With so many of us in new life stages, I thought it was an appropriate time to get some action on the blog.
Children. I suddenly find myself with two babies, who I love. They were not born to me, but they found their way to me, and I am their mother in every other sense of the word.
What is a mother?
I think of my own mother, and remember her as patient and loving all the time. It makes me feel as though I fall short when I am impatient with my kids, but I know that this is what I remember because it is the dominant characteristic. She kept me safe at all times, and let me explore and make choices for myself. She always spoke kindly and never criticized.
Today she offers advice only when necessary and asked for, and is always, always there for me. Although she does not read the blog :)
For myself I think about what is most important to give to my children. I know in their case it is the attention they need in order to be able to attach, the unconditional love, and consistency.
The important things are not biological. Although I am not terribly religious, I have found some value in some scripture. I was reminded of the Judgement of Solomon. In the King James Bible, 1 Kings 3:16-28, two women in the same house gave birth to a
baby within three days of each other. According to the women, one rolled over the baby in the night, killing it, and took the other baby as her own, switching them. Both denied that the dead baby was her own. King Solomon said that he would divide the child in two, and give half to each. I used to think that this was an interesting example, but couldn't possibly be true. No one would think that it was a good idea to cut a baby in half, obviously the child would die. But I do remember certain situations of thinking, "If I can't have this, no one will have it" and destroying that thing. One mother said, "Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it." The other mother said, "Oh my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it." The book says, "Then spake the woman whose the living child was," but there is no way to know if the child is biologically hers. King Solomon said, "She is the mother thereof," and she is the true mother.
At different times in our lives as mothers we need different things, and to give different things. For myself, I need my mother's experience and help, and I need to give my children love and safety. These things will continue to change as I change, and my needs change, and as the needs of these two little babies change.
I have experienced the unconditional love as a mother now. Prior to our current babies, we had two other babies. I miss and think of them every day. I love them still, and I know that will never change although I may never see them again in this lifetime. When I hear the song, "For Good," from the musical, Wicked, I think of them. "It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime...so much of me is made of what I learned from you, you'll be with me like a handprint on my heart." These children were never mine to keep, but I loved them like my own.
I'm not going to talk about the struggles of adoption, the process, the emotional side of it, the reasons we chose adoption, and the agency we used. Just that I have something that I always wanted. I missed out on a lot of things. Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, ultrasounds, stretch marks, looking into little faces determining which features are mine and which are my husband's. These things are not important to me now. A friend I knew a few years ago adopted, and as people congratulated her on the new baby, I remember her saying over and over, "We couldn't be happier." I never forgot that, and now I understand what she meant. I didn't need all these things in order to be blissfully happy when I met my children. I knew at once that they were mine.
True mothers are those who love their children unconditionally. Some people have more than one mother. Some people are blessed enough to have conceived, given birth to, and raised their children. Others find their children much later in life. I know so many children and mothers who have found each other in so many different ways. I feel certain that in my case, my children found me just at the right time for all of us. And I couldn't be happier.