I have always said that there are two things I will measure my success as a parent on. One, I want our son to know Jesus. And two, I want him to know he is loved by both his adoptive family and his birth family. But the question, “How am I going to do that?” is always in the back of my mind.
We have been fortunate enough to have a very open relationship with our son’s birth mom and her entire family. We, unfortunately, do not know anything about his birth dad, but we embrace what we have with his birth mom. We first met our son’s birth mom when she was 19 weeks pregnant, and from that moment on, she made her entire pregnancy feel like it was about us. At her 20-week ultrasound appointment, the ultrasound tech asked if she wanted to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl, and she responded with “Ask them, they are the parents.” She had always been 100% confident in her decision (well, at least in front of us she was!). When she was pregnant (she was already raising two children on her own), she asked if there was a way we could record our voices so she could play it for the baby so he would know our voices when he was born. She thought about her unborn child more than herself.
We proceeded to grow our relationship over the course of her pregnancy. We would email or text back and forth. Over time, she became one of my friends, not just my son’s birth mom. I cared about her; we cared about her. Our families met before our son was born. We spent the day together at the zoo. We laughed and conversed like we were old friends. At the hospital when our son was born, our families waited and talked in the waiting room for hours. There was no “awkward” silence between them, just sweet memories of the day he was born.
After we left the hospital, we continued to talk to our son’s birth mom. Three months after our son was born, we had him dedicated to the church. We invited our son’s birth family. And they came! We had four generations of our son’s birth family in our home afterwards. It was one of the most beautiful things I had seen in my life. There was so much love surrounding one little boy that you could feel it in the air.
We spent Christmases, birthday parties, parades, etc., together as a family—at least, what we refer to as family. It may not be your traditional “family,” and there is no manual for it. But nonetheless, it is beautiful. Last year we started a new tradition: camping. We spent an entire weekend together out in nature. And this year, I am excited to say my parents are also coming along. In addition to our new camping tradition, we also had a hotel stay this year with them, including aunts and uncles of our son’s birth family.
I can’t guarantee it will stay the way it is. I also can’t guarantee that our son actually understands the significance of our gatherings, but it is the best way we know how to show our adopted son he is loved. Of course, this is only a small portion of how we will show him he is loved, but I also think it is the most powerful way. I have no idea what it feels like to be adopted as I myself am not adopted. But to be able to have an open dialog and relationship with our son’s birth mom gives me hope that he will not question his place in life, but understand that he was simply meant to be ours from the very beginning. And what a better way to show him that he is loved than to surround him with people that love him!