Tears of Joy, Tears of Sorrow

I became a mother through adoption 35 years ago. After several years of “trying,” painful and time-consuming fertility treatments, and month after month of crushing disappointment, I finally held a baby girl and then a baby boy in my arms.

I shed tears of joy.

Thirty-five years after becoming a mother, the strange newness of motherhood, the scary lack of knowledge and experience has faded. But the fact that my joy at becoming a parent stood upon the sorrow of two women who made a selfless sacrifice has never been far from my mind.

Thirty-five years after meeting my son’s birthmother in the attorney’s office in Lima, Peru, my eyes fill with tears and my voice falters when I remember what she said: “I give him to you with my whole heart.”

She shed tears of sorrow.

I put very little stock in the naming of months to put light on particular causes. Perhaps National Adoption Month encourages more openness to the various ways of creating family, encourages lawmakers and social service agencies to be more inclusive and creative in their searches for “forever families.” I certainly hope so.

Adoption is a complicated experience. Joy and sorrow walk together on this journey. I acknowledge without hesitation that two mothers shed tears of sorrow so that I could shed tears of joy. I am grateful, so very grateful, always and forever to those brave women who allowed me the joy of becoming a mother to their/my beloved children.

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