This is a lengthy read, and something I actually wrote about six months ago. I have so many things I want share about adoption, about open adoption, about the whole system. But this post, this post is simply a love letter to some very important women in my life.
Adoption has been in my heart since I was a fifteen year old kid, babysitting my summers away for a nice family in my tiny home town. This family had three children, one of whom was adopted. I’ll never forget the moment I knew adoption was for me. I was sitting in their room, helping the kiddos clean up their mess. The oldest pulled out an old VHS and asked me if I wanted to see his little sister become part of their family. I sat on the floor, with that adorable little girl in my lap, sobbing my eyes out. The video portrayed the oldest brother carrying this small pink bundle over to his parents. I’d never been moved by anything more in my life.
Fast forward...lots of years. My husband and I had a beautiful little girl and the desire to grow our family through adoption.
I’ve said this a hundred times to so many people; adoption isn’t easy but it’s worth it. Our journey to and through adoption was full of starts and stops, paper work and decisions to make. But that’s not what this story is about. No. This story is about our end result and how our family grew by six, not one.
I met our daughter's first mom on Facebook on an open adoption page. She reached out to me weeks before our baby was born. We chatted a bit. I tried real hard not to get my hopes up, not to spaz out and act like a crazy stalker. As the baby’s due date grew near, I stopped hearing from the expectant mother. I gave her some space, I let her know that we were here if she needed us. But ultimately, I put the whole thing to the back of my mind because I assumed she found another family.
I was right. She did pick another family. But that family? They backed out while she was in labor. And that first mother? She called me, crying, the night she came home from the hospital with a baby she never thought she’d be caring for. Never thought she’d be nursing and changing and burping and snuggling. She asked us if we still wanted to meet her and her baby girl, and we drove to see them the next day. We had an instant connection and that baby was in our arms and home five days later.
We have an open adoption; first mom, mom, dad, four sisters and one brand new baby brother. All our girls play together, they laugh, they love and they call each other family. We have pictures up all over the house of the three of them snuggling their tiny baby sister. We text and FaceTime, we have play dates and sleep overs. And what we’ve learned, what this post is really about, is that when you open your heart all the way you’ll be amazed at the love that pours in.
Our daughter’s first mommy and I have talked at length about open adoption, about advocating for it. We’re both so passionate about the joy we’ve found together. Adoption doesn’t have to mean goodbye. I’m not naïve and I know that not every situation is like ours. But I also know that people have the capacity to exude compassion, empathy, and to compromise. We keep our children the number one priority and that’s what makes our dynamic work. Our first mother has given us the greatest most precious gift. The first thing she did was love my child, our child. She chose our baby, over herself. I value her, I’m grateful to her. And I consider myself lucky that both my daughters will grow up being loved by such a strong brave woman.
Really, I suppose, this post is for me to say thank you. Thank you to the first mom who shared her children with me, trusted me with them and their story. And thank you to the last mom who shared her baby with me, completed my family so entirely. You’ve both led me to where I am today, snuggled in bed with both my girls tucked in close to my heart.
P.S. - I know its been forever since I blogged :) But I will make a point to write another few posts about adoption and what I've learned over the last year. If anyone is thinking of adoption, please reach out. It's not an easy process and I am always here to help.