Scientific American wrote about studies that uncovered the phenomenon known as Microchimerism: the persistent presence of a few genetically distinct cells from babies in utero that were transferred across the placenta to their mothers during pregnancy. These microchimeric cells were found even up to 18 years after the mothers gave birth. These cells are not just found circulating in the mothers’ blood, but embedded in the mothers’ brains, where they become nerve cells, making these cells functionally integrated into the brain’s circuitry.
This could explain the deep connection and bond a mother has with her child, even if that mother gave up her child for adoption.
A story of this phenomenon in action is the subject of this week’s Feel-Good Friday.
From Toledo’s ABC 13:
It was a dream more than 40 years in the making. A dream a local woman never thought could come true.
But sure enough, this month, we arrived Eugene F. Kranz Toledo Express Airport to find Myra Stevenson’s family hovering by a window, eyes glued to the tarmac.
“I just wanna hold him. This will only be the second time I’ve held him,” said Stevenson, tearfully.
She’s talking about Ben, the son she gave up for adoption 41 years ago. Stevenson was in her early twenties. She had been sent to live at a home for unwed mothers near her sister’s family in Colorado.
It’s a time that is still seared into her heart.
“I remember when I held him in my arms. I remember when they came and took him out of my arms and they told me this is the end, and to sign the final papers,” she says softly.
Despite marrying and having additional children with her husband, Mrs. Stevenson was still haunted by the shadow of the child she gave away. According to the news story, Stevenson thought about her son every single day.
Around seven years ago, Stevenson’s oldest son began searching online in the hopes of finding his biological brother. Stevenson had thrown away the adoption paperwork years before, because she had given up hope of ever finding him. Despite having limited information, the Stevenson family managed to locate Ben Adams, their son and sibling, who now lived Arkansas.
The Stevensons reached out to him, but Adams was understandably trepidatious.
“It was scary because I didn’t know who they were. But as I talked to them a little bit, I found out that these are my people. I was excited because I’ve been looking for them just like they’ve been looking for me,” Ben said.
The families maintained telephone contact, and after years of only a verbal connection, Adams and the Stevensons agreed to meet in person. On March 25, Adams flew into Toledo Express Airport and was greeted by the entire family.
“There’s a part that’s missing when you have a puzzle,” Myra explained. “That puzzle needs to fit. But now I can say that it fits.”
[…]Stevenson had been waiting to ask for his forgiveness. It turns out, that wasn’t necessary.
“I didn’t grow up with no problems,” Ben said, holding his mother close. “I had everything I needed and wanted. It really was a blessing for you to do that. Don’t ever think anything else other than that.”
It is sad that a mother who did the right thing and gave her baby up for adoption, still feels that weight of guilt. From the testimony of friends who made the choice to abort their child, there is an even greater weight of guilt, even when a woman refuses to acknowledge it. Both deserve our compassion.
It is a beautiful thing that Ben Adams was able to not only give his biological mother absolution, but reassure her that she made the right choice.
The video of their reunion is embedded in the article. It will make you cry.