Hi. My name is Sarah but today you can call me Grace and Shanie’s mom.
This is my 2nd time in this courthouse. While the story is different, the children are different, I am different – the feelings are much the same.
Today is a good day.
A day of celebration.
A day of hope.
A day of joy, love and reassurance.
I started my journey to become a parent over 10 years ago.
I can remember trying to figure out how exactly does this work. Who do I call? What paperwork do I need to fill out?
How deep will you poke into my life?
If you discover that I’m a total mess every third day and pretty much all of June, will you let me parent?
I remember sobbing my eyes out all the way home following every single MAPP class. If the goal was to scare the living daylights out of me, they were doing a good job. But I kept going. In all my insecurity, I knew I had something to bring to a family. I knew I was willing to connect my life to a small person and do my best. I knew I wanted to be part of someone’s solution. Despite my fears and nerves, I completed all the paperwork and turned it in the day the class ended. If we’re doing this, let’s do it.
I’m not sure I ever read my homestudy. It felt so personal and so revealing to put out into the world. Did you really need to talk about that relationship, that therapy session and why in the world is my weight listed on the front?! But like much of this process, I kept going. Trusting. Waiting. Wondering.
I’m sure you are like me. You remember all the details of the first time you met your child. Whether that child was birthed from your body or that of your sister. Whether you originally knew them as your grandchild or you met them in a random person’s living room as I did. With my eldest girl, I remember very little what was said in that room that day except for the moment when someone asked if I wanted to hold her and how perfectly my nose fit in the nape of her neck.
With the youngest, again, I’m sure there was talking which I can’t remember but there was dancing. Hers. Wiggling. Sliding. Hopping. I loved the way she inhabited her skin even as it vibrated with anxiety. Was it love at first sight? Kind of. Sort of. It didn’t really need to be. It was still just great.
I’m not really an exceptional parent. My children will tell you with total delight a story about milk that will confirm that statement. Some days I’m good. Some days I’m less than good. I work more than I should. I’m prone to weeping and I have subpar at best housekeeping skills. But I’m in it for the long haul — the longest haul there is. Thick thin. Up down. Good bad. I’m in. And that makes me a great mom for these two.
Today is a good day.
But some people here are carrying bags loaded with pretty significant loss. There is a bittersweet note to this day that feels important to acknowledge. Today doesn’t necessarily fix that loss but today, you no longer carry that bag alone. We’ll do it together as a family. Your bag is mine because you are mine. As a family, we carry one another’s bags. Shoulder one another burdens. We move forward as one life, one love, one family.
Those of us participating in the act of adoption today become part of a select tribe. As I look out I see peacemakers – fierce – feisty peacemakers. I see people who have committed themselves to a way of being that requires us to wrestle with the universe, with systems that oppress, with stereotypes that perpetuate division, with strongholds of anxiety and fear. But today – and really before today – we run headfirst into that brokenness. Trusting that our own broken natures will align with yours creating a glint of restoration.
People like that are brave and I’m proud to call them my people.
Children, I speak for all the parents here when I say we are so lucky. Your smiles make us smile. Your laughter lights us up. We are pleased as pleased can be to make our homes your homes. To make ourselves your home. You are ours and we are yours. Forever and ever. Final and irrevocable.
Extended families – thank you. Even if you don’t get really get it or are consumed by worry, thank you for supporting and loving all of us doing what we are doing. Thank you for adding the names of our little ones to your lists. For noting that you now have two or three or six grandchildren. Thank you brothers and sisters for broadening your definitions of siblings to include another.
Friends – thanks for holding the balance of our complaining with total understanding. For worrying about our mental health while oohing and ahhing at the cuteness of our children.
DCF, MARE, foster and adoption workers near and far – there are barely any words. We are grateful for what you have delivered into our arms and that Monday you’re going back to work to do it again.
We send out good energy to those who aren’t here and are still longing.