The “old fashioned way” wasn’t working and after four years of testing, trying and surgeries to find out what wasn’t working, we had an epiphany at an adoption seminar we attended. The woman who was speaking said her goal “was to be a parent, not to have a baby.”
Those simple words seemed to make time stand still for me. That was my goal, too!! I had put so much pressure on myself to have a biological child, and I felt like such a failure when it just wasn’t happening. It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
When we brought our seven month old home from Guatemala, we thought he was the most gorgeous, perfect thing we had ever seen! He fit right into our family so perfectly it was as if he had always been with us. I quit my job teaching and stayed home to be with him full time, and as he got a bit older, we joined a few play groups. That was when some of the reality of adoption set in.
I remember a mom asking me what he’s mixed with (as if he’s a cocktail) as she looked back and forth from him to me.
Another person asked me if I ever met his “real” mom. That one always takes me back a minute. I know no one is meaning that I am not his real mom, they want to know if I have ever met his birth mom. That’s always the time I introduce the word birth mom with emphasis on BIRTH. Whenever I would tell someone we adopted him, a floodgate would open with so many questions and comments from anyone and everyone like we were in an interview! I just wanted to have fun and enjoy my baby at play group.
We always said we would tell him about his adoption right from the beginning, and we did. He has a picture of his birth mother and his foster mother on his dresser in his room. We have told him their names since we brought him home. We wanted to lay the groundwork for an open communication, and we want him to know that adoption is a wonderful thing.
When I got pregnant with my SURPRISE! biological child, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and sadness. I was so happy to be blessed enough to experience pregnancy. I was also overwhelmed with gratitude for our son’s birth mom, who went through nine months of pregnancy for him.
When I had my daughter, I was so happy to see her tiny body and everything so new, and at the same time I was sad because I couldn’t imagine ever being able to carry a baby for nine months and give him/her to another family in order to have a chance at a better life. I don’t think I could ever be that unselfish.
I was so happy to watch my daughter as a new born and watch her accomplish all of her milestones, but at the same time, I knew I had never seen my son’s first smile or his first roll over. When she turned seven months, I was happy but sad because I couldn’t help but think that at seven months, his foster mother gave him to us after caring for him since he was born. It was another unselfish act I just could not comprehend.
Parenting an adopted child and a SURPRISE! biological child are similar in many ways but the truth is my husband, my daughter, and myself will never truly understand what it feels like to walk into a room at family gatherings and not see some resemblance of ourselves in our family members. We will never understand how it feels to possibly never know the woman who gave birth to us. We will never understand what it feels like to have questions about our birth families which may never be answered.
We most definitely will never understand how it feels to be an adopted child in a family with a biological child.
But, we know we will always be there for our son and our daughter during those times of questions. We love both our children with the fierceness that could rival a mother lioness protecting her cubs. We will always keep the communication open with both our children, and if there are questions from either one of them, we will do our best to find the answers.
My husband and I hope and pray that through open communication and both of them knowing they are loved unconditionally, no matter how they came in to our family, they know they both are the pieces which, together, complete the jigsaw puzzle of our family.
Have any other World Moms Blog moms been affected by the happiness and sadness of adoption? What have your experiences been?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Meredith. You can read more about Meredith and her family on her personal blog We Found Happiness.
Photo credited to the author.