“A moment in my arms, forever in my heart.”

This quote is written in messy, tear-stained handwriting in my scrapbook, next to photos of me holding my birth daughter for the last few moments that she was simply my daughter. When I try to explain how my life has changed from that point onward, I am at a complete loss. Some experiences are so incredible, even transcendent, that words become burdensome. This is my attempt to use words to explain how two little pink lines on a pregnancy test taught me who I am, and who I am striving to be.

Those lines taught me that I was not the center of the universe. That does not take away from my importance, but makes me part of a vast cosmos of humanity, interacting to create something bigger than me. I was the only one who could bring this beautiful child into the world 12037733_10206136034174776_606419795_oat this time and this place, and that is nothing short of a miracle. I carried in my body another life, and that is an experience too special for words. But because of my circumstances, I could not give that tiny human a life that I would wish for her. But I found someone who could. And they give not only her, but me, the comfort of knowing that she would have all the things I dreamed of for her.

I know that because they share her life, her accomplishments, and the silly things she does with me. She is a shining star in our lives. We came together to give her the world she deserves. The love baby R’s parents have for me encompasses me and lifts me during my darkest hours when the pain of loss becomes almost too heavy to bear. They make sure that I know I haven’t lost a daughter, I have gained a family. I feel such a strong connection to them, and even the birth parents of their other child, that it feels like the stars aligned and here we are, a constellation that would not be complete without any one of us.

My open adoption has taught me that there is a purpose for everything, even if it is deeply painful in the moment. I was hurt, and angry, and felt that the world was conspiring against me. And maybe it was. But my misfortune and my grief made me strong enough to overcome even the worst of times. This level of sorrow and triumph have added new dimensions to my world. I may never be simply carefree again. But I will know the richness of a life that knows true love, and the joy of knowing I have changed the world for the better.