There’s so much I could say about adoption. It’s how my kids became my family. It’s how I met some of my closest friends. Adoption isn’t always something everyone understands so when you have friends who walked a similar road, it bonds you. It wasn’t second best. For our family, it was always our first choice. But despite how much I can say about adoption, there’s even more that I can’t say because it’s just that complicated. All the feels and so many emotions on all sides of the triangle. There’s so much beauty woven between the layers of brokenness and pain.
For adoptive parents, the wait can be pretty tough. You want a baby. You have no idea when or if that will ever happen for you. You might learn about a maybe baby and get your hopes up. Then you might experience heart break when mom decides she can do this and brings her baby home. It’s a good thing for them, but totally normal to feel sad for yourself. I know what it’s like to close the nursery door and never want to go back in because the feelings of what could have been are just too strong. I know the pain of looking at an empty crib and the longing for a baby to fill it. While this feels so hard, trust me, it’s not the hardest part about adoption.
Adoption starts with loss. With loss comes pain. I knew this. I thought I was prepared. Yet nothing can prepare you for watching a mom say good-bye to her baby. Her very own flesh and blood. Those are images burned into my memory forever. The screams. The tears. Until eventually it all stopped and she went numb. Changed forever.
Walking out of the hospital with a baby you didn’t give birth to is such a surreal feeling. I was ecstatic and already in love. My dreams were coming true, yet I couldn’t simply enjoy the moment because I felt a little bit like a baby snatcher. Like an imposter. This isn’t my baby. What makes me so deserving to be the one walking out the hospital and bring the little one home? Why does my house get to become home and her house will remain empty?
Those first few nights are tough. The baby is crying hard. Is it because they miss their mom? The one who carried them for 9 months, the one who loved them first?
Eventually we go to court and the adoption becomes finalized. I feel a little bit lighter. I didn’t know I was holding my breath for 6+ months. But I must’ve been subconsciously. It is a huge relief to know that legally they are ours.
We are lucky and have open adoptions with 2 of our kids’ first families. It’s so fun to watch my son hang out with his birth dad. They share so many of the same facial expressions. The bond is real and it’s a beautiful thing. They also dote on my girls and love them as their own too. There can never be too much love, yet we know that love isn’t enough. If it were true that all you needed was love, then my kids wouldn’t be mine and they wouldn’t be brother and sisters. They would be with their first families. And I would be the one missing them something fierce.
One of our kids comes from a closed adoption. Sure, on the surface level it might seem easier instead of trying to balance more relationships. But I worry how that will make her feel as she gets older. Not to mention, not having any medical history can be a bit of a challenge.
We had no idea what our family would look like when all was said and done- or if we would even have a family outside of being a married couple. Now that our family is complete, I can’t imagine it any other way. In some ways it feels like they were each hand picked for me and for my husband. Almost like it was meant to be. Except it wasn’t… because each of our kids were born to other mothers. I can’t wrap my mind around that, so instead I’ll wrap my arms around our children and be thankful for this beautiful mess that brought us all together.