The Breath I Hold

Both of our children’s names are dear to us. Our son’s name we liked and fell in love with the meaning and how it encapsulated our journey to parenting him. Our daughter’s name was just the opposite. We fell in love with the meaning prior to loving the sound. Both of their names are uncommon.

Last week, we were finishing up Little Flower’s gymnastic session. She was running on the benches, being ornery, and basically doing anything to get out of getting dressed. I called out to her and an older lady looked up at me in surprise, saying she has a granddaughter with the same name. She asked if I understood the meaning behind the name and let me know that her granddaughter was adopted.

In that moment, I was suddenly struck with the desire to unload all the excitement, worries and questions that come with adoption. Obviously, I said little more than acknowledging that I did understand the meaning and revealed that Little Flower was also adopted.

But, that one moment told me something –I was holding a breath I didn’t even realize was there anymore.

After 6 ½ years of adoptive parenting, I have grown used to not being able to fully discuss the ups and downs, the questions and worries. I can talk with the best of them about teddy bear hearts and hyperactivity. I can relate to conversations about strong-willed children. I can laugh with my motherhood friends over the craziness that parenting brings to our lives. But, there is no one that I can turn to about adoptive parenting and have them really understand.

I am intimately familiar with that sense of being alone and no one understanding what something is like. I spent 3 ½ years cycling through the infertility world. I had people who had been through it and I always enjoyed that sense that I didn’t have to explain what we were going through. They just got it.

Adoption is not nearly as common. I have websites and Facebook communities to turn to, but every adoption is so unique that it is hard to find that one person who just gets it.

We have open relationships with both birth mothers. There are things that come with that that I would love to share. I have a desperate fear that one or both birth moms will disappear, leaving my child(ren) to wonder what happened. Neither have shown any hint of that, but it is not exactly a topic I can hash over with my group of friends.

I have a great group of friends who honestly try. They often try to offer some sort of solution or word of support. Often though, I want them to understand the whole story, but it is too complicated to begin to explain it all so I give a word of gratitude and grow silent.

I often joke about what I am going to do when I grow up. My years working as a nurse are behind me, so for now I am a stay-at-home-mom, but there will soon come a day when my kids won’t need me nearly as much. One of my dreams is to run an adoption support group. Another is to create some form of meet up for adoptive families where the kids can get to know other adopted kids. I assume if I am holding a breath in talking about adoption, the kids are too.

For now, my cyber support system will suffice. It is nice to know there are some people out there who understand infant, domestic open adoption. It’s honestly one of the reasons I blog. I want other mothers to connect and know someone is out there understanding what is going on.

And, hopefully that is enough to prevent me from nearly verbally exhaling all that I hold in onto some random stranger!


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