I honestly cannot believe a year has gone by already. A year full of anxiety, worry, wonder, amazement, major change and most importantly love. Ellison River Gray came into our lives as a possibility 5 months before he was born. That was a very scary time for my family, the not knowing. When the day came that he was born into this world, the worry of the unknown disappeared and real life took its place. No sleeping, concern how Harper will react to having a sibling, maneuvering how another child impacts our marriage and the amount of time we can dedicate to one another…the list goes on. With these normal life happenings, we were also beginning our journey of 6 months of adoption supervision, feeling as though nothing is final until our day in court arrived.
My first time around I have to say I was in a completely different place regarding adoption. I wanted a child so badly and was scared every step of the way. I dotted all of my i’s and crossed all of my t’s and triple checked that everything was in order at all times. This time around I felt more bothered by the process. I wanted to be left alone. I did not want to send updates about my son and answer questions about how we are adjusting to our new family member. I did not want to be told that “it is normal if you do not love Ellison right away like you love Harper.” The fact is that I did love Ellison right away because of how much I love Harper. I know what it is to love a child…a love I cannot describe exactly because I have never experienced this feeling before I became a mother. (not that I do not love Jason to the moon and back, the love for a child is just different than the love one has for their significant other). These feelings of someone looking over my shoulder have since diminished as we finalized our adoption on May 27th and we now do not have to answer to anyone besides ourselves. This is a relief of course, but also makes me reflect on how emotionally difficult the process of adoption is on so many levels.
I have never felt as though my children were not 100% my children. I do recognize the fact that another woman gave birth to my children. I have so much love and gratitude towards her and save pictures and stories to share with my boys when they are ready. I just want to be able to be a normal family though because that is what I feel like, a normal family full of love, laughter, fights, worry and fun. Do not get me wrong, I love adoption and how I have a family because adoption exists. What I do not love is the stigma around how my family was formed, the racist remarks I hear/read about on a daily basis, the constant questions I get regarding my family and how we were formed and the disregard that Harper is old enough to understand what is being said and the only adoption-related conversations he needs to have are in private with his family. I love to educate on adoption, but I do not want this to be what my family is labeled under “a family formed by adoption.” My children WERE adopted, yes, but they are not adopted children, they are my children…my REAL children.
Ellison turned the big 1 on May 14th and we had a very fun woodland themed birthday party for him. It was so great to celebrate with the people who love our family. I have had to stop associating with some people over this past year who I had thought were very close to our family and ended up being the opposite. It was a hard in the beginning, but one more change made during this year is a change in my acceptance of friends who are just selfish people and/or people who are not able to open their minds and their hearts like I feel they should, at least in order to be around my family. I have also gained some very close and amazing people in my life this year…you know who you are and I cherish you more than I can express.
I do not know how often I will write in this blog at this point in my life, but I am always here to answer adoption process questions for anyone who may be beginning to consider or going through the adoption process. I am here for you…my fellow mothers who may not have given birth to their children, but whose love knows no bounds and whose experiences as a mother are no less normal than if you had birthed your children.