The Mom who stayed

Driving in my car down Keystone Ave., I landed on an Indianapolis radio station DJ talking with a mom about the unexpected way she adopted her now 10-year old daughter.

The mom speaking on the radio had accompanied her friend to China as she was going to adopt a baby girl. The child and mother met and 24 hours later, the mother asked if she could give the baby back. In an instant, the woman’s friend – this mom now talking on the radio – stepped in saying, “I’ll take her.”At this point in the story, of course, I’m fighting back tears as the gridlock traffic blurs. I’m so terrified of fellow commuters looking through my car windows and seeing me belting Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” that I’ll never sing at red lights (Seriously. I go to town when I sing alone in my car. It’s embarrassing), but this time, I let the emotion roll freely down my cheeks. I turned up the volume.

The woman on the radio is a stepmother of grown children whose husband was back in the states, completely unaware that his wife was in China claiming this baby girl as theirs. I’ve never been more impressed by the strength of love than with how the story ends… the woman called her husband and told him that her friend had decided she couldn’t adopt the baby — and her husband filled in the rest. “Then we’ll take her,” he said.

What a loving and fantastic story… and it’s even more evidence of why you should live and let be. You never know what life is going to hand you or what strengths you find in yourself.

Adoptions – any plans for a family, biological or not – are heady decisions not to be taken lightly. I know everyone deals with stress and uncertainties differently, but I am sure all adoptive parents go through the same kind of questions to prepare themselves for the adoption process and for being parents period. This reminded me of a story I learned recently about my mom….

Mom and I have one of those relationships that only mothers and daughters can have and can understand. There are not enough words to describe the love, pride, understanding, patience… yes, there aren’t words, so I’ll leave it at that. I love her to death, but we are human and therefore flawed, so, I think, too, that this transitional time takes its tolls on us, but it also is building our relationship as we learn and grow together. That being said, she told me a story that I think is hilarious but that also shows that my mom and dad were not perfectly prepared.

Mom and Dad flew from Houston to Hawaii to Samoa. When they landed in Hawaii, they walked to their gate and sat down in the middle of a crowded waiting area. All around them, small Polyneisian children ran barefoot and half-naked. They screamed, jumped, ran, hit… all the wonderful things little children can get away with in public. Dad says that that was then Mom stood up and excused herself to the bathroom….

and time passed…

and then some more time went by….

and then some more…

He and Mom laugh now when he teases her that he was sincerely worried she was not coming back. Mom admitted that she began to have her doubts when she saw the Polynesian children running about like the Wild Things. She realized she had no idea what I would be like – what type of child, what type of person. Now that is, of course, the story of any child, but for a woman who was about to adopt a baby girl, the nature of nature v. nurture weighed heavily on her mind. But I smile, because even now, I knew she wasn’t going to leave. It’s not in her character. Her belief in the good in people and her high, moral expectations of herself and others lives strong within her. And I know this, because I am my mother’s daughter. I am so much of her.

Disclaimer: The title of this post is not to be taken in a negative way against biological mothers. I am super sensitive (those who know me are probably laughing here because that is an understatement!), so I do not mean anything mean or rude to the mothers who put their children up for adoption. That single act is one of the strongest and most lovingly unselfish things a birth mother can do when she cannot support her child. I know my birth mother would have stayed if she could have, but she gave my mom the greatest gift of all – she let her be the one who stayed.

Our family vaca to celebrate the completion of my MS

Our family vaca to celebrate the completion of my MS

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2 responses to “The Mom who stayed

  1. Such a sweet story. I think the stereotype of adoptees is that they will always wonder where their “mom” and “dad” are, but you have always known! They are right beside you…and have always been!

    Beautiful!

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