If I’m being 100 percent honest with myself, and with you, I wasn’t completely certain two years ago that my feelings would ever change. How can you really know in the deepest part of your heart that you’ll undoubtedly love a child born from another womb as you would a biological child? You can say yes, and perhaps you’d mean it, but despite me saying it there was a tiny part of me that was really scared I’d be wrong. That the love would not feel equal. After all, while I know what a profound gift adoption is and for many it’s their first option, it was my second (unexpected) choice. I would have carried another child if I could.
Pregnancy and babies and all of it is so overwhelming, and with adoption, the future of your life and that of your family is so out of your control on so many levels.
Then it hit me a few weeks ago. I was driving, excited to see our little guy after work, when I realized I hadn’t thought about his adoption in a really long time. During the first few months, I never thought a day could go by where he’d just feel like ours. Simple as that. Irrelevant which womb he was born from, just that he was ours.
When you first adopt, like having a baby in general, it’s a rush of every emotion. People everywhere, a million questions, getting accustomed to a new life in your home, and your new life. In many ways, there are only a handful of differences compared to carrying your baby to term, but in others, it’s so profoundly different.
You don’t sit at night in preparation feeling the baby kick. You don’t find yourself rubbing your belly or singing to the little guy. You stress that the birth mother will change her mind. Or, that she could be eating poorly, doing drugs or somehow harming your growing baby without you knowing.
Some people prepare a room for the baby. We did not, partly because I’m superstitious, partly because we had a daughter we didn’t tell until things got really real, and partly because, anything can change. We had already had a failed adoption, and in Florida, the birth mother still has 48 hours after baby is born. Terrifying.
Once we brought him home, I struggled to find time to bond. Ok, I’m not a huge baby person I realized but still. It was close to the holidays and our daughter’s birthday, in addition to a ton of client work… that’s what happens when you own your own business and no one sees you pregnant for nine months!).
For the first year, and likely even when I wrote this, he was absolutely ours but I couldn’t really ignore that “adopted” thing… Not in a bad way at all, actually in many ways, in a proud, blessed way, but I guess just different than the norm. When a doctor would ask us, if I was the birth mother, something inside me just felt sad. Like, why should it matter?! (Ok, in doctor terms it absolutely does but… )
But then, you remember. We picked him. He picked us. We are meant to be. We are destined for each other in such a magical way that you can’t even compare. He absolutely grew in all of our hearts.
Holy shit this kid is so cute and lovable and his smile and giggles make the world go ’round. My eyes are filling with tears just thinking about the million ways I love him and couldn’t imagine another baby boy. He’s so ours. While he came into our lives differently than our daughter, the love is so equally profound and special.
I decided on his first birthday that I wouldn’t write about the process here again. Where would the value be, I thought.
But, I also know that so many of you, friends, readers, who are dealing with infertility, with the debate over adoption, IVF, etc. A few people have asked personal questions about these feelings and I can almost hear others I don’t know as well circling around this because they wonder how it will feel not physically carrying the baby. Will they love him or her? Will he or she really feel like theirs? Those are scary, BIG questions. I get it. It’s hard to face that reality.
Life clearly doesn’t always come at you like you intended and sometimes it’s hard as hell. Just because it didn’t happen as you had planned doesn’t mean that it wasn’t meant to be.
That moment in the car hit me like a ton of bricks. Two years ago I had so much worry that my love, my level of love, wouldn’t be enough or “equal.” Today, I know better. That feeling felt so freeing. Tears started streaming down my face. For my love of him, for happiness for our little family.