It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. — Johann Friedrich von Schiller
Mine and my husband’s pride and joy, our bouncing, rambunctious little boy, came to us through the miracle of adoption.
People throw the word miracle around a lot. So much so, that it’s lost some of its meaning. But a miracle, by definition, is a highly improbable or extraordinary event. It was highly improbable that my husband and I would ever have biological children. We became parents because of the choice that a pregnant woman and her partner made — to plan an adoption for their unborn child.
My husband and I saw our son’s birth mother a few times before he was born. We met at the OB/GYN clinic and at the adoption agency. We shared our hopes for the unborn baby. We laughed and cried and tried to etch every moment into our frazzled, pre-parent minds to share with “the baby” (as we called him for months and months) when he was old enough to understand.
And we spent time talking with his birth mother the day our son finally came into the world. Me hanging on her every word, memorizing her voice, her expressions, and her face while simultaneously trying to wrap my head around the idea that I was about to become a mother. And she, his first mother, in physical and emotional pain, yet chatting amicably with the couple she had chosen to raise her son.
Those were sacred hours.
I catch whispered reminders of her from time to time even now, four years on. I see her eyes mirrored in my son’s face. I remember the thick, wavy ponytail she wore when unruly curls sprout atop my son’s head before a much-needed haircut. I recall her smile when my son’s face lights with joy.
She’s a ghost, not always fully present in my consciousness, but here nevertheless. When I catch these glimpses of her, reflected back at me through my son’s very real, very physical presence, I remember that I am my child’s second mother.