This school year, I am back in the classroom with a sweet bunch of four-year-olds. Lovebug attends the same preschool in a three-year-old class. Because it’s a small school, I see my Bug quite often. And every single time she sees me she yells out to her class, “THAT’S MY MOMMY! HIIIIIIIIIIIIII MOMMY!”
The other kids have started pointing me out to Lovebug if she doesn’t see me right away, and then she gasps and yells, “THAT’S MY MOMMMEEEEE!” I’m sure her teachers just love this interruption that happens 47 times a day, but I secretly hope she never stops.
Sometimes, adoption feels weighty and the trauma and grief that my daughter has experienced in her short life takes my breath away. At times, her losses plague my heart and I wonder how they will shape the woman she will become. I wanted to tell her a birth story on her birthday like I do for my other kids, but I didn’t have a story. I don’t know what happened when she was born. I have the name of the woman who gave her life and that is the extent of what I know about Lovebug’s birthday. And that is hard for me.
But other times I completely forget that I was never pregnant with Lovebug. I struggle to remember what life felt like before she came. She fits so perfectly in our family. I love her so much. She makes us laugh so hard. It feels like she’s always been here.
I’ve seriously had moments where the concept of adoption feels so far away and distant, and then something jarrs my conscience and I remember. Oh yeah, she wasn’t always ours. She used to not have a mommy to point out to others and read with and snuggle and tickle with and talk to and love. I remember the ache of waiting and the years of empty arms. I remember the roller coaster of wondering when we would find her. I remember the tremendous cost as invoices for each part of the process flooded in.
But most days, she’s just my daughter. Naughty and funny and exhausting and curious and sweet and sticky and loving and cute and rough and adorable and precious and silly and caring and stubborn and wild and free. “Adopted” comes so far down the list of words that come to mind when I think of her.
I’m guessing to some extent, I will always be living in this balance– rejoicing over our gain and grieving her losses. Maybe that’s just part of the adoption story.