Adoption is a big part of my life. We are an adoptive family with 3 kids who we adopted shortly after birth. Two of our kids are lucky enough to be part of open adoptions. We have a relationship with their first families. It’s been a good thing for my kids. We really view them as part of the family. Our youngest is part of a closed adoption. She’s still young so there hasn’t been much processing on what that means yet. But I’m sure questions will come as she gets older and we’ll do our best to help her work through all those emotions. Just like we’ll do for her brother and sister. No adoption story is the same and everyone processes it in a different way. And that’s okay.
Adoption is so many things. It’s complicated. It’s raw. It’s emotional. It’s bittersweet. It’s love. It’s loss. It’s sacrifice. It’s trauma. It’s heartbreaking. It can rip families apart and it can bring families together. It can be ugly. It can be beautiful. It’s hard. It’s messy. It’s a cluster of feelings. So many different feelings often felt at the same time. Joy, sorrow, happy, sad, anger, confusion, nervous, scared, hopeful.
For me, it’s one my greatest blessings. It’s what brought me my family. Adoption made me a mom. It made my dreams come true. I longed to be a mom and wasn’t able to accomplish that through the more traditional means. I look at my children and my heart melts. I have to pinch myself on a daily basis. I don’t understand how I got so lucky to be their mom. Truly. I’m in awe every day that I get to be their mom. But yet, I’m crushed. My heart is broken. Because I get to be mom someone else doesn’t. Their tragic loss was my incredible gain. I get to wipe tears, read stories and tuck them in at night. I get to be there for all the good stuff and the not so good stuff too. And somewhere else, there’s a mom who is always thinking about that sweet baby she felt like she had to say good-bye to.
I watched a young mom who I had to gotten to know and grew to love say good-bye to her newborn baby daughter. It was gut-wrenching. It made me ill. The tears, the screams and then eventually she just went numb. A shell of who she was. The image of her standing in the hallway at the hospital, empty, will be permanently etched in my mind. Those are things I will never forget. How can I? I went home that night with a baby I loved; but a baby who wasn’t mine. Yet. This baby was brand new to me. I was a stranger. But somehow my mothering instinct took over immediately and I cared for that baby and loved her like she was already mine. But my heart was breaking too. Somewhere her first mom was missing her like crazy. And this baby was missing her mom too. Her first mom was the only thing she knew for 9 months. Her voice, her smells, her love. And then that was it. The baby was whisked away and placed in a new family. My family.
In a perfect world, there would be no need for adoption. But we live in a broken world. My kids weren’t intended for me. I’m not the mom who helped create them. But yet, I get to be their mom. I will never take that for granted. Adoption isn’t easy for anyone. It starts with a major loss. A loss that is hard to overcome. But somewhere amidst the brokenness and heartache there can be beauty. When I look at my kids, I see so much beauty. Their stories start with loss and trauma but are also filled with lots of love. My prayer is that my kids always know how truly loved they are. By me, my husband, our families and their first families. The ones who loved them first. And too many others to count. My kids know a lot of love and there can never be too many people loving them.