My thoughts are taking me back in time tonight - to an afternoon in Souix City, Iowa. My 1st husband wanted to find his birth mother. It was an ache he'd had from the moment he knew he was adopted. We knew the place of his birth. Souix City. And we knew his birth mother's last name.
We drove to the court house to look through the birth records. It was a waste of time, I thought. Birth records for adopted babies are closed. There was no way we would find the name of his birth mother. Not a chance.
That's what I thought, even as he pulled the year 1962 from the shelf, even as he thumbed through December births, even as he saw the day he was born but his name wasn't there.
I braced for the disappointment that would surely come. It would be a long, silent ride back home. I just knew it.
And then, I realized something.
Periodically, names were taped over - with a sheet of typing paper covering the entries.
Could it be? Might these be the names of babies who were adopted?
As soon as I said this, my husband grabbed the book and began pressing the blank paper as close to the book's page as he could. And that's when his birth name became visible through the paper.
We had found her name.
He had a name. His mother's name - once hidden - was now burned into his mind. He would never forget it. He couldn't, even if he tried.
Eventually, he hired a private investigator, and she found the birth mother. They met shortly after the Christmas of 1994.
Tonight, I'm thinking about that discovery because I have relived it - spiritually.
The Blessed Mother is my mother. She has been my Mother from the moment of my Baptism in a small Presbyterian church in rural Iowa when I was just 13.
But I did not know her.
The Protestant Reformation covered her over like a sheet of paper on church history.
She had existed, but I might as well put that behind me and consider it ancient history. It wasn't supposed to mean anything to me now.
Let the record of that maternal connection collect dust.
But then, I discovered something amazing. I had a mother, and she wanted me to find her. She wanted me to press my way through the pages of history and find her, buried in the records, and pause when I came to the blank page.
Where her name should be.
Behold your mother.
Here. Ready for the unveiling. Hidden beneath the white page.
I have a mother.
I am still trying to get to know her. This "knowing" is harder for those of us who grow up without her - in that Protestant world where Mary-doesn't-exist-although-she-really-does.
It's harder to sense her affection. Real-ness. Motherhood. But I know she's my mother. And I just need to give her each day, letting it be an opportunity for discovery and for recovery. Discovery of all that she wants me to know about her. Recovery of all that was lost through the Protestant Reformation.
As a Catholic, I do not need to hire a private investigator to find this mother. She is just a prayer away.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Your long, lost girl.