Nina all these years. I can picture you crying, begging God to take care of your little girl. And maybe it was during one of your desperate prayers that God tugged at my heart, and looking at Nina’s picture through a computer screen I knew I was looking at my daughter.
I ache for you as you live your life wondering what happened to your very own flesh and blood.
I do not know if you live with pain or guilt over that choice you made 6 years ago. But I wish you knew that Nina is loved. She has a family that loves her, supports her, and will always be present in her life. I wish you knew that she is happy. I wish you knew how much courage and determination she has. I wish you could see her walk and fight her disability with all her strength. I wish you knew that she is charming and smart. I wish you knew that she has grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, and friends that stand behind her. I wish you could see how beautiful she is, and maybe she looks like you.
You might never know this, but through you, God has given me one of the most precious and treasured gifts I have: my daughter, Nina.
May God give you peace, may you feel His forgiveness, and may you be filled with His unending love.