When I dreamt of being a parent, I always dreamt of being an adoptive parent. I planned and read and prepared. I dreamt of all the fun and wonderful things we would do together. I saw a future of snuggles and hugs and Christmas Mornings. I knew by watching friends and family that being a mother was one of the greatest joys in life. And truly, it is. When Tanner was born I discovered how much I truly did love being a mom. I love everything about it. I love the craziness, the tears, the diapers, the snuggles, the joy. Truly becoming a mother was the best, and most important day, of my life.
When I met Greg and Eric I was meeting my SONS. I got to be their MOTHER. I would get to raise them and love them and be loved by them. They were my dream come true. The children I had prayed for and hoped for and longed for. I would get to watch these amazing two little boys grow into amazing men. I would get to shape them and provide them countless opportunities. I would get to be their MOMMY. It was truly one of the very best days of my life.
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That is what that first day was like for my sons. Without the maturity of years and experience they had no idea that they would learn to love me. I was a stranger. I looked different, talked different and smelled different. They were losing EVERYTHING they knew. On top of that they were losing many things they had no idea about yet - their country, their connection to their community of birth, their culture. And I was the one doing it to them. Not their birth parents or their foster parents or a social worker or a nameless judge. ME. I was creating their very worst nightmare. I was taking them away from all they knew, loved or cared about. Just like every other child placed into the arms of a stranger.
At that time, on that day, what was my dream come true was their worst nightmare.
Of course there is more to the story in the life of a child than that first day and I fully realize and advocate that there were (and are) many, many very good reasons why adoption might be in the long term best interest of a child or baby, but at the heart of it, at the very beginning of it, adoption starts in enormous loss. I gained everything from becoming their mother, but on that day and at that point my sons lost everything that was important to their toddler selves.
The adults may know and understand why adopting our children is best, and why they will hopefully one day understand, but we also need to know that at that moment in time to the tiny newborn who can't find the only mother it knows or the scared toddler aching for a foster mom or orphanage caretaker, that we are the wrong mom. We are the enemy at the centre of the nightmare of loss and change they are enduring.
Understanding that fact opens our hearts and minds to let our children grieve, to push us to focus on attachment, to truly understand that our journey as parents is not our children's journey as adoptees. To hold to the knowledge that even though our family started in loss, and at times the journey together might be very hard, and sometimes sad and lonely, that it can still be a wonderful journey. We love our children and we are family too.