Heart-shaped cookies


Karen Elfers
Focus on Adoption magazine

When my older daughter, Jessica, was in kindergarten she love to attend birthday parties. However, one day she came home from a birthday celebration very sad and very quiet. She wanted to be left alone and didn't want to talk about the party.

Finally, the next day, while she was lying on the couch, she started crying and saying that some people think that birth mothers sell their babies. Apparently, at the party the previous day, many of the children had stories about the day they were born. When Jessica shared her story, someone asked what a "birth mother" was. Another classmate declared that birth mothers were women who sold their babies. Clearly, Jessica was deeply hurt by this remark. I asked her if she thought the comment was true. She said, "No, but it still makes me cry."

I was tempted to grab our photo albums and videos and review once again the story of how Jessica came to be entrusted to our family. But my husband held up his hand and stated that enough had been said. So, instead of embarking on a very long talk, we walked into the next room, picked up the phone and called our daughters birth mother, Angie. We told her briefly about Jessica's experience and her need for reassurance. Angie didn't panic. She didn't criticize Jessica's classmate nor did she question the value of adoption. Angie simply thanked us for the call and got busy making phone calls to rally other members of Jessica's birth family. Within a short time, there was a plan for Jessica to visit her birth mother's home. We all decided that this was the perfect opportunity for Jessica to have her first sleepover.

As expected, this emergency "overnighter" was great for everyone, and Jessica came home looking tired, but happy.

A short time later, my husband and I were attending a parent teacher conference at Jessica's school. When the teacher had completed her report of Jessica's progress, she shared a story with us. The teacher said that one afternoon shew as surprised to see Jessica stand up and announce to the class that she had visitor her birth mother's house. Jessica went on to say that she wanted them all to know that she and her birth mother had made cookies together. Furthermore, Jessica emphasized that the cookies they made were heart-shaped cookies. Then Jessica sat back down. The teacher knew she had witnessed something significant but didn't understand what was going on in Jessica's head. My husband and I smiled. The teacher had seen a five-year-old's way of telling her classmates that her birth mother did not sell her. In fact, her birth mother was someone who made cookies with her. Indeed, birth mothers make heart-shaped cookies--cookies about love.

Reprinted with kind permission of Karen Elfers.

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