December 17th, 2019 at 2pm we finalized D’s adoption. Oh Happy Day! We are officially a family of 4. The sweet relief of knowing that the state of New York officially recognizes what we knew the moment we brought D home. What a thing to sit with and to comprehend. I finally feel like I can breathe. I didn’t realize I’ve been holding my breath for 10 months.
We are D's parents. What a glorious way to mark this holiday season. The depth of my gratitude for D, for R, for Ethan is a feeling I didn’t know I was capable of feeling until we stood before the judge in court.
Finalization is joyful and exciting and an enormous celebration for E and I. Surrounding our child with love and celebrating our family is important and magical. D deserves as many opportunities as we can to create a fuss, to put on our best duds, to have champagne (or juice) and smile and reflect on the process of us becoming a family of 4; The difficulty of the wait, the shock of becoming new parents with 23 hours notice and of course, the delight of D. This day. This finalization is for us. I believe this baby (all babies) can feel the energy of love surrounding him. Everyone’s smile and joy is for D today. We are ecstatic.
We also know that this is only part of his story.
This part of his story he will choose to interpret exactly as he wants as he grows. This is also the day that he is no longer legally tied to his first family. A new birth certificate will be issued and it will list myself and Ethan as mother and father. These simple facts contain mountains of grief and loss for my child and for his first family. As we sat with the judge I felt pure elation, and I also felt a deep sense of loss for my child.
And so, on this day, D’s adoption finalization we celebrated his WHOLE family.
Yesterday we had the great honor and privilege of spending time with D’s birth mother. I was quite nervous all day waiting for her to arrive; my fear that she’d think I’m not a good mother bubbled up fiercely before the visit.
D napped, Ethan and R swam, and I sat on the couch staring at the wall managing my nerves. But then she was here. R and I met her in the lobby of our hotel. The reality of her, of us all together is truly remarkable and messy and full of weird strange uncomfortable perfect deep deep love. I love her so much. To know she is grieving is an incredibly difficult piece of this adoption to manage. To love my child so deeply and to know the pain that she is feeling and processing, AND that she is choosing to show up and build a relationship with us and with D(and R) speaks to the depth of her capacity to love.
I have much to learn from her. The visit was harder for me than I expected. Hard to see them together. There were moments of jealousy and a sense of possessiveness over D that I am not particularly proud of. I called my own mom after the visit. She comforted me. She told me to rest easy for a while. Moms always know what to say.
Today, I officially became DK's mother. I am speechless. I am grateful. I am blessed beyond measure. Good gracious, I don’t know what I did to deserve my children.
D still has a first mother, and she became no less of a mother to D today. A different kind of mother. A mother we will respect and treasure and work with to create space for her in the ways she and D need.
Every night we say a sort of prayer to R. It goes like this;
We love you no matter what
We are proud of you no matter what
You are safe, no matter what
We are here, no matter what.
I say these words, and I think of R's story. He will grow to have all his own feelings around his adoption story. What we don’t say at night, but what radiates under each word is that any and all of his feelings surrounding his adoption are valid and worthy, we are here, no matter what they may be.
And so today, on D's finalization we celebrate these words for D too; These words are what this finalization is about:
Dear sweet D, you will ultimately have your own feelings surrounding your adoption story, and we love you for always, no matter what.
We are here no matter what.
You are safe no matter what.
And we are so proud of you, of ALL of you, of ALL of your story, no matter what.
That is what we celebrate today.
Cheers from the road driving home from Buffalo.