March 17th. St. Patrick’s Day.
A word on luck. 7 years ago, Rory (an Irish name) officially became our son. 48 hours after giving birth his first mother was able to sign relinquishment papers. In Florida, the signatures are irrevocable.
How many times have I heard people tell my kids that they’re sooooo lucky. Countless times. They’ve been told by strangers and friends and family alike, that they’re lucky that E and I are their parents and that they’re lucky that they were adopted.
I’ve always hated the word luck. Probably a holdover from my mom, who has never liked the word. As a woman with deep faith, she believed good fortune had more to do with faith and being blessed, than it had to do with luck. While I can poke some holes in that argument, and I do think luck plays a part in lots of things, it has no place when talking to my children about their adoption stories or about how they should feel that we’re their parents.
No one gets to tell my kids how they feel about adoption. They don’t have to like being adopted and they certainly don’t have to feel lucky because they were adopted. It’s just too simple a word and it cheapens their experience. Let’s let them decide how to feel.
We’ve pushed back when people have said this, and we’ve been told, “I would say the same thing if they were your biological children!”
Yes, but they aren’t.
And so, the idea of luck just lands differently for my adoptive children than if they were my biological children. There is no luck or good fortune in being separated from a first family. Even if it is in the best interest of the child for safety and well being.
And my God, on March 17th, 2015, when I could finally breathe because I was officially Rory’s mom, there was no luck involved. There was his first mom, a few doors down in her hospital room with a lawyer and a social worker signing pages and pages of paperwork. I know enough to know that she thought long and hard and made the life altering decision guided by her heart and her brain and her faith. I don’t think we were lucky that she choose us, I think we were connected on some deeper level (a little wooo-y, I know). Maybe it was luck that she saw our profile book when she did? or that we wrote about hiking, she liked that her son would get to go on hikes with his parents. I don’t know. Luck isn’t the right word for that either.
For anyone that has adopted their child, nothing feels lucky. When it’s all said and done and the paperwork is signed, it feels utterly humbling and incredulous that through so much brokenness a family was formed. It’s not lucky. And my kids don’t need to hear that they’re lucky.
If there is any luck at all, it’s that we’re the lucky ones to be Rory and Desi’s mom and dad.
Now, the traditional Irish blessing; May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields is something I hope my children believe for always.