Adoption is a scary and unsure thing. It is something that not everyone can relate to. For me, it was a time in my life, where, if I asked someone for some reassurance, I could tell that they couldn't give me any that was genuine...because they had never been there...they actually didn't KNOW if everything was going to be OK. I treasure the time, now...because, it taught me my first and greatest lesson in trusting God. I had to learn that one for real! However, at the time, it was terrifying, and there were few I could turn to. There was one person, however, who knew exactly how I felt... and she came to be a mentor and God-given comfort for me. Her son and daughter-in-law are 2 of our most treasured friends in this life...more like family, really. A while back, I asked her to share her feelings and thoughts on our particular journey to motherhood, to be published on this blog. Her name is Kay...and at long last...these are her thoughts:
When Aleisha asked me to share something on adoption and gave me complete freedom, I really couldn’t decide where to start. As the adoptive mother of two, who are both now adults, I have had plenty of thoughts on adoption over the years.
First of all, to me adoption is a miracle of the most special kind. No, there is no physical labor. But is there labor?-- yes there is. When you are having a baby the natural way, you have a pretty good idea you’ll be a mother in approximately nine months. When you are having a baby by adoption, you may know nine months ahead of time, or you may wait for several years. Then when you finally get “the call”, you are in what I call emotional labor, which believe me can be pretty intense, and just a step away from insanity at times.
And the moment each of my children were placed in my arms, I can honestly say they were mine. Bonding doesn’t happen instantly with everyone, there are no rules about it.
I just know when I have been asked by well-meaning friends and sometimes by well-meaning strangers, “ Are you going to let them meet their real mother?” I want to remind them of the children’s story about the Velveteen Rabbit and what it means to be real. For the rabbit, it meant that his fur got rubbed off and he looked pretty ratty looking. His eyes might have been rubbed off (I don’t remember all the story), and he got awfully tattered. It’s kind of the same way with an adoptive mother. I got made real by getting thrown up on, spit up on, staying up 24 hours at a time to be the comforter to my sick child, etc. etc. –you get the idea. So I always tell whoever asks me, “ I am the real mother.” Being an adoptive mom is not being some kind of very special baby sitter, until the real mother comes back. Being an adoptive mother is being GIVEN the privilege of being a real mom. So what does that leave for the birth mother? For me, it meant an incredible sense of gratefulness and thankfulness to each of two young ladies who made what had to be an almost unbearably painful, yet exquisitely loving decision to give the gift of motherhood to someone like me. The story in the Bible ( King Solomon) of how the real mother was willing to give up her child so he could live tells it so much better than I can. I have had the opportunity to meet my son’s birth mother and to do what I longed to do for years--- say “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Those words seem so inadequate, but they were all I had. And as we hugged and cried, she honored me by saying those same words back to me—“Thank you for being my son’s mother.” I hope one day to get to meet my daughter’s birth mother and tell her thank you too. I always think of her on my daughter’s birthday and know she is wondering how the tiny little girl she gave birth to twenty-eight years ago is doing. And I long to tell her, “ She is doing great, she is an incredible person, and I am so, so blessed to be her mother. Thank you.” Maybe one day, I will get that chance.
The other question that well-meaning friends and sometimes well-meaning strangers would ask me was the most puzzling of all. When my children were small they would say( in whispered tones), “ Are you going to TELL them they are ADOPTED?” My answer always was, “ I never thought there was anything so terrible or dark about the truth. Yes, they will be told.” And they were. When they were each about two years old, I made each of them a little story book about how much Mommy and Daddy wanted a baby, how we prayed, and how God chose the very baby we were supposed to have through adoption.” Is that just a children’s story? Not to me, it’s not, it is God’s truth. Each one of my children was chosen for me as surely as if they had grown inside me.
Hope that my random thoughts have encouraged or blessed someone today.
Thank you, Kay...for everything...this beautiful post, your amazing heart...for raising an amazing man, so that he would marry an amazing woman; for being an ear and a comfort during our adoption; for making us one of those sweet books, so that we would also be able to share our experience with our son...and for being a vessel of God's love...what a wonderful legacy.