Twenty years ago, we were in the process of waiting for our first child to be born. We knew it was going to be a girl, and we knew exactly what her name was going to be. The lawyer cautioned us about not preparing a room for her, because he said he had seen where adoptions fell through, and thus if that happened to us, a completed room would only be a painful reminder of not having a child. But, my husband and I had such peace about the process of adopting this child, and we knew in our hearts that she would be coming home with us to stay. The love we had for her already was amazing, and we prayed for her safe delivery and her mother’s physical and emotional health throughout the months ahead.
On the first day of spring that year, our daughter was born. The name she was given was her great grandmother’s name, and to this day, it is a name that she wears with pride. She has grown in beauty and grace, knowing God’s love, knowing her birth mother’s love, and knowing our love and our families’ love. This love has helped her through many crises – physical and emotional and spiritual – and has brought her to her childhood’s end and womanhood’s beginning.
Our second girl was born almost three years later towards the end of winter, and when we picked her up from her foster home, there was a blizzard outside. When our first daughter laid eyes on the baby, she walked over to her little sister, patted her on the head and said “I want her, let’s take her home”. And thus began their sisterly relationship, based on the oldest being very overprotective, and the youngest being fiercely independent – hence, creating a “loving” atmosphere of constant bickering and yet extreme loyalty towards each other. This daughter, too, has known the love of God, her birth mother, her family and her extended family – and she has grown up with the knowledge that love is not based on the color of a person’s skin. During her childhood, she faced many obstacles, and as her childhood is drawing to a close, she has grown stronger knowing that she is a child of God, adopted twice.
I’ve often been asked how I can love another woman’s child as if she was my very own. That question often puzzles me, because love is love, regardless of whose blood is flowing in a person’s veins. The minute I saw each of my girls – even before that time – I loved them with a strong and protective and fierce love. As an adoptive mom, I know that I have been given a selfless gift from another woman – her own flesh and blood. I honor that gift each and every day by keeping her in my prayers, and by raising her daughter with the same motherly love she has and in a way which would make her proud of her daughter. When my daughters go to meet their birth moms someday, I want these special women to know that their daughters were loved as if my daughters were “my very own”.
I’m standing now at the end of their childhood, and I’m learning how to let go. When they were little, I vowed I would never let go of them, but now I know how unrealistic that vow was because it was based on fear and not on love. I must let them go, so that they can embrace their lives as their own and touch other people’s lives with God’s love inside their hearts.
©2008, Valerie Wolff