As parents, whether birth, adoptive, or just everyday run of the mill, we all understand the term "unconditional love." We would have to, or we probably wouldn't be very good parents.
I read all of the time about the "unconditional love" and the "selflissness" it takes to make the decision to place the lives of our natural born children into the hands of another to raise, and inspire, and influence to become the greatest they can be. But rarely, if ever, do I hear of the unconditional love we have for our adoptive parents.
Now I am not ignorant. Crazy yes, but not ignorant. Not everyone has as good of a situation as I do when it comes to my adoptive parents, and there are many who have a much better, more involved one as well. I can only speak of my own experience, and so this is not meant to be taken as advice to anyone. These are simply my thoughts.
I knew 5 minutes after meeting L* & M* that they were the ones to take over for the life I had growing inside of me. I will never forget the first day I met them. It was chilly, but not cold, and I had tried my best to look adorable when I met them. I was short a sitter for my kids that day, so we met at the playground close to where I live, and my two older kids played while the little one sat in his stroller. When I spoke to them, I already felt like I had known them my whole life. I immediately felt a bond to them, and the beginnings of love starting to grow. I don't remember much of what we talked about, only that complete feeling of comfort. I think they had brought their "parent profile" with them, but in all honesty, I never looked at it. I knew right away that they were the only choice.
Throughout the pregnancy, I loved them and hated them a million times over. And I am sure they probably felt the same way. They always asked me so many questions, and I felt like I spent the whole time talking about myself. I never really asked them much, partly because I didn't know what to ask, and partly because I felt like I knew them already. I didn't feel I had too. I knew the basics...family size, life goals, that they loved each other and were good people.
M* reminded me a lot of my husband...huge baseball fan, great sense of humor, pretty easy going. L* was amazing as well...though a lot more high strung. I imagine I would have been the same way if placed in her situation. There was something about her that made me want to squeeze her and tell her everything was going to be fine. She always seemed so fragile to me, and I think that is where my mental switch from "first mom" to "tummy mummy" started. I wanted her to have her dreams more than anything. I wanted her to be "Mommy". She would tell me all the time that they wanted kids, but were at the stage in life where if they didnt get them, they would accept it and move on. That truely broke my heart. Everytime I talked to her, I would feel bad that I had three of my own already. Here was this amazing, beautiful woman, who had so much love bottled up in her, and for whatever reason, she was not being given the opportunity to be a parent.
Now were they perfect people....no? Am I? FAR FROM IT! But they were real, they were genuine, and they were my choice. In the first few months, I remember emailing back and forth almost every day. Thinking of them always. Hoping that they were finally getting a dream fufilled for them. There were times when I thought I almost felt bitterness coming from her, but it never lasted long, and never seemed directly aimed at me. I knew that she had endured many setbacks, many heartbreaks prior to this moment. And M* was always overdoing everything...really trying to make sure that I was comfortable, and I think there were times when it got old for her. I don't blame her. Though I did like the attention.
During Doctor's visits, they asked millions of questions. It was cute, though sometimes I just wanted in and out of that office. They went and got a copy of "What to Expect when you are Expecting", and I remember M* saying that he was studying it. They were always so over prepared for everything. Sometimes I thought it was wonderful, sometimes it drove me crazy. One thing I noticed, was that they always seemed to be "on their best behaviour", and only a few times did I ever see the cracks in that. But those were my favorite times. One of the big events that always triggered it was parking. Every time we had to find a parking spot, they would both start to get antsy. I would always tease them to just start brawling. I think I told them once how impressed I was with their coolness. My husband and I love to argue, and though we don't do it frequently, when it's time...it's time. During the delivery, when they were both over tired, they started up a little and I loved it. "Unconditional Love", the good and the bad.
There were quite a few times during the pregnancy where I was fiercely protective of L*. Some I have discussed already, so I won't go into detail, but generally when nurses, doctors, or insane ultrasound techs were involved, my claws would come out. I had ZERO tolerance for anyone who did not respect the role I had created for the baby's new Mommy. Anyone, anywhere who stepped on those toes was met swiftly with an attitude from me. I do not think that it is fair for Aparents to be excluded from ANYTHING if the one who is pregnant requests it. And I always requested it.
Now once the baby was born, I noticed a lot more of the negative feeling from L*. When the baby was delivered, she never let go of her, and I remember sitting on the bed thinking I should ask to hold her. But I didn't. I remember crying at how beautiful this new Mommy looked. I remember telling the doctor to take them all away from me and let me get dressed and to let them bond. I remember feeling as if I had passed a torch of sorts, the torch of Mommy-ness to her, and wanted to enjoy her enjoying it. I mentioned in my last post about the temporary hatred I felt when she turned the baby away from me, out of sight at the paperwork signing, but again...I understand.
As far as our arrangements for after the birth, there were none. I had always told them, "Whatever you guys are comfortable with!" There was nothing formal in writing. Originally I wanted closed, then semi open, and nowadays I would see her once a month if possible. And who knows, if I asked, they might do that. But I won't. They have always sent me little updates and some pictures here and there. Not a lot, but enough, considering I really asked for nothing in the beginning. I do wish now,, looking back that I had done more research and gotten a more formal arrangement, but that wish does not keep me up at nights...its more of an afterthought. When I sent them a begging letter to see her in October, they made sure I had a visit shortly thereafter. Was it a perfect visit...yes and no, but I will blog about that tomorrow.
My point is...I am so thankful for these two people, who were brought into my life at a crazy time but who inspired me to do better. People who made me far more thankful for my children than I was prior to meeting them. People who showed me that angels live among us every day. And no matter how many times I wanted to hug them or hit them...that I loved them unconditionally.