I will never forget the first time I met my beautiful birth son. The doctor placed this brand new baby in my arms and I remember an overwhelming flood of immediate and incomprehensible love. Before that moment I had never experienced a love that deep or sincere. Words simply cannot describe the love I felt for this tiny person I had waited months to meet. I wanted to hold him forever and soak in his sweet spirit. I thought he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and I sat in wonderment and humility that I participated in his creation.

As my time with him grew short, I wondered how I was ever going to be able to say good-bye to this baby I loved more than life itself. I remember placing him in his bassinet by my hospital bed, only to pick him up moments later because I already missed him so much. My heart hurt when I realized how much I was going to miss him when he belonged to his new family. The reality that there was going to be moment in the near future when he wouldn’t be with me anymore pricked my heart. I had made the decision to place him with his eternal family, and I knew it was right, but I dreaded the moment when I’d have to let go.

I think that incredible love I felt the moment I met him was necessary for me in order to aid me in the decisions and difficult circumstances I would face in the next couple of days. If I didn’t feel that overwhelming, unselfish love, I would not have had the courage to make the decisions I needed to for that sweet boy’s future. I needed to love him more than I loved myself so that I could do what was best for him–even though I knew it would break my heart.

He was three weeks old when I visited him and his family for the first time after placement. He was still that same sweet baby I fell in love with at the hospital, but already my love for him had evolved. Slowly, my maternal love for him was fading while, at the same time, a different love was starting to grow. I was not that one who was protecting him or nurturing him or providing for him–his mother was doing that. In an amazing way, I started loving him as her sweet baby, instead of my own. I loved to visit and see him, but it wasn’t because I wanted to feel like his mommy for few hours. Rather, my love for him had grown into love for his family, too.

Now that he’s 2 years old, there has been more time for my love to change and evolve. I still love that little boy so much but in a very different way than when he was born.  I don’t look at him and wish he was still mine or regret the life I chose for him. In fact, I celebrate the happiness and success in his life with his family. Nothing brings peace to my heart more than watching his face light up as his dad walks in after work, or watching him run to his mom for a kiss on a boo-boo.

I will always be his No. 1 fan and think every little thing he does is amazing and wonderful, but it’s no longer from a maternal perspective like it once was. It’s hard to describe my relationship with him now, but I would say it’s closest to adoring him like a grandparent, spoiling him like an aunt, playing with him like a cousin, and loving him like a birth mom.