Dabney Is My Mom

Four little words rocked my world.
As I sat down to dinner and reread my place card, I felt a second pair of eyes watching me.
Almond-shaped eyes, to be exact.
Ansley’s little body hugged close to the corner of the wall as she said, “Do you like it, Mommy. What I wrote?”
How could I not.
I held out my arms and welcomed her in, engulfing her slender frame. We had had numerous conversations about her adoption from China. In my heart of hearts, I believed an open dialogue was the best avenue about this topic.

However, when many late night tears and deep moans of anguish were followed by all the why questions, I started second-guessing this theory.
“Why didn’t my birth mother want me?
“Do you think I look like her?”
“Do you think I’ll see her one day in heaven?”
This last question always got me, because Ansley never prayed to meet her parents on earth. Nightly, she repeated the same request for their salvation so they could make it to eternity.
Her God-given gift I believe is discernment. This child can read me better than anyone else. It turns out, she can read others, too.
One day we were in Target and a woman we knew from church walked over to say hello. Ansley took one look at her and said, “You no longer go to our church, do you?”
My mommy-alert went off, wanting right then and there to cup my fingers over her lips and back away. I already knew the answer to this awkward question. Ansley was right.
We’re still working on discretion.
Months passed, and we had a string of nights filled with “why” questions. I left the room and let Jason take over. Even though she was only an eight-year-old child, her words pierced my soul.
We’d prayed for her, chosen her, loved her…yet our conversations surrounded the mystique of the unknown. I got it. I actually wanted the answers too–for her sake.
That night Jason explained how it’d be best for a little while if Ansley only talked to him about this topic.
And that was it for months.
No word.
No tears.
She carried on being her silly self.

Until three nights ago when she rocked my world.
And again this morning when she wrote this:
“Dear Mommy, I love you with all of my heart. I will never let go of you!
20 Reason I love My Mom.
1) she fed me
2) took me in
3) takes care of me
4) loves us
5) equals us
6) understands me
7) cinsadive heart
8) takes us places
9) home schooled us
10) crys with me
11) takes care for us
12) does things nice when she doesn’t want to
13) funny
14) loves the things we give her
15) shares with us
16) trains us
17) reads to us
18) let’s us stay up
19) gives us freedom
20) cooks for us”
Well. I paused at the last point. My cooking abilities have always been questionable.
I folded the place card and 20-point note into my journal.
Dabney is my mom, I repeated in my mind. And Ansley will forever be my daughter.

  1. Rachel Esterhuyse says:

    My eyes are filled with tears! What a precious little angel she is! I can totally hear her sweet voice asking you if you like it. Thank you for sharing! Love to all of you!

  2. Joanie says:

    Beautiful story! Some friends here in Jacksonville are heading to China next Tuesday to pick up their new little daughter Annaliese! Some day, down the road, it would be so fun for Ansley and Annaliese to meet, and be encouraged by shared journeys, shared questions, and shared blessings. Your little Ansley is most certainly YOUR little girl and you are her MOMMY!

    • dabneyland says:

      Ok. So that last sentence got me. Big breath. 🙂 Thanks.
      I would LOVE to connect with Annaliese one day. Ansley enjoys walking up to other little girls that look like her and introducing herself. After that she, of course, asks what church they go to and if they know Jesus. I think we have a little evangelist in the making. So happy to hear this news of sweet Annaliese. We’d like to adopt again one day if it’s the Lord’s will.
      Dabney 🙂

  3. Bill Jensen says:

    Absolutely loved this post.

  4. Debra says:

    Dabney ~ a friend shared your dear post about your beautiful daughter Ansley. You are blessed! My heart is warm with the sweet glimpse into your family’s life ~ the Lord bless you as your post has blessed us! (((hugs))) from Texas 🙂

    • dabneyland says:

      Today is definitely a day I feel blessed. And I’m super happy to have my first comment from Texas! 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. pamela ketterer says:

    Dear Ansley, You are a gift from heaven; charming, sensitive, smart, loved, and wise beyond your years, I see nothing but bright skies for you. Love, Aunt Pam.

    • dabneyland says:

      Ahhh, Aunt Pam, I love your heart. It’s so good to hear from you and I’ll be sure to let Ansley read your comment. She is my gift from heaven.
      Love you,

  6. pamela ketterer says:

    Dear Ansley,You are a gift from heaven. charming, sensitive, smart, and wise beyond your years. Aunt Pam

  7. Paula says:

    Ansley is a thoughtful dear girl who will no doubt have lasting and loving memories of her family throughout her lifetime.

  8. Delana says:

    I, too, have cried alongside my daughter as she has grieved through some of those same questions. http://delanasworld.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/heart-tears/

  9. Gabrielle Meyer says:

    This was such a sweet story, Dabney, and one I won’t soon forget. Ansley sounds like a beautiful little girl from the inside out.

  10. sammiebennett says:

    What a beautiful post! My word, that got to me. Thank you!

    • dabneyland says:

      She has that effect on me every time.
      Thank you for visiting. I was serious about your blog. I can’t wait to read future posts. I recently started a faith-based critique group with four women, so reading your creatively written about page touched my heart. Blessings to you ladies. You’re most certainly talented! And…I noticed you live in Orlando? I lived there for a while as a kid, live in West Palm now.
      Blessings to you!

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  15. Danielle Borzillo says:

    I feel like I should know you already. Even if I don’t, I am planning on going to MOPS tomorrow so I hope to meet you then. My twin daughters are from China. Looking forward to hearing you speak.

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