Family Day, 3 Years In


Today marks R’s Family Day. It was on this day, 3 years ago, that relinquishment papers were signed by his birth mother. After months and months of paperwork and waiting, all of the waiting was over. Rory was our son. He became our child on March 17, 2015 after two intimate days with his birth mother in the hospital.

With a piece of paper I officially became a mother. It is also when R’s birth mom gave up all of rights as his mother. In that moment, that enormous responsibility, that gift, that privilege, that title of mother, all became mine. Perhaps R’s birth mother had mentally placed him with me months before. Perhaps she was prepared. I do not know. But one thing is true. On this day, a day when I can’t stop myself from crying with joy- I also feel conflicted. New feelings that with time, perspective, context, knowledge, and the love for my son, have led this to be a day when I hold Rory’s birth mom so close and wonder and question the systems that allowed me to become a mother.

Family Day.

This may be Rory’s last Family Day that we celebrate as a family of 3. We are waiting for our next child. For R’s brother or sister. I wish he could remember this waiting- to see that we are alright while we wait, just as we were alright as we waited for him.

He was so wanted, as every parent waits and wants their child.

Often times, with adoption, the waiting is glorified, or a child is told just how much they were wanted, as though the child should feel some level of gratefulness and appreciation for what their parents went through during the adoption process. My wish for R is that he never feels like he owes us anything. I hope he never feels guilt or pressure to be anyone other than himself with his real true feelings about adoption. It is how we became a family. There are so many ways to make a family. He is no more lucky than any other child to have the parents he has.

We did not choose him. And he did not choose us. It’s very common in the adoption community to use that language. It’s simply not how we view it. Those decisions of how we became a family happened while he was still growing inside of his birth mother’s womb. This was an enormous decision that will shape his life in every way, and it is a decision that he was not a part of.

I am so sorry for that.

I will try my best to provide him with a full and rich life that gives him the tools to fully explore his past and those decisions that were made even before his birth. Adoption is perplexing. His birth mother and I walk through very different lives for so many reasons- race, economics, geography. We are bound together through Rory. And it is Rory who makes me want to fight for change around systems that make a woman choose to place her child for adoption. He makes me want to fight for women’s reproductive rights, education, and, if a woman chooses to place, post placement support (all things our adoption agency champions).

I love my son more deeply and fully than I thought possible and that love makes me want to fight to change the systems that brought him to me.

I know it might seem like a contradiction, but once I felt what it was to love my son, I wouldn’t dare want a mother be denied that feeling if it is what she wants.

Family Day means so many things.

As I sit and look at my son this morning I am filled with love, joy, and wonder for this child and the adoption process that brought him to us.

This is an incredible day for our family.

Happy 3rd Family Day to Ethan, to R and to our whole family- from New York to Florida. Xo