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Ever since we met our daughter, we have been taking pictures of her. She is so used to the camera in her face that she barely notices it anymore. Once in a while, she gets stubborn and doesn’t want to pose, but truthfully, I think she likes being the center of attention.

I, too, like being the center of attention, but I am unsure if my daughter gets it from me. While she has many of my personality traits and, in certain lights, even looks like me, she was adopted at birth.

RELATED: Adoption Means Two Moms Love a Baby

We have an open adoption, and although it can be tricky at times, we do not regret it. We wanted our child to grow up knowing her birth mother picked us to parent her and that she was wanted from the start. Wanted so much that plans were in place before she was even born!

In the beginning, I was so very grateful to her birth mom.

She gave us the greatest gift in the world. A gift that we will never stop loving and respecting and appreciating. Is there a more extraordinary gift to give someone? I’d argue that there is not.

However, that child is now almost 10 years old. She is sarcastic, cuddly, spunky, and challenging, and she wants to talk about her birth mom to anyone who will listen. We have visits twice a year, and the conversations about the birth mom come up a lot before and after her visits.

I thought it would get easier on me as time marched on.

The opposite has happened. I get so jealous and depressed right before these visits because no matter what I do and no matter what I am to the daughter that is most certainly mine, I will never be the woman who gave birth to her.

I will never have pictures of her growing in my belly. I will never see her laugh and think she looks just like one of her cousins when she laughs. I will never be the first person she saw when she came into this world.

Oh, but I am so many other things!

I am the one who kisses the boo-boos and volunteers for all her school events. I am the one who reads to her every night and brushes her hair every morning. (Many could say she is old enough to brush her own hair, but I digress.) I am the one she calls for if she has a nightmare, and I am the one who holds her hand every single time she tries to roller skate.

It’s not a competitionI remind myself over and over.

Our daughter needs us both: the woman who made her and the woman who is raising her.

I have never been good at sharing, which is more and more obvious with each birthday I have.

RELATED: I Placed Her For Adoption At Birth, Then Adopted My Daughter Nearly Two Decades Later

This is the only picture I have from our visit with her birth mother this past weekend. I usually have dozens of pictures from our weekends together, but this specific weekend day was not about me. It was about my daughter and her birth mother. And to be honest, it was beautiful to see them getting along and smiling and laughing together.

The foundation of our open adoption is that the visits and communication happen until the child is 18 and as long as the relationship is in the child’s best interest. There is no denying that the connection between our daughter and her birth mother is real and should be cherished. That means I must cultivate that, no matter how it makes me feel temporarily. After all, what would you do for the greatest gift in the world? Pretty much everything and anything–I guarantee it.

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So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Samantha Koellhoffer

Samantha Koellhoffer is a freelance writer living outside of Philadelphia, PA, with her loving husband and their wise-beyond-her-years daughter. She has a background in Communications and Marketing. She writes to make sense of the world we all live in!

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