We have had the amazing miracle of reuniting with Dakota’s birth mom. We never knew if or when Dakota, our oldest son, would be ready to reach out and find his birth mom. We were also very aware that she may be in a place in her life that reuniting with Dakota may not be what is best for her and her family.
Once again, in this amazing process, Dakota’s timing was not by chance. We had hoped that Dakota would someday want to meet up with Mandee, his birth mother.
Dakota has always known that he has our full and complete support if and when he decided to search for her. Dakota has also been very aware of our love, trust, and complete admiration for Mandee his whole life. Dakota has been taught that even though it had almost been 17 years since we had had any correspondence with her, that if he ever had any questions about his adoption, that Mandee would always be a safe place for him to fall.
I am eternally grateful that this is where Dakota turned when life got a little foggy as a young man of 17. I am equally grateful that Mandee was open and willing to accept his outstretched hand and handle his questions and his concerns with the same love and tenderness that she has always shown in every aspect of our wonderful journey. It is not by chance that Mandee is Dakotas birth mom.
When we first met I had a feeling that I had never felt before about anyone I had ever met. I knew her. Not just, “Oh she looks familiar.” No. I really knew her deep down in my soul. We quickly began to understand that things had been set into motion long before we were aware of them. My husband and I have said many times that we would have messed our lives up many times over if we had not learned pretty early in our lives that someone else was in charge. It took many, many, (did I mention that I was a little bit of a control freak?) many, very humbling moments for us to finally be able to let go of the wheel and let God’s perfect plan play out.
A few months ago, Dakota started asking us questions about his birth dad that we didn’t know the answers to. We felt very helpless because we could not help him with this information. I had always felt so blessed to have the information that we did about Mandee, I guess I never realized how important it would be for Dakota to also have answers and information from his birth dad.
Dakota was quickly turning into a young man. Although Dakota has always had an amazingly close and open relationship with his dad, once I thought about it, it was completely understandable and, as I look back, even predictable. Especially If I would have been thinking more from Dakota’s point of view than my own.
Dakota found Mandee through the internet and they started to email back and forth. Dakota let us know that he had found Mandee and that they had been sharing emails for about a week. I think that he was a little unsure about talking to us about this. He seemed very relieved when we were both so excited that he had reunited with Mandee. It made a lot of sense to both of us that she would be the perfect person for him to reach out to at this time in his life. We were also thrilled that this seemed to be a safe time in Mandee’s life to reconnect with Dakota also.
Once again thankfully someone else is in charge. Dakota shared some of their correspondence and again we were reassured of Mandee’s great wisdom–that she had insight into Dakota’s life that we could not give him at this time. We were so immensely grateful that she was willing and gracious with the information that she had. She agreed to share with Dakota, my husband, and me.
She was very sensitive and aware of every aspect of this process. She told us first about his birth dad and the information that would not be easy for her to share. It would most likely not be easy for Dakota to hear or be what he was hoping for. We talked back and forth about what we felt Dakota needed to hear. Dakota wasn’t searching for a candy coated fairy tale. He needed and wanted to know the truth.
We have never kept any secrets about anything in our family, so it made complete sense for Dakota to hear the truth. Being aware of this, we all would do everything in our power to help ease his pain and help him through this process.
We were eternally grateful for Mandee and for her amazing perspective. It was so amazing to share our happiness and our fears with her and have her do the same. I remember being concerned about Dakota and how this news would hit him. I was so grateful again to Mandee for being so wise to give us a heads up about when and what she was going to share with him.
He kept pretty quiet and to himself for the first few days. We gave him his space. When we asked how he was doing, he said that he was doing okay. He didn’t talk to us about it a lot, but did let us know that he was glad to get the information that he had received from Mandee. It helped him to better understand Mandee’s reasons for not having shared information about his birth dad. Most of all it helped him to understand why his birth dad never wrote a letter or sent a picture, and why he has never made any effort to contact Dakota over the past 17 years.
After finding out the kind of person that his birth dad was, it actually made him even more grateful for Mandee–for the unthinkable pain and anguish she must have gone through throughout her whole pregnancy, doing it alone, fighting the fight for both her and for Dakota.
Dakota, for now, has seemed to find the peace he was searching for. Dakota and Mandee still send emails and snapchats every once in a while. Dakota has decided that at this point in his life, he has all of the information he needs to move forward in a healthy way. For now, the relationship Mandee and Dakota’s relationship works for them.
As for my husband and my relationship with Mandee? This is where I think that our reconnection may be a little different than most. Although Dakota has decided that he did not need to meet with Mandee face-to-face, we were thrilled beyond belief when we received an invitation to meet Mandee and her husband, Aaron, for dinner. It was an absolutely perfect, magical, come-full-circle, didn’t-want-it to-ever-end evening.
As we shared stories, we all agreed that it was scary how much Mandee and I are alike. It really was amazing how much we have in common beyond the love we both have for Dakota. It was just that kind of night. We spent literally hours laughing until we cried and crying until we were plum out of tears. It was delightful!
What an answer to our prayers. It was so great to see pictures of their family and to be able to share pictures of ours. The night ended with many hugs and I found myself not wanting to say goodbye– just in case this happened to be the last time we would be together. We left the restaurant that night saying that we would keep in touch through email for now.
One of my favorites conversations with Mandee was when I shared with her how I had always felt like she would have been such an amazing mom to Dakota. I found myself constantly hoping that I was half the mom that I knew she would be. When I told her this she just laughed and said that’s so funny because she was always worried and hoping that Dakota was being a good boy for you. We just laughed. It was so healing and so reassuring to be able to sit with Mandee and talk so candidly about both of our lives– to learn that we are both human and that neither of us are perfect. Whether or not Dakota ever wants to meet Mandee face-to-face, we are so grateful that Dakota started the process of reconnecting with Mandee.
I love being a mom and am eternally grateful that I have been trusted with these amazing, strong spirits. I look at each one of my children and ﬁnd myself in awe. They are going to be amazing people and are going to change the world; this I know. Thank heaven and birth moms for little ones, especially ours.
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