Mother’s Day is approaching.
We just found out that we are not moving forward with an expectant mother who is due at the end of June. For a little while at least, I was prepping for baby number 2. Now, I tuck those thoughts away along with the tiny clothes I was brave enough to purchase at Target earlier this month.
Adoption can be rough.
This morning it wasn’t. It was peace. R and I were up before Ethan. We laid on the couch, under the covers, R lying on my chest, head resting on my shoulder like he did when he was tiny. I asked if he wanted to hear about when mama and papa adopted him. He’s heard this story many many times. He popped up and with a big smile, said yes. And so the story began….
Once upon a time your tummy mommy called and said you were coming and it was time to get on a plane and fly to Florida….
As the story unfolded the pure joy that sprung out of my son was magic. He loved hearing this miraculous story. The story of him. He was so proud to hear a story that had him at the center. He literally squealed with delight when I told him that his tummy mommy went home to be mama to his sibbys and that we (mama and papa) took him to the hotel to be mama and papa to him. Gosh. The simple facts are so joyful to him. They most likely won’t always be.
R DOES make the second time around easier as we wait for our second child. And not because I can focus on him (that helps) or because it’s easier to have faith in the process since we’ve been through it once (I had faith when I started the process, long before R), but because R does a freakin’ bang up job of honoring adoption. That’s why this time is easier. I have an example of someone who is practicing what I preach; celebrating all of the complex twists and turns of adoption. Thank you R. Thank you for being you and owning you and loving your story.
and so once again we wait for an expectant mother to choose us.
and another thing that’s been on my mind as Mother’s Day approaches;
I love Ros birth mom not because of what she did for me, but because of who she is to me. She didn’t make an adoption plan for me. What she did was most likely a product of her circumstances which actually devastates me. But who she is in my life presently, that is who I love. I see her in my son. She is part of our family. I care deeply about how she is doing, the choices she’s making, and her well being. I will honor her on Sunday, on Mother’s Day. It’s a shared day for me, and that is A-Okay.
I grapple with how much I share about R’s adoption story. It is private. There is much of his story that only R, E, and I know. I will protect it fiercely. But, I also believe R's birth mom should be part of the conversations I have about adoption. My role as a mother and her role as R’s first/birth mother is important. He is who he is because of both of us. Research shows that open adoption is in the best interest of the child, and so, we jumped into an open adoption with wide open hearts. Open adoption has been the greatest surprise of my life. It does come with an emotional vulnerability that can be exceptionally draining.
R’s birth mom gave birth to him. That is what mother means to most of us. That is the pervasive thought.
“I gave you life so I can take it away”, “Do you know what I went through for you?”, etc and so on.
And then there’s me. R was placed in my arms. New smells, new rhythms, new sounds. Placed in my arms, not in the arms of the woman who grew him in her womb. I am no less mother than R’s first mother. But there is a first mother. There will always be a first mother and I am so grateful for that.
I wonder a lot. I wonder if R will choose to dance with her at his wedding. I wonder if he will choose to distance himself from me when he is a teenager, or older. I wonder what our extended family tree will look like one day. My role as mother is shared.
My child is my beacon, my North Star, my guide. Part of him is her. Her story is just as important as my story. Her choices and her experience is an enormous part of the adoption conversation. It is my hope that one day she and I can write together. I hope we can share our experiences in this adoption process and be in conversation about motherhood and about adoption, which is influenced and guided by political, economic and social systems in our society. Adoption is about privilege, race, women’s reproductive rights, religion, love. These are the things I want to talk about with R’s first mother. These are all systems that worked in my favor so I could become a mother.
In real time, my role as mother is spent repeating myself 47 times, begging and pleading with my child to listen, singing, reading, feeling guilty (but not too guilty) about screen time, and so on and so forth….I’m just a mom. I’m not an adoptive mom. You can just call me a mom, please and thank you.
I do choose to parent in a way that takes my son’s adoption into every equation. Where we live, where he will go to school, how people speak about families and adoption around him and who we spend our time with is partially based on the fact that we are a family through domestic, open, transracial adoption. This still doesn’t mean I want to be called an adoptive mom. My hope is that these choices might qualify me to be called a good mom, but not an adoptive mom.
And back to that baby that is due at the end of June.
Tucking away tiny clothes is hard. But at this point in the process it is actually less about the baby and more about feeling connected to the expectant mother. There is a connection and a deep love that is reserved for her and her alone. Much like the love one has for their child, my love for an expectant mother is not known until I am put in the position to feel it. It is uniquely it’s own. While I mentally spent time letting go of that June baby this afternoon, I also spent time letting go of the expectant mother. It’s not easy. I’m sad about having to let her go.
Like most moms who are anticipating their second child, I truly wonder how my heart will stretch and grow to love a second child as much as I love my first born. I know it will, of course it will. Similarly, I wonder how my heart will be capable of growing and stretching to include the love for another expectant mom. But it will. and then it will stretch and grow some more as she becomes first mother, and grow and stretch even more because in that moment I will become mother to my second child.
Love is an incredible thing.
Happy Mother’s Day. There ain’t nothing like a mother’s love. Xx