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For Real...

I’ve been thinking a lot…a lot about Ethan’s birth mother. I’ve been trying to formulate some thoughts to try and articulate how I’ve been feeling about her…so here we go.
First of all – adoption is complicated. The relationship between birth parents and adoptive parents is complicated. When we first started talking about adoption, I’ll admit I had real mixed emotions about how this relationship would evolve. Just the term birth mother made me somewhat uncomfortable. The idea that my child could have another family out there who he could have a relationship with over time, made me nervous and insecure. I read other adoption stories where the adoptive parents described their open adoptions with a level of emotion I found – well, rather fake. I just couldn’t fathom it. Really? For real? It was easy to just focus on my dream of being a mother and look past the woman who would make me one. And then it happened to us.
Meeting Ethan’s birth mother was a nerve wracking experience, to say the least. I had trouble sleeping, trying to imagine what the conversations would be like. Trying to imagine how I would feel about her and how she would feel about me. But in my wildest imagination, I could not have predicted how my heart would open to her. How my thoughts would drift to her each evening. How I would pray fervently not just for the health of the baby, but for her. For her safety. For her future. For her heart.
People ask about her a lot – I know you have questions. Please know that I will be guarded about how much I tell you. This is intentional. I love this woman. I want to protect this woman from scrutiny, from judgment. I want to protect Ethan from this as well.
Here is what I will tell you. She has had a rough go of it. Life has not been easy for her. She has made bad decisions that are hard for me to understand. She has struggled with vices that are completely foreign to me in my sheltered, middle class comfort zone. And yet…
She loved this baby boy. She recognized her difficult circumstances and wanted something better for this baby. She looked through family profiles and chose US. She saw in us the love she wanted surrounding this baby. She saw past Matt’s disabilities and knew we’d be great parents – something I worried no one ever would. She gave us the most amazing, unimaginable, life-altering gift – her child.
Each night when things are quiet and I’m snuggling sweet Ethan one last time, I study his face. His eyelashes are growing longer, his cheeks are filling out, his blond hair is coming in, his nose is simply perfect…and I think of her. My eyes fill with tears at the enormity of humble gratitude I feel towards her. I whisper to Ethan that I will do everything in my power to give him all that she hoped for him. I kiss his checks and tell him how much I love him and I whisper prayers of thanksgiving.

Even though I will never be able to understand or condone all her life circumstances – it doesn’t matter. She made me a mom. She gave us a gift we can never repay. I will always love her – and I can assure you, it is for real.

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