This might look like any other family picture to you, grandparents glowing while their child and spouse hold the newest member of their family. And that’s what it is, in essence. My parent’s coming to visit my husband and I right after we got home with our son, Isaac. However, to me, this picture is so much more. It’s the happy ending that a mother promised her daughter would come.
It was the answer to prayers that had been said. It is the proof that all the tears and longings that those two women had for a family had been worth it. It shows me how beautiful and wonderful adoption truly is.
Because, in this picture, there isn't just one adoptive mother, but two.
My parents had been married 17 years when they adopted me. They had been working with the state (who did all the adoptions at that time), but were actually matched with my birthmother through my Mom’s OB/GYN. I was born on Saturday, and they got the call to ‘get ready’. My Mom, Dad, and Grandma went on a shopping spree to prepare for me on Sunday, and my parents brought me home Monday (my Grandma’s birthday!).
I know my adoption story. Always have. My parents started using ‘positive adoption language’ when I was very young, but to them, they were just doing the right thing. They had no desire to hide anything, just to let me know how loved I was, by everyone involved. Because I was born in the early 1980’s, it was a closed adoption, and since it was private, my parents got very little information from my birthmothers lawyer. They knew basic info, height, complexion, age, hair color, eye color, where her family originated from, but nothing much more.
As I grew older, they shared a bit more ‘age appropriate’ stuff with me, like the fact that my birthfather had been married, but had an affair that I was a product of. That I have a half brother or sister very close in age, because both his wife and my birthmom were pregnant at the same time. That the adoption plan my birthmom had made caused quite the conflict in her families relationships. After that info, there wasn’t much more that they had, and with my records sealed, I would have to wait until I was 18 to try to get more info.
As we were going through fertility treatments, I asked my Mom how she survived everything. She had been diagnosed with endometriosis, and wasn’t ever given any treatment options. I wondered how she made it through all of her friends getting pregnant, the baby shower invites, the newborns in church. She shared stories, some that made me laugh, and some that made me realize, she knew the exact pain and hurt that I did. We talked about her never being able to get pregnant, whereas I could get pregnant, but never could maintain the pregnancy. We decided they each have their own type of pain and sadness.
It was nice to know, that when I was sad, or depressed, or angry, that I had someone who had been there before that I could talk to. Friends are great, but nothing beats a Mom who will listen to you, and TRULY understand what you are talking about.
When Travis and I began down the adoption path, we of course bounced a lot of things off my parents. They had been here before, though we quickly realized our paths were quite different. Many things have changed in the adoption world, and differences were a surprise to my parents. As we went through our 8hr+ home study interviews and questioners, my Mom dug out their 2 page report that their social worker had written saying they were fit to have a child in their home. As we agonized over our profile book, my Mom wondered how much my birthmother knew about them before she placed me with them. When we were nervously driving the 8 hours to go meet our son’s birthparents, she told us she would never have had enough courage to do that. While we were holding our son minutes after he was born, she wondered if she would have had the strength to do that, knowing that the placement might not happen.
For us, each of those steps was just one more thing we had to do to bring Isaac home. We really had no choice in most of them, because many agencies have similar requirements. Just like, 29 years ago, my parents did what they had to do to bring me home, and just like 7years later, they did anything to bring my little brother home.
Adoption isn’t easy, but you just do whatever you have to. And the reward is worth it.
I remember in the days after we got Isaac home, when it was just my Mom with us, she stood in my bathroom with me as I was holding Isaac and put her arms around both of us and cried. After so many years of sad tears, from both of us, these were tears of joy.
In that moment, she embraced her life, and how it had been blessed by adoption. Through two generations.