I think I have to admit to myself that I’m a grown up now. It’s been a 20 year journey but I have to admit that to myself. I always wanted to be free to chart my own destiny – even if I didn’t have a clue as how to go about it. I didn’t have a template or a model. Nothing was a given. Being black and female, well, I wouldn’t call it a burden, but let’s just say I was always insecure of my place in the world.
All my revelations came late in life. I didn’t realize how important problems were. Let’s face, like most people, I try very hard to avoid problems. And yet, because of them we have an opportunity to learn valuable lessons and hopefully transform a negativity experience into a positive one. One of the most meaningful was dealing with infertility. It really did change who I assumed I’d be. IVF didn’t give me anything but an empty bank account and swollen ovaries.
The day I received my son from another woman’s arms was another one. Everyone told me it would be a victory and yet it was tinged with great sadness. My gain came at a loss to someone else. On the surface it’s a win/win but it was so much more complicated. I’ve dealt with that and I have to be present to help my son deal with that as time goes on. That’s all I can do really. Was it worth it? Yes. Of course. I get to parent an awesome kid. He calls me Mama. I take care of him. I put out my hand and most times, I feel a small hand go in mine.
Just this morning, a mum friend said to another mum and me while we were cooing over her 2nd son, “You want him? Take him.” People say that all the time in jest, I know. But when I tell you that I would have liked to have another child, I actually mean it. But I didn’t have that chance.
Speaking of siblings, my son asked my husband recently if he had any. And he was told yes, that he had two, in fact. One older and one younger. That was the first time he had been told. Not an insignificant moment considering how much he’s always wanted a sibling. He rarely talks about it anymore, but he’s happiest when playing with a friend. He’s also quite friendly with younger children. Not long ago, we were talking on the way home from school about grandparents. That one of his grandmothers was dead. That he had two granddads (yes I know there is another set), one was my father, but he had only met him once. And that he has two mothers, a birthmother and a forever mum, and that he has 2 daddies, one that he had not met but that had made him. Boo will ask occasional questions when talking about how he came to be our son. He doesn’t ask very often and he seems quite satisfied with brief answers. Then he moves on to something else. He’s not a moody child, he’s always quite chill and laid back.
Hubby and I have talked about the day will come that he’ll want longer answers and perhaps even a visit and though our adoption had been built on another foundation, that will most likely change. As things do.
So when I look in the mirror, and note all my flaws, my grey hairs popping out, my thinning hair, my tired eyes, I also see a grownup. I have survived. Endured more disappointment than I cared to. Even when I get all stressed out and pissed off, I know my problems gave me a deep sense of compassion, strength and a firm sense of who I am that I would not have gained in any other way.