Four years ago today was without a doubt the most miraculous and memorable day of my 29 year history. From beneath their not so secret hide-out of my colossal bump, two hitherto indecipherable blobs on an ultrasound decided to make their grand entrance, taking me wholly by surprise at such an ungodly hour by their unbelievable realness, their marvelous tangibilty. The moment I had longed for and repeatedly tried and failed to summon in my imagination was finally realised: the two most beautiful babies I had ever set eyes on were carefully placed in my trembling arms for the very first time.
‘Do they have 10 fingers and 10 toes?’ was my first irrational question in my half dazed state in the aftermath of the C-section.
‘They have everything exactly as it should be. They are perfect,’ answered the smiling midwife as she adjusted me and my two breathing bundles of soft warm skin more comfortably in the hospital bed.
As I gazed incredulously into their angelic sleeping faces and admired them from head to toe, I was convinced. Perfection to a tee. They were achingly adorable, a double delight. Two little boys that took my breath away from the very first. I knew at that moment I would walk to the ends of the earth for them. The most beautiful, healthy, precious babies any mother could wish for.
I noticed my name on their tiny little wristbands and gushed with pride. I felt so blessed. At that moment the world seemed to assume perfection too. For the first time, everything felt awe-inspiringly whole and complete. I offered up my thanks and deepest appreciation to the Giver of Life for granting me the opportunity to experience such a faith affirming miracle. Until I experienced it for myself, I could never have understood how the process of delivering life makes you feel so alive. Their unique baby smell was intoxicating. My total exhaustion and aching limbs were immediately forgotten as 5 tiny fragile fingers curled themselves around one gigantic one of mine. I thought I would implode with love and joy.
On that day I made a solemn promise to those little lives lying so helplessly and dependently in my arms that I would always strive to be the best mother I possibly could. I didn’t dare vow anything as unrealistic as perfection. I knew it was only human to make mistakes and they would have to forgive me those but we would grow and learn together. We would take cues from and guide one another along the bumps, curves and hurdles of life’s uneven and unpredictable path.
One thing was certain: from that moment on we were intrinsically bound together. Whatever uncertainties lay ahead, our bond would remain steadfast and unbreakable forevermore. As long as we had each other, we would be able to confront any of the challenges life was bound to throw at us. I also knew then that my life was changed forever. Two tiny little people would take priority over all else. Their needs would always come first. My new role demanded responsibilities like never before; no mean feat but a worthy challenge and one I was more than willing and ready to accept.
What I never in my wildest dreams/nightmares could have envisaged was what was to happen 2 years 2 months later. A total stranger, without ever having seen my beautiful babies or had any inkling of the thousands of profoundly special and unforgettable moments we had shared, was to decide it was in the children’s best interests to tear us apart. Just like that. Without any regard for the horrific consequences, the emotional and psychological havoc it would wreak. The damage and suffering it would cause and the massive reverberations that decision would continue to have years later.
22 months later that damage is glaringly apparent. Samuel and Benjamin have been kept down in the Chabad kindergarten. They still wear nappies, do not speak and have barely progressed since the severely traumatising day they were violently snatched. Today, those once perfect, unblemished babies Sammy and Benji are 4 year old boys in 4 year old bodies with the developmental stage of children far far younger.
Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to be with them today, I marked their birthday early on my Tuesday visit. Although they couldn’t comprehend the significance of the extra cuddles and giggles, we added yet more treasured memories to our invaluable collection.
As they were led away from me at 5pm blowing goodbye kisses and clutching their balloons, another piece of my heart broke off and I offered up another silent fervent prayer. Not for riches. Not for anything nearly as ambitious as happiness or success. There’s only one thing that matters for me right now. He knows it and I know He’s listening to all of our prayers. On their birthday and every day until this nightmare ends, please just keep my babies safe until they are home.
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