I Am That Baby
By: Sherrie Eldridge
This was the first adoption I have ever witnessed. That is, except for my own, and none of that comes to memory!
Four years ago, I met Rebecca Swan Vahle, Adoption Liaison for Denver’s Parker Adventist Hospital BirthPlace. She somehow had discovered my children’s book and wanted to meet face-to-face.
“Why would she want to meet at a hospital?” I wondered. “All I could think of was the nauseating smell of hospital cafeterias!”
However, as Rebecca ushered me into the OB-GYN unit, it felt like home. Warm green walls were lined with calligraphies and baby photos. Nurses were smiling and confident.
Rebecca had already incorporated my children’s book Forever Fingerprints….An Amazing Discovery for Adopted Children, into the adoption placements for the potential adoptive families and parents who desired it.
The entire reason I wrote Forever Fingerprints was to help the adopted child feel a sense of connection to her birth mother. Many say there is no way. Either birth mothers are in too much pain to do a fingerprint at the hospital or they are lost in time, nations away.
I believe that God gave adoptees a way to feel that sense of connection to our birth mothers and that is through the story of Forever Fingerprints. At the end of readings to children at libraries and places of worship, I ask the children to turn their hands palms up and look at their fingertips.
Then, I say, “No one in the whole world has a fingerprint like yours—not all people in the past and all the people that will live after you. Only God could pull that off. Your fingerprint is a mark of ownership from the Great Shepherd of the sheep. You belong to Him!”
Looking back, I laugh when I remember Rebecca’s urgent call one Saturday morning. She asked for the stationary files that accompany the book—STAT! There was an adoption going on! (This stationary is designed for attendees at the adoption to write love notes to the baby).
Rebecca was turning the children’s book into a keepsake for babies, parents and potential adoptive families! As much as I loved this children’s book because it meets the unspoken need to adopted children, a new arena was being opened by Rebecca. A new and wondrous arena that blessed each parent and the baby.
Now, fast forward to the live adoption ceremony I was privileged to watch. The hospital worker took the babies fingers and toes, pressed them on an ink pad, and then onto the inside cover of the book.
As the mom and dad held the newborn, I felt sad, realizing that I was that baby once, but no parents to welcome me, no foot and fingerprints to prove that I was a real baby in a real hospital. My mother never saw me and I was in an incubator with no human touch for ten days.
However, God is faithful in the hard places, and I know this was hard, even though I can’t remember.
During my search for birth relatives years ago, I found the granddaughter of the physician who delivered me.
“You know he was an orphan himself?” she asked. “He wept at the birth of every baby he delivered.”
So even though my mother abandoned me, God never forgot me and sent Dr. Miles Fillinger to welcome me into this world.
I wanted my fingerprints to be treasured, like this sweet baby!
Sherrie Eldridge believes that being adopted equates to a life of mysteries, just waiting to be discovered. A twice-reunited adoptee, Eldridge is a straight-shooting, transparent, and compassionate author, speaker, and trainer in the field of adoption. Her books are research-based, yet woven within are poignant messages pounded out on the anvil of her adoptee heart. This is what makes Eldridge unique! Because her books hit core needs, readers review her work with anger or thanks. She takes this in stride, knowing many critics return with thanks. One adoptive parent said she had a beautiful heart because she had the courage to tell him what his daughter might experience.
Her first book, Twenty Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed, is
required reading by many adoption agencies and universities. She has also authored four other books and free adoption workbooks:
Under His Wings (Spanish Edition)
Beauty from Ashes (for adoption triad groups)
12 Steps for Adopted Teens
20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew