Two years ago on Mother’s Day, another mom consumed my thoughts. We share a daughter and yet neither of us held our baby girl on that day. I wrote a letter. Prayed. Released a balloon.
I did it again last year with my daughter in my arms.
This year I held my daughter and she released the balloon.
I don’t write about adoption too often anymore. I’m simply a mom with five kids. There are times people want to introduce me as having four kids and one adopted daughter. I try to gently correct them – I have five kids. My daughter joined my family through adoption, but she is not my adopted daughter. She is my daughter. My story feels very simple. But, my daughter’s story is a lot more complex. I won’t share details of her story – they are her details to share or not share one day. I do think about her story often. And on Mother’s Day, especially, I think about the mom that felt her first kicks and heard her first cries.
Not all adoptive parents want to talk about the families their children were born into or even really think about them. I get that. It can be scary and uncomfortable. Chris and I were in the process of pursuing an open domestic adoption before our plans changed to China. I have close friends who have done open adoptions – watching the dynamics of how that all plays out has been life-changing for me. I’ve met several brave moms and heard their stories of incredible love and sacrifice when they placed their children up for adoption. It is a topic that no longer feels scary or uncomfortable. While I value the opinions and insight of other adoptive parents, I find myself searching out the counsel of adult adoptees. I was not adopted. That is not a part of my story. I can’t begin to put myself in my daughter’s place. I will never understand what it feels like to be adopted. But, I can ask friends who have walked that road. I can seek out their wisdom and as I do, I learn that no two people have the same experience or feelings towards adoption. Each story and emotion is unique as the person that holds it.
So I keep listening and filing away their insights and experiences.
The majority of my friends that were adopted have encouraged me to let my daughter know I am comfortable talking about her birth family. They’ve encouraged me to open that door and then let her decide if it is one she wants to walk through. I have no idea how she will feel about her adoption. About her birth family. About parts of her past. I can’t predict what her questions will be. I can’t guess what may or may not be a struggle. I can only let her know I am a safe place to land. I can let her know if she wants to talk about her birth mom, I will sit next to her and listen. If she wants to cry, I’ll cry with her. If she just wants to go paint something instead, well I can sure do that too. Whatever journey she wants to go on regarding her birth family, I will go on that journey with her – if she invites me along.
She is my daughter. She is completely and totally my baby girl.
Every Mother’s Day we honor the life that gave her life. There might come a Mother’s Day that she doesn’t want to release a balloon – and that will be her decision. For now, I want her to know I am so grateful for her first mom. I want her to know I’ll lovingly walk beside her as she grows in understanding of her story…whether it is something she wants to talk all the time about or something she never wants to bring up. It is her story – she gets to choose what she does with it.
My story is simple – I’m a mom of five. And I am so grateful.