The truth is, the past year or two has been some of the hardest years I’ve had to face so far. It’s not because of one pivotal moment that shifted the course of my life, but rather a compilation of things that has caused a vicious storm. One where I cling to my boat with all my might, my nails digging in deep to keep from being lost forever. Out in the sea of all my troubles and woes.
There are so many little issues in my life, it was manageable at one time. When we decided to adopt, I knew it was going to be hard and at times it would feel impossible. And so we went in prepared, knowing what to expect and not allowing for those surprises. But what hurt the most, the thing I never saw coming was how different I would feel. How relationships would fold and how those little issues in our life would become mountains in the end.
The thing is, if I had become pregnant things would be a lot more different. I would fit in with all my friends. I would pose for pictures and hold my belly. I would have all my family gather at the doctors as we excitingly discovered the gender of our little baby. We would throw a gender reveal party and cut a cute cake. We would have showers galore and play all those fun pregnancy games. I would feel and look the part. The mother part.
But the truth is, I stood alone in a corner watching all the other women celebrate and smile for pictures. Pictures that would go in their baby albums forever. I watched as they cut the cakes and discovered a sweet baby boy or girl. I attended the endless baby showers and played all the endless games. I listened to all the moms exchange their birthing stories and laugh about things only a pregnant woman would know.
But when you are adopting, things are so untraditional, complicated, confusing, no one knows what to do. And you miss out on all those little things that make you feel special. Normal. Your babies miss out on being passed around. Snuggled. Spoiled. Celebrated. Because adoption is a messy thing. You don’t know who you will bring home. What gender or age. What ethnicity or past. No baby pictures or belongings. Just a face known only to the system.
And after a while, adoption loses it’s appeal. People forget and move on. There is no count down to a due date. Just a future of the unknown. And the unknown scares people.
And the saddest part is, you end up being alone in the end. I watch. I listen. I force a smile. Fight back tears. Say the right things. Pretend I feel normal. I try desperately to look the part. Act the part. But there’s no use. I am not normal by any means.
But what is it about being a non-traditional mother that leaves you feeling so different?
The thing is, I felt like a mother the first day we brought our little ones home. I felt that twang of emotion when I first held our two month old baby boy. And I’ll still cry when they go to their first day of kindergarten. I’ll be concerned when they go on their first date. I’ll be excited when they find the one they want to marry. I’ll be a basket case watching them walk down the isle. I’ll celebrate when they have their own children – natural OR adopted.
I’ll be acting the part. The mother part. Because I love my babies. They are my very own. No matter how the world may accept and treat us. They will forever be my own.
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