The sweet scent of her hair brushes across my cheek as I pull her toward me. She is shorter than I. Her hair much lighter, and her eyes much brighter; still there is no denying she is a part of me, and I a part of her.
As we hug, I ask, “Are you happy?”
Her quick reply, “Yes, very happy.”
My butterfly was back in my arms.
When I placed my little butterfly for adoption, I knew there was a chance I would never see her again. I often hoped that we would have a reunion and hearts would be mended, and my mind would be set at ease. I never truly allowed myself to visualize this meeting, for I knew better. I prepared my three children that we may never meet her, and they too kept wishing, hesitantly. Every birthday, we sang, and blew out candles, without her.
When my daughter came to me, during her dance rehearsal, and said, “Mom, that girl standing in the hallway, looks just like your butterfly,” I nodded, as I had heard this many times before. But this time felt different. This time, as I turned around to see this lookalike, I felt a tug in my heart and thought, it could be her.
I caught the eye of her dad, and quickly turned back to my daughter shouting, “It is her! That is our butterfly!”
Seventeen years had passed since I looked into those bright eyes and smelled that sweet scent. The world stopped, nothing else moved, no other breath exhaled except hers and mine. Two beacons that had been calling to each other for years had finally found one another. My heart filled to the brim, pouring out unconditional love to the floor below us, and creeping up the walls all around us. There was enough love for the whole world to feel and take. As I held her in my arms, I felt complete. I felt whole.
We talked, embraced, talked more, and stared at each other, shockingly, noticing our common traits, dislikes, and likes. It was surreal, indescribable and fulfilling. We sat on a bench, taking pictures and videos. I texted my husband a picture of the two of us, with no words. His reply, what? I replied, it is her. The pull toward her was stronger than anything I have ever felt before. We held each other’s hands. We leaned into each other as we talked.
As she spoke, I felt nothing but pride. What a beautiful young woman she had become. What a miracle she was! I felt pride in myself. I carried her for nine months, experienced a painful delivery, and even more painful goodbye. I had been grieving for seventeen years. Every day I questioned why I placed her for adoption. Every day I questioned my motives. Every day I questioned my heart. I questioned everything, but as she sat next to me, I questioned nothing.
She was here, in my arms, and nothing else mattered.
Placing my little butterfly for adoption changed the course of my life. It seeped positive and negative emotions into every relationship I had after that. It haunted me with the nasty grip of grief and changed the way I showed my love to those around me. One thing remained my goal, after all of this time, and that was to become someone my little butterfly would be proud of. A birth mother she would long to know. A birth mother that she could announce and introduce without hesitation. As we said goodbye, again, I knew I had reached my goal. My little butterfly was proud of me, and I of her. We hugged for the hundredth time as I said, “Be a good girl. I love you.” The same words I had spoken to her when she was just four days old. Tears dripped down my face as the shock wore off. I watched her walk down the hall, turning the corner to the parking lot, and out of sight.
My heart is full!
As a public speaker and birth mother, Gina has engaged audiences at adoption conferences and birth mother retreats nationwide. After placing her baby for adoption in the fall of 2000, she founded Birth Mother Baskets, a non-profit organization focused on providing emotional support to birth mothers post-placement.
After 14 years of running Birth Mother Baskets, Gina stepped away to pursue a career as a Creative Arts Manager. A severe concussion in 2016 led Gina back to rediscover her real passion for writing and adoption. She has been working on her adoption memoir since that time.
Her writing has been featured on America Adopts, Adoption Today, American Adoptions, Adoption.com, AdoptionLife.org, and CAIRS News Room. Gina has received the UAC Community Excellence Award for outstanding contributions to adoption in Utah.
Gina currently works as a content writer, blogger, and birth mother advocate for CAIRS Solutions. She lives in Utah with her husband and three children. You can read her independent work at ginacrotts.com and follow her on Instagram at @ginacrottswriter.