I have been adamant in my convictions towards what I consider to be essential truths in adoption. Adoption needs to be about God and His calling in our lives. It needs to be about selfless giving while expecting nothing in return...except the peace and fulfillment that God pours out upon us in just the exact amount of measure for each days struggles and adventures. Adoption is about holding on tight to God and loosely to the things of this world...including our Children...who must be affirmed as gifts from God. I believe that birth families of our children are also gifts to us...we choose to adopt whole families and not just children. We share a precious child between us...a bond that ties us together for life.
This week, those basic tenets have been tested one by one. Birth family has come forward in the lives of a few of the children. Instead of feeling welcoming and unconditional in my response to them, I felt sad and possessive that I may be asked to share my precious children more than I would choose. I hadn't felt this way before. But, now my daughter is almost 17 years old. And with facebook, there is little we can do to stop the connections that might be made without us being a part of them. A biological aunt of Hope's spoke with her last evening. It was a good, affirming conversation. As our kids grow up, we already must learn to share our children...to let go as they begin to date, get married and expend their world. And, then when birth family, who all live locally, are welcomed into our world, my initial reaction has been of sadness and loss. It is the not the birth family that I am worried about. It's me.
It's about my daughter growing up..with added layers of complexity, that make me fear that I will be left in the dust as time goes by. I have been the one to say no, to discipline, to expect more. I have the been the one to sit for hours during the homework, helping with friendship crises and wiping tears when dreams have not been fulfilled. I am Mom and yet there is someone out there who shares things with my daughter that I do not share. I am an overachiever, a focused and on-time kind of person. My daughter is not. School, for her, is difficult. Managing her ADHD is challenging. Getting to places on time is not a priority for her. She is a bubbly, welcoming person. We celebrate our differences. And we find our similarities. We are both creative, we love poetry and plays. We have compassionate hearts, we love animals and we love Jesus more. We have a deep, wonderful relationship which has proven to withstand storms that have come along our way. I can not imagine loving a daughter any more than I love her.
Hope and her birth mom share so much...they think alike in many ways. They both are published poets. They are funny and creative and have big hearts. I will admit. I feel jealous of that. Silly, I know. And I am sure that her birth mom feels some of the same feelings that I am feeling right now...jealous that she wasn't the one to be there when she went off to her first swing dance, or her first day of kindergarten, or
was able to see her win first place in the Ojibwe language quiz bowl last week...sad that she has missed so much and that she had to share her daughter at all. And so, again, I am reminded that Hope's birth mom and I have so much in common...bonded together in life by this amazing girl that she named Hope.
And so I am left today, feeling lost and lonely for a moment. I am feeling like I need to find my balance and stand up again on the tenets that I believe to be true in adoption. God will provide me all that I need to get through this new phase of my life...learning to live what I believe even when it is difficult. I want to extend the hand of grace and compassion instead of react out of my selfishness. I want my words and my actions to be one.
I must remind myself that I am not losing my baby girl. Her love for me is not compromised because she has expanded her heart to include family that hold a part of her that I do not. There are lessons in this pain..in this time. Lessons about compassion for a Mom who was forced to say goodbye to her daughter many years ago. Compassion for a daughter who has celebrated her adoption and not let her grief or unanswered questions stop her from reaching for her dreams. It's not about me. It never has been...