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As If He Were Born To Me

Today is the anniversary of when R’s adoption was finalized.

I don’t know how the world works, but I do know that my children are simply that. They are my children. The system is broken. This world is broken- but my boys were always meant to be my sons.

And yet, does that mean they were meant to be separated from their first families?

Yes, a choice was made by their first mothers; An informed, well supported choice (adoption agencies and ethics is a whole different can of worms). There was no coercion, there was no “buying a baby”, there were no secrets.

When R’s adoption was finalized, and the judge said, “he is your child as if he were born to you”, I wept.

What joyous words to hear. Because I knew, as all adoptive mothers have the privilege of knowing, that the love we feel for our child, who we did not give birth to, is the most profound, inexplicable feeling in the world.

“He is your child as if he were born to you”, the judge said.

But he wasn’t born to me. Neither of my boys were born to me. And this is important for me to always know and for my boys to know.

That phrase gives me something that isn’t mine.

That phrase gives me something that ONLY belongs to their first mothers and to them. I am so privileged and honored to be their mother. Leave the privilege and honor of birthing them, to their first mothers.

These boys bring me more joy than I knew was possible. They must keep the parts of their stories that are theirs. I don’t need anything else. I don’t need to take the parts of their story, of their first mother’s stories as my own. I don’t want my boys to share those parts with me. It is vitally important that they don’t. That part of the story is not mine to claim.

I used to fight the differences. I just wanted to be a mom like all the other moms. Yes, I wanted it to be “as if he was born to me”.

As I grew into my motherhood, I began to feel differently. The differences are the most important parts of how I mother. The differences in nature and nurture, the difference of NOT giving birth to my children, the differences in our skin color, the differences in our history….we are so very different.

Our differences keep me up at night, and that’s okay. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

All the fighting I did to just be “mom” when my first child came to me was very important. The identity of mother was new and scary and, for me….hard. It all felt quite natural, shockingly natural, but it was extremely tough. Clinging to what made me just like every other mother was crucial to my well being; and it still is. But, it’s different now. I hope that any woman who chooses to adopt will relish in the sameness (the sleepless nights, what brand of swaddle to use, what car seat….I could go on and on) but also celebrate and fight for the beauty of what makes her motherhood so hard and unique. The hardness and the uniqueness of these children NOT being born to us is something to value, to love, to be gentle with.

This weekend, Rory asked me to lay in bed with him. These occasions are few and far between as he gets older and hops out of bed raring to go. Desi was still sleeping, and I was able to crawl into R’s twin bed and snuggle with him. I asked if he wanted to hear his adoption story.

He said yes.

As I told him the story, with far more detail because he’s older now, I watched as his smile grew and he wiggled in delight as I told him of the wait and of our time in the hospital with his tummy mommy and tummy daddy. It still makes perfect sense to him. The joy that washed over him as I told him his birth story was palpable. The joy that he was not born to me, but born to “M”. Born to “M” and placed in our arms. “M” entrusting Ethan and I to be parents of her child. I know we’re on the precipice of this changing; of Rory’s joy changing into something else, and of harder questions being asked. He’ll soon realize that his story is quite different than his cousins and most of his friends. But, for now, the difference is still full of pure unadulterated happiness and pride.

I do not get to be the mom whose children were born to me.

I am a mother via domestic, open, transracial adoption. I get to be that mom.

I get to share that intimate and intricate birth story with another mother and with my boys.

Finalization is SO exciting. It’s a time when the paperwork is DONE and we officially get to be mom and dad.

We’re waiting for our court date to finalize D’s adoption. I don’t know if the judge will say what the judge said during R’s finalization, but I do know I will be celebrating my motherhood. A motherhood that does NOT include a child born to me, and that is just as spectacular as if he was.

Happy Finalization R. Today we party because 4 years ago, we officially became your mama and papa.

We love you. Xx


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