There are 1,467 miles between our house and the hospital where Ian Christopher was born. It took 26 hours to drive the whole way—from one end of the Eastern seaboard to the other.

Once every 6 or 8 hours, we would debate whether or not to stop and sleep. Then we would think of a tiny baby boy we didn’t know who slept and woke in a little glass crib, whose physical needs were met but who needed someone to hold him close and stay forever.

So we kept on driving through two nights, passing places and people that are dear to us: Meriden, CT; Washington, DC; Leesburg, VA.  As we passed Charleston, the city that we love, and the sea islands flew by to the east, the southeast afternoon rain started to pour down at 4:00 PM. It was still raining as we passed from Georgia into Florida.

Crossing the little bridges of the southeast that lay over rivers swift-swollen with daily rain, we started to talk about water. About St. John the Baptist and the River Jordan. About St. Christopher, the latter-day legend who carried travellers across a deep river. About my brothers, John Patrick and Thomas Christopher, and my father, John Charles. We put all these things together and considered the puzzle of our baby’s name.

Ian Christopher.

Ian—Gaelic for John. God is gracious.

Christopher, the name his mother, N., gave him when he was born. Christ-bearer.


At 2 AM, June 27th, 2010, we drove into the city where he was born.

3 Responses to “Adoption Pilgrimage, Part I”

  1. Emily villa Says:

    Maureen, please keep the stories coming! I feel like you are right next-door again! It is a great relief to hear you reflect on your journey to Ian with all of your characteristic candor, humility and sensitivity… I am sorry to admit that I never felt I could ask how you were doing in your long wait for a baby. I hope that my reluctance to ask never hurt you. You and Nick have been in our prayers all these years- and your patient witness has helped me to be more grateful for my vocation as mother… Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  2. Andy Says:

    Somehow I had forgotten that you had driven all the way down. Talk about a quest! A labor of distance.

  3. Claire Says:

    I like it, Andy: it was a long labor, a labor of distance and of time.

    For some reason the story of the road trip just captures it all for me. The mythos of any road trip – hitting the long road to find something new, find yourself, find opportunity and camaraderie, to open the windows and let the driving songs blare. Finding you are yourself wherever you go, but that you can be utterly changed.

    And to think at the end of this particular road trip, you found home in a stranger so well known.

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