The Love of a Mother


Nicole Blanket 4I have read the story of how Moses’ mother hid him in a basket and placed it in the river among the reeds on numerous occasions. For those who wear the lenses of liberation, this is the beginning of the story of the human partner in Israel’s liberation from Egypt. For those who wear the lenses of adoption, it’s the story of how Pharaoh’s daughter welcomes a Hebrew baby boy into her family.

I have recently acquired a new set of lenses. . . a mother’s eyes. When I read this story again, I saw a mother’s heart for the first time. Two months after being approved as prospective adoptive parents, our nine years of waiting finally came to an end last month when our little girl came home. Just in time for Mother’s Day.

At three months old, she is already a busy baby. She greets her dad and I every morning with the most adorable grin. She excitedly pumps those little legs when she lies on her back, and at least once a day she gurgles and squeals happily as she converses with us in her own baby language. My daughter’s busyness helped me to understand why Moses’ mother could no longer keep him hidden in her home.

Moses was born into a situation of death. When the Hebrew midwives foiled his plans to have Hebrew boys murdered at birth, Pharaoh ordered that newly born Hebrew boys be cast into the river instead. One mother refused to allow death to be the story of her child’s life.

Her deep love for him compelled her to find a way to keep him alive, and so she chose to hide him in a basket woven from papyrus, one that eventually carried him into the arms of a woman who enabled him to grow and flourish. The basket became her love letter to her baby. Each strand of papyrus told him how deeply she loved him. Faced with an impossible situation, she did an incredibly brave thing: she released him into the arms of another mother, choosing life for him at great personal cost.

I was reminded of her story on the day my husband and I went to bring our daughter home. The birth mother had expressed a desire to meet us, particularly because she and her mother had chosen us to parent her daughter, but when the day grew closer, her emotions overwhelmed her and she chose not to come. She sent her mother to meet us with a message. Like Moses’ mother, her message was a woven one too.

That day our baby girl’s birth grandmother sat across from us, telling my husband and I about her daughter. She shared the story of how our baby was conceived and the process the family underwent in choosing to make an adoption plan for the baby.

I’ve heard some people say that the biological mother “gave her baby away,” implying that she did not want, and therefore callously rejected, her baby. But that’s far from the truth. What I appreciate about our adoption agency is that when they journey with the birth mother through her process, they speak about her making an adoption plan for her baby. They enable the birth mother to understand that she is not throwing her baby away; instead, she is choosing to make an adoption plan for her baby. She becomes an active participant in choosing the family who would raise her child.

Our daughter’s birth grandmother could not contain her tears as she shared about the disappointment, fear and anxiety that engulfed them when the pregnancy was confirmed. Then she smiled as she shared about being given a lifeline when they realized that adoption was an option. She excitedly told us how she knew immediately, upon seeing photographs of my husband and I, that she wanted us to be the baby’s family.

When she delivered our little girl into our arms, she handed over a gift bag that contained a blanket, scarf and cap that her daughter had crocheted for her little girl. It was another love letter, slowly woven in the final weeks of pregnancy. Each strand communicating to her daughter how much she loves her, telling of the courage it took for her to choose life for her daughter.

Like Moses’s mother, our daughter’s birth mother’s greatest sacrifice—letting go of parenting her baby—became her greatest gift.

Moses became the liberator of the Hebrew people from Egyptian oppression.

Her little girl became our long awaited, wished-for child.

A Woven Love Letter

Two mothers
Separated by time and distance and context,
Yet connected
By choosing a similar medium
To communicate
A message to their child.
A Woven Love Letter,
One with papyrus,
The other with wool,
Each strand saying,
My greatest sacrifice
Is also
My greatest gift.
You are loved, my baby,
You are loved.

– Nicole Joshua