A Conversation at Walmart: Naming a Birth Mother

By Julia Descarpentrie

When I envision having a profound conversation with one of my children, I picture us snuggled in my big comfy chair in the living room, a compassionate facial expression, and great wisdom pouring out from my tongue.  Reality: Wal-Mart is not exactly my living room, though I spend a significant amount of my life there.  But that is my youngest child’s ideal setting for meaningful conversations.  My face is expressing concentration on the shopping combined with confusion as I wrack my brain for the profound wisdom needed.

My boy has a great imagination, and on one visit to Wal-Mart our grocery cart became a super sonic jet transporting us to China to visit “that big block sidewalk.”  (Great Wall, maybe?)  I wasn’t really paying much attention to his chatter, until my brain locked in on the words “meeting that lady, the China mommy.”  This was the first time he had brought up his birth mom on his own, though I have initiated conversations about his birth family.  He asked what her name was and I explained that we did not know.  Would he like to think up a name that he could call her?  He thought this was a fine idea and we sifted through names such as Julia, Kilyan, and Coco, until he decided that this was a matter requiring prayer.

So in the dairy section, he asked Jesus to help him remember his birth mom’s name.  The prayer was followed by a time of silence.  My heart was heavy with the inability to provide my son with this little piece of his background.  I finally broke the silence, only to have him quickly quiet me as he was “trying to listen for Jesus” to reveal his birth mom’s name.  A little more time passed, and amongst the canned goods I suggested we call her Mae Lin.  This was accepted, and he now has a name for the woman who loved him enough to give him life.

Later, sitting in our comfy chair in the living room, we discussed why his birth mom could not leave her name.  We prayed that we could meet “Mae Lin” in heaven some day and know her real name.  And my quiet prayer was one of thanksgiving to the God in control and the granter of wisdom in Wal-Mart.

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