I think once you lose a mother, no other maternal relationships can replace that intimate bond between mother and child. No one can prepare your heart for the confusion it is to live with such a loss while at the same time, having unconditional love and gratitude for those who raised you. Many people don't know that my biological mom died when I was 10, that I was later adopted at 13 years old with my two youngest brothers. I think I was just so desperate to have a mother again, that I walked into my new life with my new family expecting to have the same kind of bond I shared with my biological family. But the truth was and is still today, no matter how much love I have for my parents who chose to raise me, there will always be a disconnect between us. Not only do strangers stare and remind you that you look nothing like the people you call "mom" and "dad", but it's in the every day moments. When you realize that your mom can't understand or can't relate with the life you lived before coming to her. Or when you have a personality completely different to that of an adoptive parent and there doesn't seem to be an effective way to communicate. Adoption is really a beautiful mess, and maybe messier for some and more beautiful for others.
In some ways, I was fulfilling her (my adopted mom's) dream to be a mother, but in my heart there was a deepening void. Even now in my adult life, that void sometimes makes me feel like a kid lost at sea, in the middle of a storm, alone but surrounded with people wanting to pull me out. I thought these feelings would go away by now. No matter how grateful I am for the love and care I received from my adoptive family, there will always be that unknown feeling of incompleteness, a disconnect. It's still hard seeing pictures of my friends out with their moms, it used to just make me sad, now it makes me jealous. I went from having a mom who was my best friend, my life was so tethered to her soul that when she died I felt like I lost all emotional connection with others. Then I went to having a strained relationship with a new mother who tried to love me and raise me in a new environment but didn't know who I was, what I like, or what makes me come alive. I lived in her shadow, always ready to mimic who she was and who she wanted me to be just to keep the peace. In those years I lost a part of myself, that I am still now trying to recover as an adult. When I get confused trying to separate her from myself, I often ask myself questions like, "who was I before?" "What was I like when I was with my birth family?" I think the person I am is a mixed story of two amazing women. One who bore me and birthed me and one who chose me to create a family she's always wanted. No doubt in my mind I was always wanted by both my families. And I wouldn't be who I am or where I am without their care and guidance. Now I am about to raise my own child, but neither of them are here to see me come into this new role, to see their grandson, to learn throughout the process so our wounds can be healed. It's a tough reality. Specially made harder on a day like today. But I feel like being a mom now is God's way of giving me a new start. To feel that inexplicable bond that I lost at such an early age. To learn to love with the same love that my mothers had for me. This post is dedicated to them, to their memories on this earth, to their legacy.
A Letter To Our Babe
Heeyyy our little man,
We're in the second trimester with you and things are going swimmingly, thanks to you. We had your 18 week check up and the doctor said you're perfect! Just like we've been praying. I keep ice cream and green smoothies nearby as a regular occurrence as a reward for your great behavior (yes, bribing you at a young age). You're moving, kicking and squirming so much (specially after I've had my green smoothie) and daddy always has his hands on my belly to feel you. Your daddy feels all my symptoms apparently, he says things like "my back hurts" so I can let him use my pregnancy pillow...
It's just 125 days to go till we meet you and things are about to get so reeaal! That may have scared us into a panic a little seeing how we ran into Target today to pick out your first baby clothes from us. You're entering an amazing tribe of family and friends with people who love you so much already. Your grandpa in Haiti checks on me every week to make sure I am eating and resting (he doesn't really approve of me running 8 miles a week despite knowing that it's to keep you and me great and healthy). Mamma and Pappa are in California and they can't wait to meet you! And your other grandpa in New York can't wait to take you camping and fishing. You are so blessed with the best aunts, uncles and cousins who will dress like Peter Pan any day to play with you. Plus you have so many honorary aunts and uncles who can't wait to play Catan, Quiplash, and Bang! You will always be surrounded by so much joy and love in your life.
This is my daily prayer for you:
"Lord, I pray for a healthy, strong, compassionate baby. Filled with wisdom at a young age, affectionate with me and daddy, loves Jesus early on, smart as a whip, a leader and loving person. Sensitive to your call and touch on his life."
We can't wait to love you even more, laugh with you and go on adventures on with you! We promise to keep it cool because, well, we think we're cool. ;)