I have known for many years that one day I would get to write this blog. I didn’t know when it would happen or the exact content that the post would contain, but I knew our adoption journey with Dennis was bound to somehow bring us to this day….the day we finally found Mama Catalina. 

This morning while we were in the middle of Sunday worship, I received a message that said, “Good morning Dawn, I have news for you. Today at 8 am I will be meeting with Catalina.”

Let me back up a bit…..

If you’ve followed our adoption stories over the years, then you know Dennis has always desired to know and have a connection with his birth mom. I will never forget the day my 3-year-old son met friends of ours visiting from Mexico at church. When we came home, Dennis put his pudgy hands on my cheeks and asked me if the woman he had just met was his mama. That day, along with many others, left his heart cracked wide open. He’s longed so deeply for many years to know about his mom. 

We’ve known that searchers existed to help make these biological connections for adoptive families. I’ve watched many of these journeys – the good and the difficult – play out the past few years in the Guatemalan adoptive community of which I’m a part. It’s just so complicated because we have two children’s stories to consider, not to mention all the unknowns that exist in the family dynamic once you open the door to the past. Which step comes first? When is the right time? What happens if we cannot find her? What happens if the birth parent doesn’t want contact? 

About a month ago we just knew it was the right time to begin the search for our son’s mother. In order to authentically step into his next phase of life, we needed to secure answers from the past for his soul. We knew it would be a challenging search as his mother is tribal, lives in a remote village, and doesn’t even speak Spanish. However, after a little research, we connected with someone experienced in this type of search, so we stepped out once again in faith and re-opened the door to our ongoing story in Guatemala. 

I do not intend to tell much of my son’s story or share details about the search in this blog. That is his to tell one day, if, and when he wants to share those details. This post is fundamentally about me as the adoptive mother and the infertile woman who authentically, from a genuine place of wholeness, sat by my son today as he laid eyes on his mother for the first time since he was an infant. 

You see, for over 15 years of my infertility journey, I refused to even entertain the notion of adoption because I never wanted a child who only ever really wanted his biological mom.  Furthermore, when I did consider adoption, I only pursued international options because I never wanted to face a day like the one I’m experiencing today. My fears of rejection were rooted in my dad’s adoption and experiences in finding his birth mother years ago. I erected walls against adoption in my heart before I ever knew that I would suffer from infertility.  The long and painful infertility journey only fortified my resolve against adoption. Back in those days, I firmly decided I would rather remain barren than adopt a child who would only leave me one day for his “real mother”.

But God. 

Seriously, but God.

God chose to give me new eyes, new ears, and a new heart.  He chose to fundamentally transform me into someone new entirely, someone who would one day run after the very thing I ran away from. This is the premise of my entire book in fact, and it’s just powerful for me to realize again and again and again how very much I’ve changed as a person once I submitted to God’s transformation process. 

When we opened this door last month, we had no idea where our journey would lead. We put our hearts and, in some measure, all of our family’s normalcy on the line when we started this search. We’ve held our son’s hand and his heart carefully as we’ve entered into this new terrain, navigating once more the complications and challenges of adoption. 

Today I can tell you that we’ve received the best possible outcomes of all the scenarios we envisioned in finally finding Catalina. Today we’ve not only seen her face but also heard her voice. Dennis has learned that he has 3 more sisters in this life, making him a brother to 6 beautiful young women. His mama was so thankful that we found her and so thrilled to see his face. She is open to future communication and maybe even a visit one day. Can you even imagine? 

Love has transformed me in ways I never dreamed possible. I’ve faced one of the biggest fears an infertile woman and adoptive parent can imagine and only found love and immense compassion in that space. As I stared into Mama Catalina’s face, I had no more fear, no more words, and no more questions. I only felt overwhelming love and gratitude. I wonder if this is what it will be like one day when I meet my Savior face to face? On that day, I can only imagine that all of my fears, words, and questions are all simply absorbed by love.