By Brenda Fisher, Hearth Editor-in-Chief
Photos by Tonya Peterson, Hearth Creative Director
I became a mother at 32. My beautiful first born daughter was the epitome of perfection – big brown eyes, a head of curly brown hair and olive skin. From the first moment I laid eyes on her, I was smitten. But my entry into motherhood was a little different than most women. It was because of the choice of another that I was able to be a mom. I was blessed with motherhood through the gift of adoption.
Adoption blessed my life one more time when my husband and I adopted our two youngest daughters. Three beautiful daughters with a few matching features and very different personalities came into our life and turned it upside down.
Being an adoptive mom really isn’t much different, to be honest with you. About 99 percent of the time, our family isn’t any different than a family with biological children. I deal with dentist appointments, help with homework, fold basket and after basket of clean clothes, and chauffeur my children around to where ever they need to be. It’s pretty boring and ordinary.
But there are a few times that being an adoptive mom is different. When you’re children are young, you are the sun in their universe and they think everything you do is wonderful. Everything just makes sense to young children because they have the amazing ability to simplify even the most complicated things.
When my kids see new babies and pregnant women, they are fascinated. The idea of a tiny human is mind blowing to them. My two youngest shove babies and stuffed animals in their shirts while they play house because moms have babies, right? So when they ask me if they came from my tummy, I smile at them. The first time they asked, I was so caught off guard I didn’t know what to say. Do I really want to have the ‘how babies are made’ talk with my five-year-old? Um, no.
So when my kids ask (and it happens a lot) I tell them they came from my heart, not my tummy. They look at me and try to figure out what that means and then they go on playing. For now, the answer is easy and they don’t press. Whew.
My daughters are still young and we haven’t had the screaming drama and gnashing of teeth that comes with teenage girls. I know that it’s coming of course. Will it be any different because my kids are adopted? I have no idea. Teenage girls are very unpredictable so who knows what will set them off. Lord Almighty, please help me.
But the day will come when I will have to really explain what adoption is and why it is part of our life. My oldest daughter’s birth mother is an amazing woman who made the decision to place her baby for adoption because she knew she couldn’t care for her. She made the ultimate sacrifice for that child, which is what mothers do. She made the decision to place the child with us because she loved her so much.
My other two have a very different story. They were placed in foster care. Their drug-addicted birth mother didn’t know how to care for herself, let alone a child. I will have to decide how to tell my two youngest daughters that their birth mother didn’t fight for them. I have my theories why she signed her rights away as quickly as she could but I won’t ever know for sure what was going through her mind.
Like I said, most of the time our life is very ordinary. But I know that my girls will have questions for me and will ask why. I don’t know when it will happen. I don’t know what I will say when they ask. The only thing I know for sure is that these three girls were meant to be a part of our family. No matter what happens in the future, they are my children and I love them more than life itself. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my beautiful girls.
Adoption is about love, plain and simple. It’s not something that is done casually or easily. It grabs ahold of your mind, body and heart and won’t let go. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but the most rewarding. It’s my responsibility to teach them how to be a woman and it’s not something I take lightly.
Today I will bask in the love from my girls. I will send warm and fuzzy thoughts to my girl’s birth mothers. I’m going to enjoy being the center of the universe on this Sunday in May.