Thoughts on Being an Adoptive Mom…
People who are interested in adopting sometimes approach me with questions. I love that. I help as much as I can, although any adoptive parent would agree that each case is very unique. I’ve shared my story here about my long road to becoming a mother. Now I can tell you what life is like on the other side, a few years later.
Highlights over the past three and a half years include countless days at the park, weekly outings with Nana and Papa, and snuggling together every night.
She went from being a terrified girl who knew just basic English words on her first day of pre-school to a confident, excellent reader and well socialized, soon-to-be second grader. We’ve had soccer games and Christmas plays and many play dates with friends who’ve become near and dear to both of us.
We’ve had two trips to Disney World and the same amount of trips to the emergency room. Suffice to say, I’ve aged a lot. My smile lines are more pronounced (that’s a good thing) and while I never felt like a grinch before, I’m sure my heart has grown a few sizes.
Being a mother changes a person in many ways. The obvious being, my whole world went from revolving around my needs and wants to revolving around what’s best for my daughter. She is in my thoughts 24/7 and every decision… from the smallest to the largest… is automatically weighed by how it will affect her.
As for the not always obvious changes….
I have never before experienced a confluence of joy, excitement, anxiety and dread, coupled with overwhelming responsibility. The joy and excitement come from watching her grow into the beautiful person she is. No matter what goes wrong during my day, I have her to come home to and that brings me a sense of peace and contentment that I have never experienced. She has filled my heart beyond imagination.
While she is the center of my universe, the same is true for her with me and that can be a heavy load. As a parent, your child is constantly learning from you, even when you’re not paying attention.
I picked her up from school the other day and before I could get a word out, she asks me, “How was your day, Sweetheart?” I melt.
I hate to admit this, but she’s also repeated some other words she’s heard me say that I wished she didn’t!
Being a parent means your little ones are going to duplicate your expressions and mannerisms, as well as your words. My signature dance moves, as embarrassing as they are, are now hers.
Don’t let anyone tell you that biology is responsible for the apple not falling far from the tree. I’d like to think she is my mini me. Only better.
Almost every parent would agree that all they want is for their children to be happy and healthy. This is where the anxiety and dread can come in. When she’s sick or hurting, there’s absolutely nothing worse.
We were driving the other day when I hear her start to cry because she saw a dead raccoon in the road that had been hit by a car. Not a pleasant sight, for sure, but she has real tears streaming down her cheeks and offers a prayer out loud, “Awwww, that poor guy….Jesus, please help him.”
Two days later, we drove on the same street and passed him again and she looked at me with profound confusion.
“Mommy, why didn’t Jesus take him to heaven yet?”
Ummmm… just another question I wasn’t quite prepared for. The challenges… and the chuckles… are endless.
I want her to stay innocent and untarnished forever, to always believe in happily ever after and that every raccoon has a family to go home to, but of course that won’t happen. As a parent, you dread whatever inevitable heart breaks and disappointments are to come in the future that no one escapes in this life.
Like never before, I’m learning the lesson of trying to live in the moment. For now, I’m savoring this magical time.
I definitely look at life differently. Even the stories I cover, I see through the lens of a mother.
My recurrent and automatic thoughts go to things like:
-A teachers’ strike means those poor parents have to find childcare…
-That fire fighter has a mom, I bet she’s worried about him right now….
Yes, I am a mom. And I love it.
Is it different being an adoptive parent versus a biological parent? I can’t speak about the latter, but my daughter and I are connected through our hearts and I can’t imagine any bond stronger. I know God brought us together for a reason.
To anyone thinking about adoption, these are just a few of the wonderful, endearing and even raw feelings and moments you have to look forward to.
I know the deep pain of longing to be a parent and hitting roadblocks. It hurts. You have my prayers. God has a plan. Hang in there. I often think about the many paths my life could’ve taken….how many times I thought a roadblock was the answer I didn’t want and it was simply a reroute to bring me to my daughter.
My REAL daughter.
The road getting there is often difficult but life on the other side is rewarding beyond your wildest imagination.