When Did You Feel Like She Belonged to You?

The question of a curious friend, and my honest answer.

Candise Gilbert May 17, 2014
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I have come to expect that when people learn my children were adopted they will have questions. I generally welcome the questions; isn’t it always a great time to talk about adoption? The first time someone asked this particular question, I was shocked. Since then, I have been asked it repeatedly and love the opportunity to educate.

My first daughter was several months old and a friend was visiting. The topic of adoption came up (it often does) and she asked, “Do you feel like she is ‘yours’ yet?” I was almost too dumbfounded to answer. My reply was a resounding “YES!” I am certain my friend was surprised, and she followed up by asking when I knew she was mine. This provided a great opportunity for reflection, and I loved the chance to share.

Our first communication from our daughter’s birth mother was a letter she had written expressing her desire that my husband and I adopt her baby. The letter was faxed to us, and we felt an instant bond with this young lady and her baby. We knew less than 10 facts about her and felt a genuine adoration towards her. We were in awe at the connection she had felt toward us simply by reading our adoption profile.

Several weeks later, we had the opportunity to meet this birth mother. The care and concern that we initially felt for her transitioned quickly into a deep love and admiration. The time we spent with her went quickly and was full of laughter, tears, and talk of a future for her little girl. That day, I knew that this birth mother and her baby would be a part of our lives forever. There was a strong and unmistakable connection that is difficult, if not impossible, to explain.

I was in the delivery room when our daughter was born. I consider it one of the most sacred days of my life. I will forever be grateful that I was invited to share the experience. I held our daughter when she was moments old and I don’t think it could have been possible for me to feel a greater love towards her. A short time later, my husband came in and held her for the first time. I saw on his face the same feelings I felt. We were overjoyed and honored to be her parents. Our gratitude to her birth mother was deep.

It would take years to finalize her adoption. This was unexpected and is another story for another day! The feelings of love I felt for our daughter both before and immediately after her birth have only grown stronger. I know she is mine. Her path to our family is unique and has linked us forever to a beautiful birth mother.

Perhaps the best response to my friend’s question is that I knew she was mine before she ever was. I knew she would be mine when she still completely belonged to her birth mother. We shared a great love for this little girl that brought us all together and miraculously created a family.

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Candise Gilbert

Candise is the mother of 2 darling girls and the wife of a fantastic husband. She became a mother through the miracle of adoption and parenting is her favorite job! She makes dinner every night, loves a good book, talks about adoption as often as she can, and tries to surround herself with fabulous people.


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