Last week I shared an amazing and heart felt letter from a mother to her daughter. If you missed it, stop what you are doing, go grab a tissue and come back to read it (here ). Ashley shared two very intimate stories with me after doing her session. The first was her love letter to Margot, which I just mentioned. The second story, which I am sharing today, was her views on adoption.
There are so many aspects of adoption that I wish those in my life—and society in general—could understand. My family’s experience is incredibly unique, as every adoption story is. But there are commonalities among all, certain themes that are unavoidable, and certain facts about the process and those involved that should be acknowledged and celebrated. I’d like to help you to understand a couple of those truths.
Countless friends have come up to me since Margot’s birth, claiming to be considering adoption for themselves, for their own families. Their comments suggest an openness to this idea because of how easy it would be.
Perhaps it’s my fault that they think this. Perhaps because I have held our journey so close to my heart and so distant from others’ they have been led to believe for some reason that our journey was simple, uncomplicated. As an adoptive mother, I firmly believe in my new role as an ambassador for adoption. I now have the right, the honor, the responsibility to educate the world about adoption. So, let me clear up this one big misconception about the ease of it all.
I assure you, the only moments of ease we experienced during our adoption were coming to love our daughter and coming to love her birth mother. All else was complicated by worry, fear, anxiety, legal complications, the unknown, and a lack of control. We did not one day decide we wanted a baby and the next come home with a healthy child—pain free.
Instead, we spent three years working to build our family. We cried many tears, said many prayers, and feared that our dream of family and love would never come true. Our wait clouded every aspect of our lives.
Adoption is an absolute miracle, and I could not be more grateful for its existence. But it’s not the easy road. It’s what was meant for us, for our family. But it wasn’t simple, and it won’t ever be simple. Every moment of our experience was beautiful and spiritual and awe-inspiring, but each of those moments was also terrifying and frustrating and anxiety-inducing.
We are better for our journey, and we have found our happiness again. We are blessed and grateful to be Margot’s parents, and we will always hold that gratitude close to our hearts. It wasn’t easy getting here, but we wouldn’t change that bumpy path for the world. So, if adoption has a hold on your heart, don’t be afraid. It’s a gift like no other. But is it easy? No, it isn’t easy.
When friends, family, acquaintances, and even perfect strangers learn that I am an adoptive mother, I am often faced with one of three responses:
- “That is such a wonderful thing you’re doing. She is one lucky little girl.”
- “I don’t know how you do it. I don’t think I could raise someone else’s child.”
- “How can someone give up their child? I just can’t imagine.”
I, in turn, have responses to each of these comments—sometimes I say them aloud, sometimes I think them to myself, and sometimes I just don’t quite have the words. I’m going to walk forward with intent to always do the former.
I want everyone to understand that Jason and I have not engaged in any kind of heroic act. We have adopted our sweet Margot because we longed for parenthood, for the opportunity to raise children, and adoption spoke to our hearts. It has not been an altruistic act, and while I hope that Margot grows up to be pleased with her life, our love for her, and the opportunities we have provided her, she isn’t “lucky.” If anyone is lucky in this scenario, it is Jason and I. If Margot’s birth mother had decided to parent her, she would have felt her love on a daily basis instead of ours. If her birth mother had not selected us as Margot’s parents, another grateful family would be snuggling her right now, showering her with their love and affection. Instead, we get to live the lives we’ve imagined as parents of an incredible child. Instead, we are the lucky ones.
Jason and I are not raising someone else’s child. Margot is our child, and we knew this to be true, even as she grew inside of her biological mother. It became even more apparent as I locked eyes with her in the first moments after she emerged into the world. I do not look at her and see someone else’s child. I look at her and am overwhelmed by my love for her, as her mother. And I know Jason does the same. We are her parents. We are raising her because she is our daughter, just as most biological parents choose to raise their children. I am just as much a mother as any of you, and though society may suggest differently, Margot is just as much my daughter as your biological children are yours.
Margot’s birth mother did not “give her up.” She made a difficult, laborious decision about what was best for the child she loves so much. It was never simple. She loves Margot intensely and is grieving a separation that is unimaginable. With this adoption plan comes great loss, but she has made this plan out of the best interest of her child. She chose to place Margot in our arms as her parents forever because she saw in us a great love and she trusts us to always do right by our daughter. She is not heartless; she is not unloving; she is not crazy; she is not oblivious; she is not carefree; and she is not stupid. She is the most faithful, spiritual, kind, generous, and loving person in my life. She is eloquent and startlingly bright. She never ceases to amaze me, and her strength and courage are beyond compare. You’ve never known anyone like her, and to know her and have her in my life is to be a better person. Through our adoption, we fell in love with two new people: our daughter and her biological mother.
I am proud of the woman from whom my daughter comes. She is the kind of woman I look up to: a woman of conviction, of bravery, and of unconditional love. She did not give up on her child; no birth mother gives up on her child. She gave her child everything.