Today is World Adoption Day. The day where we recognize all the families who have opened their doors to children who are not their own by blood, but their own by choice. This is the day where we who have been adopted thank our parents for giving us a fresh start, a new beginning. This is the day where we see that love is a choice, and we are grateful that love chose us.
I have thanked my parents for their choice, for their sacrifices. I try to thank them often, not just on days like these. I hope they don’t need a holiday set aside to know that I love them and I appreciate them and everything they’ve done for my brother and I. I’m not exactly good with words or these types of things, for some reason it makes my throat swell up and my words come out funny. But I try my best.
But there is one person I have not thanked much, if at all. The one person whose choice was the choice that had a lifelong impact on me. That person who carried me into this world and watched two strangers carry me out of her world.
I am the same age as she was when she had me, and I can’t imagine expecting a child. I can barely drink coffee without staining my shirt, much less have a child. I think of how scared she must have been, how alone she was. Her parents didn’t approve. In fact, they turned their backs on her. She had no one. I can’t imagine being alone with a baby on the way, or how afraid and lost she felt.
I won’t lie. I was resentful. I was confused. I was angry. I didn’t always understand why she gave me up, and people have told me over the years that she did it for me. And I believe that. But I want her to say she did it for her too. I want to hear that she did it because she wasn’t ready, that she couldn’t afford a child. Because now that I am her age, I can’t imagine being able to provide for another human being. Now I understand. Now I get it.
A few months ago, I got a friend request from her on facebook. It had been more than a decade without hearing from her. I guess I got all of my looks from my biological father, for this woman on my computer screen looked nothing like me. I found myself without words. This woman was suddenly not just someone I thought about from time to time. She was real, a tangible person. She wanted to speak to me. But I found myself not wanting to talk. It wasn’t the lack of words. It was the thousands of questions I could ask, the hundreds of things I could say.
And I am still working on this. I am still trying to understand. I am still trying to decipher my feelings, my emotions, my hurts and my pains. And that’s okay. But one day I hope I will be able to tell her thank you. One day I hope that I will be able to stand face to face with her and tell her about my life and show her how loving the couple she chose to give me to are. One day I hope that I’ll be able to hug her and maybe hear my own laugh in her voice, or see the same eyes as mine smiling back at me. One day, after I’ve stopped dwelling on my hurt and confusion, I will tell her that I love her and I am grateful for bringing me into this world on her own. One day I will tell her that I know she gave me up because she wanted the best for me and that I don’t hold that against her. One day maybe I will ask all the questions I grew up wondering. One day maybe I will meet my half siblings. One day.
But on this day, I will remind myself that love is about choices. Sometimes when you love something so much, you have to things up and ignore what you want. She chose to give me a better chance. My parents chose to welcome me into their life and their world. Both choices were choices of unconditional, selfless love. Both choices represent what true love is. And I am grateful that I have this representation of love in my life. I am grateful for my parents. I am grateful for my birth mother. I am grateful for adoption. I am grateful for choices.