"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
- James 1:27
Like many parents who adopt internationally, we were unsure of our boy's ages when they came home. They were SUPPOSED to be 1 and 3, but that supposed one year old was speaking in full amharic sentence, and could ride a two wheeler with no training wheels by the time he hit three. I had my suspicions......
This drove me crazy. I felt that, as their mother, I deserved to know (AT LEAST!) how old they were. I obsessed about it. We had bone age x -rays done, which confirmed our suspicions that the boys were older, but still didn't satisfy my longing to know the DAY, the MOMENT that they entered the world. I realized at some level, that this was the process of me learning to let go of my children the moment they entered my world.
As a biological mother, I had fallen prey to the lie that we as parents own our children, and as a result, can produce the perfect artefact. After all, I was told that if I ate all of the right things, rested, and gained the right amount of weight, I would have a perfect,healthy, beautiful baby. And then, if I breastfed, my baby would not have ear infections and would fight disease more effectively as he grew. I could control every outcome. I could do it all right.
Unfortunately, as my bio children grew, I realized that there was something wrong with me. I was NOT a perfect mother! How could this be? I was impatient, and overwhelmed, and depressed, and although I loved my children, I was worried I was not producing good kids. I was failing.
Then the boys came home and I had to face the fact that as a parent, I did not control the destiny of my kids. Did their birth mom eat all the right things? I doubt it. Did she rest or gain enough weight? Most assuredly, no. And yet, these boys had grown and thrived and come as a gift to me, and I had NOTHING to do with it. I didn't even know their birthday.
This is one of the gifts adoption gives parents. We know, right from day one, that our kids are not our own. They are a gift that was given to us by another. We hold them in an open hand. We can take no credit for the wonderful, miraculous little people that they are. Our children link us to another mother, another culture, another unknown world of which we have not been apart. We are grateful, but we are just one link in a long chain.
The chain that connects my life with my children's lives includes Genet, their birth mom (who revealed to me last year, the very day and HOUR of their births!), my friend Jerry who takes them to hockey when I can't, my ex husband, who knows how to have great fun with them, my own mom, who raised me right, and their coaches and teachers who marvel at them along with me. And this chain will include friends, mentors, teachers, and wives......
I am not a perfect mother. It's all right. I'm just one link in a long chain. And we are good enough together.