If Mary Had Really Loved Her Child
a Christmas Story
by Laurie Frisch
Adoption does not end at the time a baby is adopted. The effects of
separation on family members last a lifetime. I have re-written the
Christmas story to show what might have happened if an adoption agency
and "open" adoption had been around when Mary was pregnant.
I'll start after Mary was approached and asked to be the Mother
of God. After she agrees to it.
Mary discovers that she is indeed pregnant and tells her parents.
They are very angry and especially angry that she has lied to them
about the baby's father - and it's such an obvious lie! It makes
them furious that she shows no remorse and indeed seems to enjoy
being pregnant. She wants to talk about her baby and seems proud.
Her brothers and sisters roll their eyes. They are all embarrassed.
Mary is concerned about her child. She is betrothed, but Joseph
seems uncertain about the baby and does not seem to totally trust
her story. He is really a great guy and decides to stick by her
anyway. Still, Mary is concerned about how her family and her future
husband will treat her child. Some have treated her very badly and
even the best of them have not offered to help much. In private,
her mother yells constantly, telling her to quit lying about it
and calling Mary a slut. She demands to know who the baby's father
is and threatens to kill him. In public, her mother pretends to
Mary is rather young. She does not know what to say to her mother
in response to her ranting and raving. She imagines the things her
mother might say to her child later.
Mary goes to her church counseling services to discuss things.
Mary's mother goes along, to give the appearance of being supportive.
She really does want to be supportive, but she's afraid that if
she says anything that sounds supportive, it may make it difficult
for her daughter, who seems willing to do anything in the interest
of her child.
Her mother asks the social worker if it isn't a very traumatic
thing for a mother to give away a child. The social worker tells
her it is a loving thing to do and that the girls who give their
babies away give them away because they come from loving homes and
they want their child to be loved also. Mary's mother tells Mary
Mary does not react, although it's obvious to both of them that
the way Mary is being treated is not what you would call loving.
So far, everything she's told her mother has tripped off a bomb
and she doesn't want to trip off another one by stating the obvious.
And it's true Mary does want her baby to be loved. She would
do anything for her baby if she thought it was the right thing,
no matter what the consequences to her. "If you really love
him, you'll give him up," the social worker insists.
Joseph does not know what to say. He has decided to marry Mary
anyway, but he thinks it should be her decision what to do with
her baby. He does not tell her what he is really thinking - that
he would actually like to keep the baby - although he is very affectionate
toward Mary. He wants to do what is best for her.
Mary gets to select the people who will raise her child and even
gets to meet them. They seem like such wonderful people, she's sure
they will love her child. They promise to send a picture of him
and a letter every year, through the agency.
It is census time and Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem. They get
in late and can't find a hotel. Luckily, someone offers them a spot
in a barn, which is at least out of the wind and the animals' body
heat will help warm the place. They are both very thankful for a
place to rest, for the baby is on it's way.
When the child is born, Mary asks Joseph to tell the church social
worker. She holds her baby, but is afraid to spend too much time
with him. He is a beautiful child. He is God's child, even though
other people can't see it, she knows it's true. Because she is totally
crazy about the baby, she would have wanted to do the right thing
anyway, but she especially wants to do exactly the right thing for
God's child. She signs papers and they take the baby.
Her expression is one of anguish. She can't stop crying. Joseph
holds her. A shepherd comes by and he says "What are you crying
for? You are the one who signed the papers. You didn't want your
child." Mary is amazed. How could anyone think she didn't want
her precious baby? She can still remember how his little hands were
positioned, clasping each other, and the slight fuzz on his back,
which was still hunched over from being inside her.
The wise men follow the signs in the sky that direct them to the
Savior, right to the house where he is. They bring gifts and celebrate.
The baby is distracted, but when they all go away he tries to find
his mother her voice, her smell. She is nowhere to be found.
He really squalls and the woman tries to comfort him. She wonders
if all babies are like this, but she does not know. She thinks of
his mother and feels rather guilty about taking her child.
Some days she wonders. As he grows, he doesn't want to get near
her and doesn't seem to trust her, although she always treats him
lovingly. He doesn't have a problem getting close to her husband,
only to her. He is better when they are around people. He is not
afraid she will abandon him in front of people. At night he cries
for his mother and when she appears by his little bed, he says he
wants his other mother. She was not really prepared for this.
She tells him about his mother and how much she loved him. He is
somewhat comforted, but still he often feels that is impossible.
How could his mother love him and yet give him away? He feels there
is something wrong with him. Maybe his skin is too dark. His mother
must hate him. He tries to be perfect, so these people won't abandon
Meanwhile, Mary and Joseph return home. They eventually have other
children and whenever she is pregnant Mary cries, thinking of her
first, the one God entrusted to her. She is sure she did the right
thing. When the little ones grow and take their first steps, Mary
thinks of her other child. Mary thinks of her first child so much
that for a while, she neglects the children she has. Eventually
she forces herself not to think about it, but at times she just
can't help it. She cries and cries and does not sleep, sometimes
for days in a row. She's amazed at how well she can function through
it all, but she has responsibilities. She hides her pain from Joseph
and he is afraid to ask about it.
Many days she has an incredible struggle to get up and get going,
but she does it anyway.
The people who adopted her son send Mary a picture and a letter
every year to tell her how he is doing. Eventually, they become
afraid she might figure out who he is and steal him and they send
some very outdated pictures to throw her off. They are afraid to
say much in their letters. They don't want to say how well the child
is doing and how very much they enjoy having him around, because
that might make her feel bad. They can't tell her if anything goes
wrong, because then she will definitely come looking for him and
want him back. But they feel good that they have done their duty
and written a few words. They really do care. The agreement to send
pictures and letters is not binding and they know another couple
who adopted a child, but never sent a single picture or letter.
They named their baby Samuel and they make sure that he has had
all the advantages. Among other things, they feel they owe it to
the mother who gave him to them.
When Mary goes home to her parent's house, her mother always mentions
her first child and says "We should have kept him. I would
have helped you." Mary is traumatized all over again when she
hears this. Is her mother trying to torture her? Doesn't she know
she should have offered help before the baby was gone? Mary never
reacts much she doesnt understand why her mother is
telling her this. She especially doesn't want her mother to feel
guilty it's obvious her mother feels guilty enough already.
Her other children express an interest in their older brother.
They want to meet him and can't understand where he is. Mary has
a few pictures of him. They gather around to see. They ask what
his name is and Mary says "I named him Jesus." They are
satisfied with that name and anyway Mary does not know whether he
still has it or not. However, they hate it that they can't contact
him and one of the girls cries unconsolably every year because they
can't invite her brother Jesus to her birthday party. It's heartwrenching.
When Samuel gets older, he is hard to control. He wants to please
the people who adopted him, but he feels he has a mission. He preaches
God's word and tells people not to look so much at the letter of
the law, but to focus on loving one another.
He has difficulty with that himself, though. When he meets lepers,
he is unfamiliar with them and repulsed. He tries to talk, but finds
it uncomfortable. He heals some of them, but is too grossed out
to touch them. The people who adopted him are wealthy and don't
understand why he would want to go anywhere near all these outcasts
and indigents and they certainly don't want them in their house.
When he meets Mary Magdelene his first reaction is to want to jeer
or spit on her, but he controls himself and manages to say some
kind words. He does not linger.
Fortunately, he has lots of money for his campaign and garners
a lot of support for God's word. He preaches kindness and forgiveness.
He tells people that he is the Son of God. Some people laugh, but
others are angered by his arrogance. The couple tell him they will
disown him if he doesn't stop it is damaging the their insurance
business. They wanted a baby so badly and they try to love him but
he is obviously mentally deranged it must be genetic.
Eventually, he is arrested and sentenced to be crucified. As the
nails are pounded into his wrists, he forgives his sentencers and
he also forgives his mother, whom he has been so, so angry with.
He doesn't understand the anger. He just can't help it. He knows
she must have loved him, but it seems impossible and he doesn't
feel loved. At one point he wrote to a friend and called his mother
"the egg donor" and signed his name "Sam Bastard"
in an effort to explain his feelings. He has never told his adopters
how he felt. He didn't want to hurt their feelings.
Mary does not know who her son is, but when she sees him on the
cross in agony, she sees herself in him. She arrives shortly before
he heaves his last breath and when he does, she can no longer breathe,
either. They are both put into tombs.
On the third day, Samuel rises up. Amazingly, Mary rises up out
of her tomb as well and even rolls back the stone in front of it.
She is used to managing things and keeping going, even when it seems
As they are standing there before an amazed crowd, God takes Samuel
up into heaven, saying "This is my Son in Whom I am well pleased."
Mary begs to be taken as well. God looks at her and says "My
Son has sacrificed himself for the good of mankind. What did you
do?" She answers, "I have sacrificed myself for your Son."
He becomes angry and says, "What do you mean? I entrusted
my Son to you and chose you specifically to be his mother and you
gave him away. I wasn't even sure he would be able to carry out
his mission. He was barely able to relate to the poor and he bought
those ridiculously expensive jeans in an attempt to fit in with
the farmers, a move that totally backfired. It's a wonder his message
got through to anyone. If He had not succeeded in raising up Lazarus
from the dead, I'm afraid it would have been all over for him."
Mary was distraught. "I gave him away because I loved him",
she said. "I was trying to do the right thing and I suffered
so much as a result. No one provided help and they said it was the
right thing to do."
God just kept saying, "I chose you, Mary. I chose you. You
would have been the perfect mother to raise my Son."
Mary was heartbroken. She tried to focus on enjoying her remaining
children and Joseph's silly jokes. She also advised the adoption
agency and her family about things had been for her how unnecessary
it all seemed now in retrospect and how much pain it had caused.
She wanted them to know so they could help others better in the
For a time, her family and the people at the agency said to her
"You were the one who signed the papers. It was your choice.
Get over it." Eventually, they took credit for their role in
it. The social services became honest with people about the extreme
damage done by separating families. They stopped encouraging people
to "shame" (terrorize) single mothers-to-be. They stopped
taking healthy babies from naive families at birth and providing
them to infertile people, pretending it was the infertile who were
"blessed by God". They found other ways to help people
that left them feeling good about themselves and their families.
If you found this story of how Christmas might have been different
if adoption agencies had been around at the time of Jesus's birth
interesting, then we recommend the following section of this website:
Adoptees and "Birthmothers" Views