For any wonderful people that have the joy of watching a loved one go through the process, realize that it is a lifelong process. My adoption didn’t start the minute I chose a family; it started when I came home from the hospital without my little guy. I became a birth mother when I signed those brutal legal papers and placed him in his mom’s arms. And that was just the beginning of my adoption journey that is still happening to this day, seven whole years later. For the record, I hate the cheesiness of “my adoption journey,” but I have yet to coin a better term. So it is what it is.

There were people who were there for me during my pregnancy: friends and family who stood by me and supported me. They put up with my crankiness, they listened to me whine about the miseries of pregnancy, and most of all, they loved that little person I was growing. It truly was an amazing time, a time that had an expiration date. At some point soon, I would no longer be pregnant, and the little person would be living in someone else’s home.

For me, that is where my adoption journey began. For others in my life, I think that is where they thought my adoption journey would end. I was no longer pregnant, and I was back to living a somewhat normal life, so it was all over right?

While I was no longer pregnant and no longer in possession of a child, I was still right in the middle of “my adoption journey.” I still am right now. I am no more through it than I was the day I came home from the hospital. I am not in the same place as I was the day I came home from the hospital, but being a birth mom is not something that ends. I become more of a birth mother every day. It is somewhere between here and there: a gray area. It is hard to describe.

While looking at me now, there is little residue of my adoption journey on the outside, it is swimming around in my head every day. There is a constant dialogue in my head about him: not every second of the day, but little moments here and there. While I am not responsible for his care or upbringing, I still feel the weight of his life on my shoulders. That feeling never goes away, even though it was seven years ago.

I have been asked if I will ever “get over it.” I don’t feel as if this is something I need to get over: This is the way through. Through to the greatest life for all involved. There has been pain and sorrow and amazing joy, and there will continue to be because life is long. And as long as I’m still alive, my adoption journey will still be a journey all the way through to the end.