It’s kind of funny…when you are talking about a family with adoption in its family tree and hear the words “real mom” people tend to think of the birth mom…the woman who created this baby and carried it for 9 months and gave birth to it. When in fact the woman who raises the child is the “real mom” . This is the woman who bravely and unselfishly takes that baby when another woman cannot – for a variety of reasons. She holds, rocks, and bonds with this baby. She feeds, clothes and bathes the child. She has many sleepless nights with illness, teething, colic and nightmares. She gets the unpleasant jobs – changing the exploding poopy diaper, catching throw up in her hands, killing scary spiders, pulling inanimate objects from unknown places, and bandaging all the owies. It’s the woman that teaches her child right from wrong, how to share, be kind, don’t lie, respect others, play fair, and love fully. She cries when her child goes off to kindergarten for the first time and wonders where all the time has gone – even if that child is only 5. She gets to see the first steps, hear the first words, feel the soft kiss and gentle hug. She has a collection of homemade cards, gifts and notes that were carefully created out of crayons, glue and glitter. She has a hardest job, but also gets all the rewards of being called “Mom”… This person is the REAL MOM. While I am one of those real moms, I am also the birth mom that admires, respects, envies, prays for, thanks and is at times a little jealous of the REAL MOM. I will always have a connection with this woman – a woman I dont know and have never met…a stranger. Someday maybe our paths will cross and we will meet. She did what I could not do all those years ago and continues to do today. Thank you Joshua’s real mom.
I love board games. Growing up we played Monopoly, Parcheesi, Life, Operation, Checkers – all the games of childhood. Every once in awhile we would open up a game and find various other game pieces inside – the little hat from Monopoly would be in the Life box, a checker in the Operation box etc etc. Easy problem to solve – you just put it back where it goes…. But what do you do in the real game of LIFE when you are a game piece and you end up in someone else’s game of LIFE? That is me. I am a game piece – I know where I belong...with my family – my husband and my two daughters and I love it there and wouldn’t change a thing with our game. But I also want to be in a different game – at the same time – another person’s game of LIFE – Joshua’s. But the rules, game pieces, game board are all so different in that game. I am a red plastic checker trying to play Monopoly – does it work? Is it possible to be in two games at once? Dice can, play money can, playing cards can – can I? I am good at my game and welcome new pieces – especially the “birth son” piece – My game and all it’s pieces and rules welcome the new piece. Does his? I dont know the rules of his game of LIFE – what is expected of me? what is my role? what is too much? what isnt enough? Do the other pieces in his game accept me? approve of me? I am an old chipped game piece that wants to finally fit into a shiny new game – is that right? Or is this a whole new game of Life that we make up the rules as we go??
Think of the number of people that frequent a coffee shop. You see people sitting there and wonder what is their story… the tired person not quite awake needing one more cup of coffee, professionals meeting for a business appointment, stay home moms needing adult conversation and caffeine while their kids play, senior citizens meeting to play cards, a person enjoying free wi-fi and a cup of coffee in peace, old friends catching up over a cup and let’s not forget all the people just stopping in for their coffee drink to go.
My reason was quite different THIS time. I was going to meet my birth son for the first time. After a couple weeks of getting to know each other through a series of emails…he was ready to meet. I was thrilled. I told him to pick the time and place and I would be there! So he did – our local coffee chain – Saturday May 29 – 1:30. A date that I will always remember. The week leading up to our meeting was looong. Saturday couldn’t get here fast enough. I was nervous, excited, no words to really describe it. I couldn’t eat…couldn’t sleep…but all I COULD do was think about it. I surrounded myself that week with tasks to complete, friends to hang out with, busy stuff to make each day go by quickly without much thought….I guess it was my “nesting” phase. 🙂 The day came – I was thankful for my god daughter’s 3rd bday party in the morning to help take my mind of my nerves (and that it was her birthday!!) So nervous I actually turned down cake! After the party – I stopped at home, gathered my thoughts and decided I would go early…that would help settle my nerves – I had NEVER in my life been so nervous for anything – I couldn’t focus on anything but meeting him. I had it planned to get the couch vs. sterile table and chairs. I would sit and wait and look everytime the door opened. I got there early – walk over to the couch area…he was already there – sitting reading his book and in the same seat I was going to pick – (ok, coincidence or just also enjoyed a comfy chair). I say “So you came early too!?” – that broke the ice…He stood up – TALL like his dad. I asked him if it was wierd if I gave him a hug and he said no….so I did. The first few minutes I felt as tho we kept looking at each other in disbelief and thinking “This is so wierd (in a good way) and so great” . The next 3 hours we spent laughing and talking and getting to know one another in person. The time went by so fast…we both wanted to go forward with this new relationship – slowly. We walked out together – hugged and said our good byes. I was on such an emotional high. He was this wonderful polite, all together wonderful young man. I couldnt help but think of his mom and dad – what a great son they had raised and how thankful I got to finally meet him and be in his life after 22 years. This truly was one of the best days of my life – same level as marrying Mike and getting my two beautiful daughters…..
When you look up “email” in the dictionary you get the following:
e-mail /ˈiˌmeɪl/ Show Spelled[ee-meyl]
1. a system for sending messages from one individual to another via telecommunications links between computers or terminals.
2. a message sent by e-mail: Send me an e-mail on the idea.
–verb (used with object)
3. to send a message to by e-mail.
But, to me it it is more than a simple exchange of words between computers. It is the giving and taking of personal information, getting to know a person, telling stories full of emotion and building a foundation for a relationship to be built on….
After first hearing from Joshua – the weeks to follow were spent exchanging emails and getting to know one another. A little overwhelming – how do you write in black and white type font and convey feelings, emotion and heartfelt stories? The ” 🙂 ” only goes so far! But I tried. We exchanged random things about one another – both serious and silly. I told him how someday I would love to tell him my side of the story about everything. Not that my story was different than the one his dad would have told him, but it was MINE – with MY thoughts and MY emotions. But thought that it might be something we talked about in person. But he didnt want to wait to hear it – so I sat down at my emotionless keyboard and turned my black and white type into a story full of emotion and honesty – in hopes that all the feeling I put into it would not get lost in the sending. It felt so good to finally after 22 years be able to tell him MY thoughts and feelings behind all my decisions – which were all out of doing what I thought was best for him.
The email I got in response from him made me feel like all my decisions WERE the right ones at the time and that I had answered some pretty heavy questions he had. And he reassured me that he did have the wonderful life I had always wanted for him with a wonderful family. All the years of wondering how he was – he was good! And the part that surprised me – he was this wonderful person who let me open up and tell MY story and he wasnt mad or angry, but thankful to have questions about his life answered. What a gift. It also answered my questions – how he was, what he knew and how he felt TODAY about it all. All the heavy stuff was on the table – open for discussion – honesty and emotion conveyed through email.