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I am the mother of three children. One of them is dead, one of them came to us
the old fashioned way (boom chicka boom
boom, if you know what I mean), and one of them is adopted. I love all of them.
Each of my children was born into unique circumstances. Our oldest arrived just a few months after
the death of my mother. I had been a
primary caregiver for Mom in her last year, and we opted to name our girl
after her. Her birth brought tremendous
joy in such a time of deep sorrow.
Our oldest son was born in the midst of our daughter's
cancer treatment and two relapses. Three
months of his infancy was spent living in a de facto medical hotel, a communal
home out-of-state where all the residents were receiving specialized cancer
treatment while away from home.
sister died when he was just shy of 10 months old.
Our baby, now toddler, came to us through adoption. That birth, too, was different. I was blessed to be there for my son's
delivery and remember thinking, "Is this what it was like for my husband when
our first two were born?" Not being the
mother giving birth, I really wasn't certain what my role was. Is that how fathers feel during labor?
Adoption has provided us a third opportunity to love and
nurture and raise a child, but it's complicated. More than I realized when we were in the
initial hopeful stages of anticipation, wondering when, or if, an expectant
mother would pick us to raise her child.
Lots of friends and family whisper when they say, 'He looks so much like Donna.'
I remember, in those early stages of paperwork and classes that
adoption requires, looking at our older son, who, like his sister before him,
had bouncy curls and big blue eyes. There was a moment, sitting there at my kitchen table, when I grieved the
genetic connection I would not have with our last child. When you adopt, you open your heart to
whatever the universe has in store for you. Knowing that our son's Birth Mother had Native American heritage, we thought
it likely that we would be raising our first brown-eyed baby.
Nope. Just like our
first and second children, our third child has bouncy curls and big, blue
almond shaped eyes that stare back at us. His lips have the same pillow like quality of his older siblings,
too. From the back, with his blond curls
that older women would pay a lot of money to achieve, our son could easily be
mistaken for our daughter before her cancer diagnosis took those curls away.
Lots of friends and family whisper when they say, "He looks
so much like Donna." No whispers are
needed. Through fate or chance, and not
having a thing to do with genetics, our youngest does resemble our oldest. Why whisper? Well, because he is
He will be raised knowing that he was loved by two families but arrived in complicated circumstances leading to his adoption.
Despite it being 2015, there is still a stigma attached to
adoption. Naïve me didn't realize this
until I became a part of the adoption community. It is important to note that, historically, many
adoption practices lacked a solid ethical foundation. In the "baby scoop era,"
it was common for adults to decide for teen mothers that a closed adoption
would be arranged, with or without consent. Birth records were sealed and secrets were kept.
The practice of open adoption is still a relatively new
phenomenon. The stereotype of the unwed,
teen mom doesn't nearly address the diversity of Birth Moms who look to place a
child for adoption these days. Our son's
Birth Mom was in her mid-20s and already raising a young child herself when she
opted to place her baby. That choice is
never an easy one and comes with a lifetime of ramifications.
November is National Adoption
Awareness Month. These words are
part of how I honor our son's adoption. He will be raised knowing that he was loved by two families but arrived
in complicated circumstances leading to his adoption. In that regard, it is just another way our youngest
is a lot like his two older siblings.