People often wonder why adoptive parents are hurt when their children seek out biological roots. I have the answer, and it's very simple. Adoption - at its core - makes us question the legality, authority, voracity, and validity of parenthood. For most adoptive parents, first you must come to terms with an issue that strikes at the foundations of mortality: fertility. From birth, most of us are driven to form families. First we are nestlings, nurtured and weened and eventually taught to fly. Then we are nest-builders, filling our lives with the stuff necessary to drive life forward. Knowledge, safety, money, a sturdy home - all fluff for the nest. Then we fill the nest, in various ways. In our prime we are driven (and built) to procreate. We are healthy, vibrant, hormonal beings.
There is no lesson manual for the empty nest.
I recognize that our experience as a family is somewhat unique. Our first child, your brother, is biological. The birds and the bees knew just want to do. But then came waiting.
And an empty hole that just wouldn't fill.
I had to learn to accept that the natural order of things was different for us. And this was not an easy lesson. I had to learn that being a woman isn't only about having babies in my womb. It is much more, and sometimes much less. My identity was not tied to my loins. This was a tearful, painful, still-ongoing lesson.
Turning to adoption means turning over control, means opening yourself up to examination, means explaining your flaws, means surrendering to the unknown. Once you have given up the last vestiges of hope, once you are laid low with grief - only then can you be open to the spiraling joy of adoption.
your ownership of your name, of your birthday, of your parents, of your future.
The afterward of your adoption story is what brings us here today, to this letter. You see, I've never made it a practice to carry around your birth certificate or order of adoption because (in my mind) it's just not necessary. I have never been asked to prove your brother is mine. I have never been forced to provide documentation that I am his mother.
You, on the other hand...
Three times I have been asked to stake my claim since Gotcha Day:
First, when I wanted to get your ears pierced. They wanted papers before they would put a post through your ear. And I was furious. I know without doubt that if your Godmother,
Michelle, had brought you that day, they would not have asked for any proof.
Second, when I needed a social security card. No ordinary birth certificate with my name and yours would do. I needed court documents signing you over to me. While this was reasonable, I was still angry.
And third, today, the Dr's office wanted proof that you belong to me. And it stings.
What must I do to prove you are mine? A little slip of paper means more than the boogers on my shirt, than the sleepless nights, than the diapers and laundry and dirty rooms I've cleaned. That creased, blue and white paper has more worth than the stories, pretending, playing, reading we've done. More worth than the hours of worry, the moments of joy, the quiet seconds when you head rests near my heart.
It means more to the Dr's office, anyway.
So, someday, when you come to me searching for your blood roots, I'll help you find them. I'll dig up the painful past, I'll hold your hand while you confront the goods and bads, I'll walk down that road if you ask me to.
But it will hurt.
Because you belong to me
no matter what those papers say.