In 2016, Sunday, November 13 is the day that changed our lives forever. On this Sunday last year, I walked into the living room and realized I had missed a phone call from Courtney with Faithful Adoption Consultants. I listened to her voicemail and I think I quit breathing as I heard the words, “the expectant mom of twins wants to talk to you and another family today.” I was shaking when I went to tell Nick, which is basically how we spent the rest of the afternoon waiting for that phone call (which happened two hours later than scheduled).
I’ve never been able to make myself delete that voicemail because it was the start of everything. I’ll occasionally listen to it and just smile as the same emotions come flooding back.
Yesterday was another significant day. It was the Sunday when we loaded up and made the eight hour trip and meet W for the first time. And today I was getting the first glimpse of our sweet boys at a doctor’s appointment. I was blown away last year when she invited me to her ultrasound, but the impact is even more meaningful to me now. I read a quote recently that said, “Adoption is a beautiful picture of redemption. It is the gospel in my living room.” That quote couldn’t be more accurate. I experience it every day as Parker and Campbell crawl on me, kiss me and call me mama. I also see it in their first mama. I have never met a more selfless person than W; her selfless nature and the love she showed us are truly Jesus shining through.
It’s been one year since each of those milestones took place. Last year, I would have said I couldn’t wait to celebrate each one. And of course we are doing that; all of those moments led up to meeting our sons. I reflect on that voicemail and all it signifies: it led to our first conversation with W, our match and our sweet boys. But as I sit here on the other side this year, I have different emotions that I️ never expected. Grief, heartache, loss.
These boys filled a hole in my heart and made me a mama again. But it isn’t lost on me that I️ get the privilege of raising them as my own because of her sacrifice and loss. I️ get to be called mama; she doesn’t. I️ get to experience their milestones and watch them grow; she doesn’t.
I wonder, does she remember the date of the first time we talked or that yesterday was the first time we met face to face? I look at Parker and Campbell and my heart could just burst with how much I love them. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t carry these boys for nine months or that we don’t share DNA; I have loved them from the moment they were placed in my arms.
But there are also times when I look at them that my heart shatters into a million pieces. I look at them, these beautiful, sweet boys she created and my heart will ache. Ache that she doesn’t know the sound of Campbell’s giggle. Ache that she doesn’t know how sweet Parker is or how he loves to snuggle. I wish I could tell her that the color of Campbell’s eyes are as beautiful and unique as hers. I wish she knew that I see her mirrored in Parker’s expressions.
It’s complicated to explain and I probably won’t do it properly. Another quote that I have held dear this year might do it better.
“A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I’m so grateful that she chose life for our boys; I’m grateful that she saw something in our adoption profile and requested a phone call; I’m so grateful that she chose me to be their mother. We have a beautiful story that God wrote for how two of our children would become ours. But adoption isn’t always simple. I can’t ignore the grief and heartache that led them to our family. In three weeks, they will turn one. I can’t wait to celebrate this day (I mean, we have kept two children alive for 365 days. Go us!) But I also face this day with pain and heartache that won’t take place on birthdays for Carson or Annsley. We will get to celebrate their first year, but I will know a piece of their story is missing. We are their mother and father; we have rocked them, held them before surgery, laughed with them and loved them. But I️ can’t ignore that something is missing, a part of their life, their story and the person who created them. I️ wish she could be with us on December 5 and that we could join together to celebrate these two amazing boys we share.
I️ don’t write this to be depressing, but it’s the reality of adoption. It’s hard, messy and often complicated. I️ hope it doesn’t sound like we don’t love adoption and everything it has brought to our family. I️ hope it shows how blessed we are that she chose us to be their parents, that adoption allowed us to build our family. It has taught me more about faith, love and God’s timing than any other experience in my life. I️ also hope it shows just how amazing birth mothers are. She will forever be our hero and the bravest person I️ know. But we can’t ignore that grief is a part of the story.
It’s national adoption month and I️ thank God that he picked adoption to grow our family. I️ remember FAC telling us that all the paperwork, money and stress would just fade away when we met our baby. Wow, how right they were! But I️ also can’t mark this month without recognizing the woman God placed in our lives and that we only gained this life because of what she gave up.