(This post was originally published November 2013)
National Adoption Day was Saturday! I totally thought it was today. Oops! Nevertheless, I have seen this day approaching on my calendar for a weeks now. I knew that I wanted to post something in honor of it, but as I sit here there are a vast amount of paths that I could take. I want to explain its significance to me.
My parents wanted children, but it wasn’t in the cards for them. The usual course to begin a family just wasn’t working out. After a few years, they knew that adoption was how beginning their family would happen. They went through the adoption process–complete the paperwork, do a home study, and play the waiting game.
My particular birth mother was in such a circumstance where she determined that she would provide me the best opportunity for happiness possible through adoption. At this point, it all becomes something out of a kids’ book. The birth mother opened the book with all of the potential moms and dads; she saw a picture of my parents, complete with descriptions, letters, and recommendations. My birth mother chose my mom and dad for me. She didn’t leave me out in the cold. She didn’t abandon me. She didn’t not love me. Instead, she loved me enough to find me parents that would give me the world–a world she could not give me at that point in her life.
Although I have never met her, I love my birth mother. I am grateful for the most selfless decision I can think of a human making on this Earth. Also, I love my parents for not giving up when they could not have biological children. I am grateful that they realized that genetics don’t make a family–love does. I have always known that I am meant to be with my mom and dad. I just had to get to them in a different way.
Sure, most adopted children and adoptive parents will say that–“had to get them in a different way.” This suggests that there is fate in this world or at least a higher power and plan. I can tell you with my whole heart that when you feel the kind of love that I feel in my family–with my sisters and parents–you realize that there is a force that brings certain people together. I know that I am in the family that was intended for me.
I am not sure if I have mentioned that I am LDS before. This is probably not surprising, especially if you see the clothes I wear, or if you notice how young I was when I got married. LDS people believe in temple sealings. Sealings basically bind what is on Earth in heaven, so that we may stay with our families for eternity. I am sealed to my sisters and parents. In heaven and in God’s eyes, it does not matter that we do not share genetics–we are a family forever. One year after my adoption, my parents discovered that my mom was pregnant–something that was not biologically “possible.” She went on to have my sisters, Cerissa and Jenelle. Honestly, my sisters are miracles. They are sealed into our family, too. Because of this belief, the burden of being an adopted child has been eased.
There are hard times. The hardest is hearing how my sisters and I look different from one another, as they are biological children of my parents, or when I hear how much they look like our relatives (something that people can’t really say about myself). Nevertheless, these things are minor, and the burden seemed lifted once again when I saw the adoption process in my husband’s family.
My beautiful sister-in-law and her awesome husband couldn’t have biological children of their own. They went through grueling fertility treatments. A year after meeting my husband, their hurt became very evident to me. I saw the pain on my sister-in-law’s face as she cried in her mom’s kitchen. My heart broke for her. It was a kind of sadness I had never seen. It was a sadness I knew that my own mother experienced a couple decades earlier.
Time passed, and I married into the greatest possible family. My husband’s sister and brother-in-law, Chris & Chelsea, still were without children. They, too, like my parents, knew that adoption was the route that they needed to take. In August 2011, when were home visiting, Chris and Chelsea received the news that a little girl would join their family in three short months. I have never seen such excitement. It felt like Christmas times one hundred. I’m not kidding.
Chris & Chelsea flew to Oklahoma, picked up my niece (it took a few weeks) and brought her home. I heard the story of how they met with Charlotte’s birth mother and the emotions in the room, as my perfect baby niece was handed to Chelsea. Birth mothers are a brave and strong breed.
I met Charlotte when she was a month and a half old on my 21st birthday. I held her throughout dinner. She felt like she belonged. She was apart of the family. I felt healed and relieved in a place that I didn’t know that I needed it. Her adoption was finalized after six months, and she was sealed to her mom and dad in the San Diego LDS Temple. To this day, it ranks up there with one of the happiest days in my life. Again, that feeling of healing came over me. I know, as a result of watching the adoption process for my niece, that I was loved. I was loved by my birth mother. I was loved by my parents. Birth mothers and adoptive parents would go through hell to exhibit the love that they have for the child at hand.
I think that in some circles, birth mothers get a bad rap. You hear about how amazing adoptive parents are–and they are! However, I want the world to know that birth mothers are equally amazing. Many birth mothers, if not most, do what they do, because they love their children so much that they are willing to go through true sorrow to provide the best circumstances for happiness. As I have experienced pregnancy, I have felt my baby kick and hiccup. I have felt the sickest in my life and like I was working for a cause at the same time. I would give anything to make sure my baby is happy and healthy. To feel this innate bond with my baby and maintain the bravery to give him up would cause excruciating sadness; this is how I know birth mothers are brave.
I am grateful beyond expressible words for my niece’s birth mother and especially for my own on this day. My life is blessed because of adoption. Adoption has helped me be successful. Adoption has helped me feel wanted. Adoption has taught me love. Now, go hug someone. 🙂 If you know of someone who is interested in adoption check out It’s About Love. Happy National Adoption Day!