***** I am somewhat overwhelmed at the response to my last post. I thank you for your comments, your emails, the facebook messages and even the phone calls. *****
Fear, insecurity and jealousy are not the only emotions I feel during our visits with the girls' family. They aren't even the most dominant emotions I feel. I sometimes feel joy and peace. I am committed to our relationship. I love her and I love how the girls love her too. I respect her role in our lives, and I respect that it is her decision that made me their mother too. And yet, that ugliness, that humanness, that realness is still there.
When I think about why it is so easy for me to celebrate the love my children have for friends and family, and why I still twinge when those conjoined feelings of jealousy and insecurity rear their heads during visits with their biological family, I think it simply lays bare the reality that is adoption.
Deep down, somewhere I don't want to look or even admit exists, I must secretly believe that their mother holds the Ultimate Trump Card in our relationship, and in the relationship I have with our shared children.
I might be married and stable and secure. I might have a home, a driver's license and a car. I might have never had my parenting deemed unacceptable and have my children removed from me against my will (*** which is the case in our situation and certainly not the case in every adoption***) I might spend 99.999999% of the time with the girls. I might be the one that reads them every bed time story, gets 99.999999% of every snuggle, gives every bath, takes them on every vacation, see every first, hear every sob and every giggle. I might be the one they call mommy and I might be the one that gets to raise them until adulthood.
BUT, and this is a big BUT, at the end of the day I am not their only mother. I am not their biological mother. And to many in the world I am not their REAL mother. And, of course, ultimately, that is what I wish I was and probably ultimately what every biological mother not raising her children wishes she was too. THE mom. The ONLY mom.
I still feel this. I, who chose being an adoptive parent as a first choice. I, who never struggled with infertility. I, who not only tolerate the fact that some my kids are different from me genetically but in fact CELEBRATE that fact. I, who have spent years nurturing friendships with first moms and adoptees and understanding their stories; shedding tears on their behalf. I, who believe in fighting for justice and openness and fairness.
I, who have actively pursued a relationship with all our kids relatives, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Jen, who sells openness everywhere she writes. I, who have pictures of our kids other parents displayed prominently in our home. I, who encourages visits and nurtures relationships and who believes in this process.
And still I struggle. I hate to admit it, I was terrified to admit it, but still I do. I don't want to. I want to be secure and confident and of course I am working at getting there. But these children hold my heart and nothing matters more to me in life than being loved by them and being valued by them. Being a mom - THEIR MOM - is who I am. Being a good mom is intrinsically tied to my sense of self and there is no award, no degree, no prize I want from life other than at the end of the day for my children to love me half as deeply as I love them and to say I was a good mother.
I will work this through. I will talk about it so that maybe others will know they are not alone. I will lay myself bare - stark and naked - with the ugliness and possessiveness and fear apparent so that we can talk about these feelings.
And so I suppose, despite my feelings, there is no Trump Card in this process of relationship building. These are OUR children. This is our reality. This is the reality of adoption. And sometimes, love bites. Just ask Jayde.