She was beautiful and she was quiet. Alejandra was about 7 years old and had light brown skin, long dark hair, and deep brown eyes… eyes full of trepidation. It touched me as I noticed the similarity and also the contrast to my daughter – a few years older and not so quiet, my Alexandra (Lexi) had fair skin, long blonde hair, and pale blue eyes… eyes full of assurance.
Alejandra had a small bag with her that had pajamas and another set of clothes… hmm… unusual. In her hand she held a crumpled note. It was in Spanish but I could see it was written to Alejandra and it was a bible verse, Psalm 91.
And it was signed Te amo, Mamá.
I asked her about it and she said she was supposed to keep it with her always. She asked if I could read it to her every night. Embarrassed that I couldn’t read the Spanish, I vowed to read Psalm 91 to her right then and whenever she asked, albeit, in English. I called a friend and asked her to read it to Alejandra over the phone in her mother’s language.
I love hearing scripture and prayers spoken in different languages. It reminds me of how big God is. And how we will all understand each other, in every language, when Christ comes again.
What a beautiful Psalm and reminder of God’s faithful protection. It broke my heart reading it through the eyes of another mother. A mother who loved her Alejandra with the passion that I loved my Alexandra. A mother from another country, who spoke another language, who had dramatically different life experiences than myself, that included on this day, watching the police and social services take her young daughter away from her. And a mother who would go to bed that night agonizing over what her Alejandra might be going through. Try to imagine that for yourself. Can you even?
As I approached the visitation room, I was taken aback by her beauty. The movie Spanglish was out around that time, and Alejandra’s mother looked very much like one of my favorite movie characters, Flor Moreno. But when she saw me through the large window in the wall, it was very clear that I was the last person she wanted to see. Her eyes turned dark and fierce with anger… and she pulled Alejandra to her and stared me down. Yet my heart ached for this mom. I could not imagine the pain she was about to go through… watching another woman walk away with her child. HER child. All she knew was that I was the one who got to put her baby girl to sleep that night.
I entered the room and looked only at her, not the Caseworker and not Alejandra. I wanted her to know. To know that I knew… that she was the Mom. To know that I knew her heart was broken. Tears welled up in my eyes and fell for this Mamá of Alejandra. Regardless of the circumstances that lead to a situation like this, a mother’s heart is still a mother’s heart. Broken every moment of life for the love that consumes us once we are a mother.
She spoke no English so I couldn’t tell her in words but I had to try. I put my hand out to her and told her she had a beautiful daughter who was sweet and well behaved and lovely. And I told her that Alejandra loved her and missed her… so very much. I told her we prayed for her. By name. And I handed her Psalm 91 written out in English, telling her we read it aloud every day. Through tears I told her I was sorry. Then I walked out of the room with her daughter, her Alejandra. I looked back at her through the window and she wept openly while watching us the whole way. Never losing eye contact I brought my hand up to my heart. Momma tears poured down both of our faces. Bravely, she raised her hand to her heart in response. Even in the midst of such agonizing circumstances, and with every reason to see each other with uncertainty, or judgement, or jealousy… we both knew, and somehow, we trusted a mother’s love.
About Kristine --
I’m a complicated girl from the outset…can’t decide if I’m Kristy or Kristine. I’m schizophrenic and so am I? Either name is great but my favorite name is “Mom”. I know it should be Daughter of the King….then Wife…then… Mom. Jesus & I are working on that.
I’m a Colorado native… but spent some years in beautiful East Tennessee after college where I met my indescribable (but really) Southern man Mickey, my husband of 31 years. My career was running different non-profit organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Family & Children’s services (an outpatient mental health & training organization). When my second son was born I quit and became a stay-at-home mom, part-time Real Estate Broker, and volunteered for everything under this Colorado sun. I am still a Realtor and love helping people with their home (& heart journey).
I have three amazing biological children… Micah who lives in Nashville, Nico who lives in Chicago and Lexi Lee who along my most precious and handsome SIL Spencer, live in Littleton, Praise the Lord! If God is real, the boys will be moving home soon. Perhaps the deepest part of our family story is the wonderful, difficult, profound journey of being a foster family. We have fostered dozens of children and are incredibly blessed to have two of them back in our lives and counted as our children. Nate & Erick live in So-Cal and Nate is married to my sweet & sassy DIL Candace and they are expecting N Jay in November of 2016. If God is real, they will be moving home soon too!
I love Jesus, my family, & brokenness. Deep conversations, authenticity, real life stories & the lessons learned. Sports, funny people, fast forward, sprinkles, competition & music cuts through me. An ideal night is a fire, no cell phones & intense games with my husband and kids.