Welcome to 30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days, hosted by Portrait of an Adoption. This series will feature guest posts by people with widely varying adoption experiences.
I used to care that my kids were adopted instead of biological. I mean, I thought about it a lot. We were at the hospital when each of our three children was born, and we met the birth families of all three.
After our first daughter was born, I could see her birthmother every time I looked at her face. It was almost painful. Why didn’t she look like me? I wish she looked like me! I wanted her to look like me.
At first, our open adoption was uncomfortable. Our daughter’s birth mom was in high school; she was so very young and very overwhelmed by the enormous life decision she had made.
Her pain was so raw and palpable that it hurt my husband and me deeply to witness her agony. At the time, it was so intense that I wished I didn’t know her pain — how selfish of me. I just wanted to feel like I had a daughter.
Just thinking about it now, I can bring myself to tears recalling my daughter’s birthmother and her enormous loss. When our daughter was about a year old, there were no boundaries in our relationship. We decided that it might be better to meet with professionals who could help us establish healthy relationship parameters. Our daughter’s birth family understood and also agreed.
Years went on, and with the tincture of time, some amazing miracles have taken place. We have come 180 degrees and our relationship with our daughter’s birth family is now open, honest, caring, understanding, and deep.
I think we respect and appreciate each other more than ever. Our daughter’s birth mom is in a committed relationship now and has two young children. She and I have a bond that is inexplicable. She gave us the most precious gift, made the hardest decision, and changed all of our lives forever.
Our daughter is eleven now. We get together now about one or two times a year, and it is always so much fun! I know my daughter enjoys seeing her birth family, and I honestly believe it is best for all of us.
Eighteen months after our daughter was born, our first son was born. He also has a very strong family resemblance to his birth family. But eighteen months into my parenting journey, I didn’t think as much about the physical resemblance between parent and child. I looked at my son and felt such love. His birthmother was in her twenties, and she was very confident in her decision to place her baby for adoption. From the first time we met, I felt like she was a friend. She was smart, funny, and sweet, but also determined.
She was more private with her emotions than my daughter’s birthmother had been. From the start, she seemed at peace with her decision to place her baby for adoption. Her family is large and when we get together — about two times a year now, but more at first — it’s always very nice.
Finally, being the crazies that we are, we decided to adopt one last time. Four years after our first adoption, our third child was born, and what great joy it was! Our second son’s birth mom was in her thirties and was not in a good place in life to parent. She knew she was pregnant with plenty of time to choose to terminate the child but did not. She took a lot of time to choose the right parents for her son.
Honestly, she showed so much love toward her son while she was pregnant that I wasn’t sure she would be able to place him with us after he was born. But she was dedicated to his future, and her love and determination for her child was bigger than anything else. She saw us two times right after he was born, but we haven’t seen her now in several years.
We have reached out to offer her the chance to get together with us, and each time, she says she will ”think about it and let us know.” This can be hard for our youngest son, because his older siblings get to see their birth mothers. Our son asks when we will see her again. I hope she will see us soon.
Each time we adopted, it got easier. Each time it was easier to fall in love. Each time was different. I don’t know if it was that I was used to the idea of adoption, more settled in my own infertility acceptance, further from my enormous grief of unexpectedly losing my only brother, or what! But looking back, I would tell my old self:
“Don’t you care that your children are adopted. You will love them with a love felt like no other. You will feel the strongest emotions you’ve ever felt. You will literally feel like you are able to pick up and throw a car on the lady who almost ran your children over in the Costco parking lot. You will want to step in and undergo the five-hour surgery for your child. You snuggle them all night and wish to freeze time. You will be devastated for them when you find out that they are humans and have difficulties or disabilities too. You will watch them bounce off to school and want to run in with them. You will burst with pride when you see them doing something uncharacteristically wonderful. The love you feel cannot be matched. These children are gifts. Their birth mothers are super human. Your children may not look like you but that is the littlest detail on the planet.”
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