I heard this quote in a little video about mothers, and I liked it: "Every time a child is born, so is a mother". That is how I felt when Jacob was born. That was the day I became a mother. I am always especially grateful to Jacob's birth parents on Mother's Day, when I think of the gift of Motherhood than they gave me when they allowed Rob and me to parent and raise Jacob.
Since it is Mother's Day I thought I would share a few thoughts I had about when I became a mother and an experience that caused me to reflect on it a few months after we had adopted Jacob.
The following are some of the thoughts I had written over 2 years ago...
Last week (over 2 yrs ago) a friend from work invited me to hang out with her and her moms group. I decided to join her and had a nice time. At lunchtime we went to the food court and while there I overheard some of the ladies discussing their children's "birth stories". I was a few seats over from them, so I wasn't engaged in their conversation, but over the noise of the food court I heard the words: labor, epidural, dilated, tired, and c-section, just to name a few. I wondered if they would ask me how Jacob’s birth went, but to be honest, I felt a bit like an outsider. If I had a birth story like theirs it would have been natural to join in. But, I didn't, and I wondered what I would say and how I would share about Jacob’s adoption if they were to ask.
Trust me, I am not embarrassed in the least to tell people about Jacob’s adoption. I just didn't know these ladies that well, and it didn't come up. And I don’t know how much I would’ve actually shared in a noisy food court with people I didn’t even know.
But, the more I thought about birth stories and about what and how I would share of our story, the more I wished I had been asked about his birth. When I think about a “birth story” and what I may have shared, these are a few thoughts that come to mind.
I know a few details about his actual birth I could share, but a huge part of his birth story is his adoption story. So I would obviously share that we adopted Jacob and what that experience was like for us. I might share how anxious I was to hear news about Jacob on the day of his delivery. I might talk about how stressed I was making sure flowers were delivered to his birthmother. And how I was an emotional mess when there was a glitch with the flower delivery. I could tell them about how we went out to dinner to celebrate Jacob’s birthday. Not many new moms can do that.
I could also share how we packed up our favorite snacks and all of his gear, (including more formula than he could probably drink in a month) to take with us as we traveled to meet Jacob for the first time. I might also tell them how the social worker and I were wearing the same style and color shirt when we went to meet up with everyone in the hospital for the first time. Oh well, nothing I could do about it.
Of course I would tell about how Jacob was so cute and little. And how I fell in love with him the minute I laid eyes on him. (I loved him before I had met him, but to see him and hold him, was so special). I would tell about how I got to feed him while I was there and how I was praying he wouldn’t fuss or spit up while I was feeding or holding him. He did great by the way. And how I was trying to just be myself and not stress about things out of my control. I could share how this time while we were in town we had actually found a hotel in the area with a decent bed to sleep on. Not that I slept much that first night. I was too excited and my mind was going a mile a minute. And when I did finally fall asleep, the hospital I worked for woke me up when they called and left a voice message asking me if I could come in and work a shift for them that next morning. Thanks but no thanks for the wake up call. Oh well.
Anyhow, there is much more I could share—about how much Jacob’s birth parents love Jacob and how we are forever grateful to them for choosing Rob and me to be his parents. Perhaps I would have been asked about the process of adoption and if I had been nervous, etc. I would have said, most definitely I was nervous—that is part of the adoption process. But everything worked out. I bet Jacob’s birthparents were nervous as well. I would talk about my love and respect for Jacob’s birth parents. I’m sure I would be asked if we still have contact with them. I would explain a little about how we share pictures or news about Jacob with them. I might tell how the night we adopted Jacob we gave a few gifts to his birth parents and met some of their family members. And then I would share how special it was to drive home sitting in the backseat next to tiny little Jacob while we called family members to share our news with all of them. I would share how happy we were and how excited everyone was to hear about Jacob. As I reread this I feel the same feelings I felt as I wrote it the first time. I am smiling and my heart feels so happy. I am so blessed to have Jacob in my life. These are some things I might share as part of Jacob’s birth story.
Now I have some additional things to add to what I shared from what I wrote over 2 yrs ago. I didn’t write in that journal entry I shared, but I definitely thought about Jacob’s birth parents. I tried to imagine and think about how they might be feeling. We tried to share frequent pictures and text messages in those first weeks and let them know they were in our thoughts and prayers. We all loved Jacob and I could imagine how much they missed him, especially in those first few days and weeks. I was grateful for the love they showed us and the love they continue to show us. They are such amazing and great people. And I hope Jacob’s birth mother feels of our love and remembers we are thinking about her today on this special day--Mother’s Day.
Now another little story to finish things up…
I was actually at a food court this last week with a few moms I didn’t know that well. I was asked if and when I was going to have more kids. I said, we were hoping to adopt again (they didn’t know we had adopted Jacob), and then they asked a few questions about adoption, etc.
I didn’t share all of the lovely and emotional parts of what I just wrote here, but I explained a little bit about adoption and answered their questions. People always want to know when Jacob came home with us and about our relationship with his birth parents. So I shared a bit about that, and then I was asking Jacob if he remembered when he saw his birth parents, (I of course used their names when I asked him, but won’t share them here). His eyes lit up and he smiled when I said their names and I think he repeated them as well. Which made me smile and feel happy.
I shared how the other day while leaving Target, I had a good laugh when Jacob asked me, “Where’s my brother?” (yesterday he also asked where his sister was—so he will be happy with either a brother or a sister). I also told them how Jacob has a book about the human body. He loves this book. It shows a skeleton, muscles, etc.
Also in the book is a page that shows several pictures of a baby growing and developing inside a mom’s belly. He loves to look at those pictures, and has always loved babies. So after I explained a little bit about that page he always talks about how babies grow inside their mommies. He has then tried to say I have a baby in my belly. I have told him I don’t and I have also told him he grew inside his birth mother’s belly. After telling him this I showed him a picture we have of his birth parents when his birth mother was pregnant. I explained to him how he used to be tiny and be inside her belly. I don’t know how much he really understands, but he had seen this picture before, but ever since I pointed that out to him in connection with the other picture in his book, he loves to look at that picture and that makes me happy. I want him to know how much his birth parents mean to us and how much they love him. And I want him to love them as well. I shared a little bit about all this that I wrote with them, and they thought it was really cool. They're right--it is. :)
Adoption is part of Jacob’s birth story. It is a part of our family’s story and I am very grateful it is. I love that as he gets older I can share more of it with him and I hope he will feel how special and loved he is when he hears or thinks about it.
Thank you for taking the time to read it as well. These experiences are dear to my heart.