November is National Adoption Month and with this, I add my truth to all the rest that is bravely being spoken.
“I didn’t give you the gift of life; life gave me the gift of you…”
To my son,
The other day you told me that sometimes you want to be “un-adopted”.
It broke my heart, but I didn’t let you know. I’m glad you know you can come to me with these things and hope you always do. You are my child; I know your hurts and thoughts even when they are not spoken aloud, and I will always try to hold then with gentle understanding.
Of course there are times that you wish to be un-adopted. Un-different, un-scared, un-lonely, un-do the dark days, un-separated from the family, friends, and neighborhood you left behind, un-missing the mother that first owned your heart. You are sweet and wonderful and undeserving of any pain. I want it all undid for you, too.
It is not always easy for me to share you with her. Sometimes I feel surprised, mad, sad, and scared by how attached you “still” are to her. I confess that I have counted the years that you have been with me vs. with her and wondered why the love and longing scales continue to tip so deeply in her favor. I imagine that sometimes you feel that way too. The truth is that I will never be able to fill the space that she occupies. And while I may be jealous of the way your heart still speaks to hers, I’m glad that I am not the missing hole.
One of the hardest things to reconcile in my heart is the fact that my greatest gift was your greatest heartbreak. To me, adoption is a miracle – fate solidified – an act of God. To you, adoption is separation – differentness – a missing piece. Don’t get me wrong, you celebrated as much as anyone on that special day, even telling the Judge, “I’ve waited a long time for this!” before the gavel was struck down. You are glad to be adopted by us, but really, you wish you didn’t have a need to be adopted at all.
There is pain and heartbreak that comes with being your adoptive mom, but I do not believe it rivals the pain you feel, or the pain your first mother feels. So, I will accept the gift of humility that has come with the gift of you, and allow myself to speak the truths you need to hear.
Your mom is beautiful. She is smart. She is loving. She is special. It is okay to miss her. It is okay to love her more. She loves you, too.
I’ll close my letter to you with the mantra we share. The words that I have whispered into your ear thousands of times over the past 4 years: You are safe. You are happy. You are loved. Everything is going to be okay.
One way or another, we’ll figure this out together.
With love and respect,
Visit 30 Adoption Portraits for more open and honest stories from the frontlines of the adoption triad.