Our family became whole because another family fell apart
A co-worker shared a powerful story from Huffington Post with me today. It was one adoptive mother's account of the days from meeting their birth mother to walking away from the hospital with their soon-to-be-adopted daughter in tow. I almost cried reading it because I can relate to the story in many ways, especially the feelings of uncertainty that are ever present until you see the amended birth certificate in the mail.
"Bearing witness to her sorrow, I realize BabyMama is also experiencing three days of labor. As we text and grieve, we experience the contractions of the heart and body and mind together." -Kathleen Dennehy
Our situation was different. The family in the story had to wait for three days in the hospital while the birth mother had to make the impossible decision to surrender her child for adoption. The Kid's foster mom had taken her home from the hospital and cared for her until her birth parent's legal rights to custody were terminated. We met her when she was eight months old.
Adoption has it's own feeling of labor. The paperwork itself is heavier than at least one of Governor Mitt Romney's binders full of women. Depending on the age of the child involved, after all of the paperwork has been complete, you'll have at least six months of check-ins with social workers and child advocates before you get a
court date to complete your adoption. You agonize over every meeting because it only takes one person affiliated with the process to think you aren't the right parent and your dreams of becoming a family are dashed.
Randomly, it hits you that in order for your family to be complete, another family had to fall apart. Another person who wanted to be a parent decided they can't or proved to a court they weren't fit. Another grandmother won't see their grand-baby again. Another Uncle can't spoil their niece or nephew. Another sibling will wonder what happened to their baby brother or sister. Something catastrophic has happened, and it is a grieving process for them too.
Every morning when The Kid walks downstairs for breakfast, I'm thankful for her and the family bond we have been able to build with her. She's a bright, brave, curious, silly, whip-smart kid who has made our little family feel complete, almost like God intended for her to find us.
My prayer for her biological family is they were able to find the peace they needed to heal.