Sleep was not my friend last night. We have had a break in our relationship, so it seems. Two hours per night. That’s it. Two hours for the last three or four nights. *yawn* What’s my name again? As I sat in bed, listening to the migraine-inducing, anger-provoking, want-to-tell-him-to-go-play-in-the-street SNORE coming from his face, I thought I would distract myself and try to write for the blog. I innocently turned on my bedside lamp, the darkness was pierced and the sleeper awoke! Oops. My bad. I don’t know how that light woke him so quickly, with that pillow over his face. Anywhoo…it rolled over, stopped snoring, and I was going to finish the blog. Right? Karma, with whom I have also had a break in relationship, reared its ugly head. After writing for an hour, I typed something wrong and didn’t know how to fix it! Boom! Disappeared. It was all gone. And it was a good one too! Not like this drivel I’m pounding out right now. After waxing poetic and being all smart and stuff, it was GONE! At the point of wanting to accidentally drop my laptop onto the snorer, who had already rolled back over and was currently breathing so hard he was changing the part in my hair, I gave up. I don’t remember half of what I wrote and did not use the “save” feature, so yeah. Good times.
Mother’s Day is one of my most favorite days. For so many years, I dreaded it and was miserable the whole day. I have wanted to be a mom since I received my first doll as a wee one and would drag her around by the hair all day. (What can I say? The nurturing is strong with this one. I outgrew that by the way.) When I married, I immediately wanted to start trying for babies. He said we should wait. He was finishing up his undergrad and we knew we would be moving away for his grad school. So on our two year anniversary, I stopped taking the pill, bought some pretty nighties, and tried to think fertile thoughts. Fast forward five long years later, my arms were still empty, desperate to hold my baby. I never knew I could miss someone I had never met. I begged him to spend our precious savings on procedures that doctors said would help us conceive. After all of the years he spent convinced that I was the problem with our fertility, we were told it was not me. I don’t think he ever accepted that. I know it has to be a blow to a man’s ego….You can’t give your wife babies. So pay for the stupid procedures! Do what you must in order to see these same green eyes looking back at you from the high chair, watch me tie up loose auburn curls in a pretty ribbon for her first day of school, or see your hazel eyes looking with an ornery grin out from under his ball cap, or maybe sit by his crib and listen to his soft, whiffling breathing that may, Oh Lord help us, turn into that same, wall-rattling snore. But no. He would not. The “why” of it still escapes me. It’s the biggest heartbreak of my life…never feeling my babies grow inside of me, their kicks, seeing the ultrasound pictures, being proud of my growing belly. The death of a lifelong, cherished dream.
The snoring one was adopted when he was a little boy. Adoption was always on our radar. We knew we wanted to adopt, but we wanted biological children first. Since that dream was fading with each breath, we began to talk about adoption. We spoke to friends and family about it. Different adoption agencies told us that just to begin the process, we would have to give them $5,000-10,000 up front and our names would go on a waiting list for five years. WHAT?! We contacted a private attorney and decided to have him handle everything for us. Through the next eight years, we would have two precious girls come into our lives and change us forever. No, they are not my daughters, nor any other relation, but we are tied by our heartstrings. A forever connection formed between two people desperately wanting to be called those most blessed of names, “Mommy”, “Daddy”, two sweet baby boys, and two young girls, just babies themselves, in situations they were not able to handle.
Thus, our family was formed through the miracle of adoption. Two beautiful baby boys, born seven years apart. We speak openly about adoption in our home. I didn’t want it to be some big surprise or shock that they found out one day, digging through papers or some woman showing up at their college graduation…strike that….medical school graduation…and saying “I’m your real mother!” Nope. I want these boys to know that these precious girls made a very difficult, but loving decision to release them….NOT give them up….willing, lovingly, gently, painfully released them into our arms, our hearts, our family, and allow us to be their parents. These two young birth mothers knew they weren’t ready to be mothers and they were not able to give their babies the things they would need and want. You see, our birth mothers were ages 14 and 15 when they conceived. Babies having babies. They may have needed to be adopted as well. So young. People have tried to encourage us through our two adoption stories (I will write the stories some day! They’re amazing!) and tell us how great we are for adopting these two baby boys. I appreciate the words of affirmation, but I want to say that we aren’t the heroes here. The birth mothers are the heroes. They really know what it means to sacrifice, to love selflessly. They loved their babies, wanted to keep them, to raise and nurture them. It would have been impossible. They had little to no support at home. Neither of the birth fathers were in the picture. They scooted on out of there once they found out a baby was coming. They wanted nothing to do with them. Losers.
Our birth mothers are on my mind a lot. I have pictures of both of them put up for the boys. Someday they will ask and I will show them. My older son, a boy trying to become a man, has her high cheekbones and eyes as black as midnight. He is my tall, dark haired, dark skinned warrior. My little one, so tender hearted, has his birth mother’s rosy little mouth, peaches and cream complexion, and her large round eyes. Legally, we are not bound to keep in touch with the birth mothers, because we wanted closed, private adoptions. For the boys’ privacy and security, we have chosen not to have them as part of our everyday lives, but I do send a letter and pictures through our attorney on the boys’ birthdays. I often wonder how their hearts are. Have they found love? Do they have the joy of other children now? What were their pregnancies like when they were carrying these precious treasures that are growing up to call me Mom? Above all, I wonder how in the world did these girls achieve a level of maturity at such young ages, that they could make such a life-altering decision and handle it with such grace and poise. I remember the days we brought each of the boys home from the hospital. I was nervous, not knowing what to expect. Would there be a scene? Drama? Tears? Yes, tears. But I remember peace. A strength and sense of calm as my sons were placed in my arms for our journey home. Both of our first nights home with the babies, I sat by the bassinette and thought of her. Was she ok? Was she awake or crying or in pain? Did she miss her son? After all, they had been together for all those months, sharing her body, growing together from the first moment. Did she feel lonely? I begged God, “Oh let her never doubt her decision. Give her the assurance that she has done the right thing. Speak to her heart and tell her she picked the right family…the family who will love this boy, raise him to be a great person, give him everything he needs and almost everything he wants. Let her have peace. Comfort her broken heart. Bless her, please.”
Such gifts to be given. I’ll never know how our birth mothers felt during their pregnancies, the adoptions, and the weeks, months, years afterwards. When they are old enough, if it’s their desire to find them and meet them, I will be the first one cheering them on as they walk through that chapter. If I had the blessing of seeing these girls, these givers of perfect gifts to us, what would I say? How do you thank someone who has given you the opportunity to be a mother? I choose not to wait to thank them. I choose to thank them each day, in the way that I raise these boys. May I honor the sacrifices they made so that their sons could have a life that they weren’t ready to provide.
What does that look like? My heart knows what it looks like. Sometimes it’s difficult, painful. I have children to love and to raise, promises to keep, and in the loving and the keeping, I’m often hurting, lonely, lost. My life has had a few heartbreaks, as all lives have. These dark, ugly times have forced me to look inwardly and see who I really am…who I really want to be. My dream is for my sons to look back and remember a happy childhood in which they grew up in a home with a mom and a dad, where they were loved unconditionally, where they learned, grew, and had an absolute blast! I choose their happiness. Theirs. Some days I want to choose differently and walk a different path only to relieve the pain in my heart, caused by another. To walk that path would break their hearts and I will not do that. So yes, some days, it IS an “either-or”. Their joy, their peace of mind, their sense of being loved and cherished…..or mine. It will always be theirs. Always.
There, in the honoring, and the staying, may these beautiful young girls, now women, be heralded as heroes. Givers of themselves. Unselfish. Brave. Loving.