“A child born to another woman calls me mom. The depth of the tragedy and the magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me.”
God gave me you. You were always meant to be mine. You didn’t grow in my belly, but in my heart. Love makes a family. All of these words used to make my heart flutter and my eyes water when I thought about adoption as a route towards building a family. There seems to be a mentality that looks something like “Bless all the people who “saved” all the “unwanted” children.” But what if adoption was only Plan B? What if children weren’t just “meant to be in families” but meant to be in their family?
It is difficult to think of my children as anything but “mine.” It feels as though all five came from my very body and have always been within my heart. The love I have for each is immeasurable and painfully beautiful. I cannot imagine life without them. My oldest child, my step-son, had a fantastic mom long before I was given the privilege of being a part of his life. My youngest two have a story that began at conception and continues with their birth parents, even though they are legally all “mine.”
In a perfect world, my children’s birth parents would have been able to parent their children. I am not blind to the fact that there is evil in the world and cases where children should never stay with their birth families. I understand that sometime adoption occurs from tragedy or abuse. However, there are many cases like my own where there are overarching circumstances; past issues and no quick fixes that don’t give birth parents a choice. As much as I cannot fathom life without my youngest two children, I know the pain in a birth mother’s eyes when she has to leave her child after placement. Knowing that pain, being there to see it, I have a deep understanding and respect that it is not what was supposed to be, only what had to be. I was plan B, and I have a deep gratitude and sorrow about that. I also have an intense respect for the love and longing many birth parents have for their children.
None of this means that I love my adoptive children any less than I do my other children. If nothing else, I love them equally and additionally thank God every day that I was given the privilege of being their mother. Furthermore, that I was given the opportunity to provide my adoptive children an open adoption so they can maintain relationship with their family while knowing how incredibly loved they are are by both their adoptive and biological families. Adoption is often a beauty from ashes story. My children were not meant to be mine, but are my entire world. I have been given the unique privilege of having them bring more love and joy into my own life. Adoption is about building a bridge to more love when possible. How fortunate for my children to have not only our love, but to also have the unconditional love of their birth parents always with them. They aren’t belongings to be possessed, but incredible children with an incredible story of great, boundless amounts of love.