Saturday, May 16, 2009

How Adoption Has Changed the Way I See Mother's Day

Disclaimer: The below post is written as promised but the feelings expressed below haven't been worked out yet. So keep your expectations low and your mind open.

Mother's Day

When I was a child, Mother's Day was complicated. It was a day to share my thanks for all the things Mary did every day. But it was also a day that reminded me of my first mother. Because of that, I felt confused, sad, angry and everything in between.

When I was just about to give birth to Jacob, Mother's Day arrived with a touching little note from my unborn son. I'm not proud of it but I remember wishing there was more to it. I think I had it in my head that the day was supposed to be this spectacular event, one where I felt showered with love, attention and appreciation. What I discovered every year after is that it's not about "stuff," it's about love. Ask anyone I've worked with and they'll tell you, I walk around with the coffee mug from my first Mother's Day, made especially by my almost one-year-old son, like it's the best thing ever. Because to me, it is.

Over the past few years, Mother's Day has become a day to slow down -- no plans, no parties, just us. We buy a little something for our mothers up north and back east... and I usually am way behind in actually sending them, just like this year. Do you notice a pattern there in my posts?

Last year, Mother's Day arrived just hours after I got off the plane from visiting Lucy in Taiwan. It was a day filled with mixed emotions -- grateful to have the day with my boys, but a piece of me still in Taiwan with my little girl.

This year, I was all over the place. While the feelings from when I was a little girl remain... the feelings of exhilaration that my family is together pump through my blood and make me feel like the happiest girl in the world. But this year, I found my thoughts constantly wandering to a new place -- Lucy's first mom.

When we were researching and discussing adoption, one reason we went international was to avoid the "messiness" of an open adoption. We weren't interested in bringing another family into ours, creating questions, feelings and confusion that we didn't think we were prepared for or equipped to deal with. Call us selfish but it's important to know your strengths and weaknesses when venturing on such an important path and those were our feelings.

But since Lucy has actually come home to us, I find myself thinking of her first mom regularly -- Would she see how much we love Lucy? Would she judge us for all the mistakes we make? I can't help but wonder how the rest of Lucy's first family are feeling. Are they regretting giving her up and her moving halfway across the world? Do they talk about her? Keep a picture of her on the mantle? Every child has a story -- Lucy is no different. While I don't find it necessary to go into hers here, I do wonder about extended people in her first family and how they've coped with the loss of a vibrant, beautiful, animated, opinionated ball of fire in their lives.

Do they have any idea what they're missing? I do.

And I feel so sorry for them. And with every passing day, I think of all the questions I have for them and the things I want to tell them. Maybe there will be a day when we can have some contact through our agency and Lucy can get more information about where she came from. But for now, I will just think good thoughts for them, hoping Lucy's first mom is looking down, wherever she is, and is proud of her daughter.

Because I know we are.


Michelle said...

I can tell you that as much time that we spend with you, you are amazing parents to all three of your children. Lucy is just the icing on the cake!

Anonymous said...

Jackie - so many times I find that your written feelings are so like mine. I totally recognize the Mother's Day feelings - and just to let you know - I still have them. "do they know - do they care - wouldn't they like to see this beautiful creation that we were gifted and trusted with" - those are my questions - yet - I don't want their answers. I don't want 'them' part of our lives.

I have felt from the moment we chose adoption, that God would bless us with the child He chose for us to have - and today, there isn't a doubt in my mind that that is exactly what happened.

Yet - on that very special day of the year, I sometmes yearn for the 'completness' of making her my biological daughter - the actual process of giving birth - oh God, how I wish I had done that - I want to be that woman that gave her life, gave her talent, gave her beauty. I'm not, and I don't question the love or that she is my daughter. I know that the person my daughter has become is because she took the best of what her dad and I taught her, made decisions and choices of her own, and is the wonderful woman we all know and love. i'm sure you understand, as any adoptive mother would. We've always said, she grew in my heart, not my tummy and while my tummy didn't get bigger, my heart grew and grew and grew. She gave me that.
On my daughter's birthday - every year since her 1st - the first and most important part of that day is saying a prayer for the birth mother that somehow, she feels at peace with her decision, that in her heart she knows the beautiful child we love and enjoy is beautiful, healthy, whole and happy.

Someday I'd like to write a letter to that woman and thank her for this most beautiful gift she enabled us to have. Someday I will - and it will be on Mother's Day that I write that letter.

crazy4chapstick said...

great post! i've never really thought about all that before...thanks for shedding some light on it.

momwithfaithandhope said...

Your post hit home. Your ability to express your feelings in words is a gift. I remember last year like it was yesterday. I, too, still have mixed emotions on Mother's Day. You are a wonderful Mom to Lucy, mistakes included! And I'm certain wherever Lucy's birth mother is, that her heart is at peace knowing Lucy is with you. Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

Anonymous said...

I think for any mother, the main desire is that her child is loved and well-taken care of. Sure, you'll make mistakes, but honestly, so would she. For whatever reason, whatever circumstances, they couldn't care for that precious girl and thank God you chose to! Lucy is so very lucky to be a part of your family!

RP Mom said...

What a beautiful post.

Momisodes said...

You mentioned to keep our expectations low, but I hope you know how moving your post was. I'm all misty eyed here.

I can certainly understand your thoughts regarding her first mother. And I am sure she would see how much you love Lucy. Hopefully it is your love for her that she will find solace in. Wherever she is.

Maci Miller said...

Oh, this is beautiful and made me tear up a bit. I felt the same way this Mother's day about Ruby's mom, even though she isn't home yet.