Adoption STAR client Katy beautifully writes about adoption finalization, her amazing son, her son’s birth mother, and the bittersweet nature of it all.
Ever since our lawyer called yesterday and told us finalization would occur on Friday, I’ve been crying every time I look at Rory. Not surprising coming from the woman who broke down during a rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” at a mommy and me sing along at the local coffee shop.

More surprising perhaps is that I have not stopped thinking about Rory’s birth mom (let’s call her M) since the finalization date was set. Sure, I think of her daily. I wish for some idealistic relationship where we could share information about Rory without feelings being hurt, no hard questions being asked, or roles being questioned (who is mom?). I guess I’ve been more than thinking about her since yesterday. In a way I’ve been longing for her.

As finalization is imminent, and the legal part of this process is complete, M seems to slip farther and farther away. Our time in the hospital feels like years ago. Perhaps some would say this is a good thing; well-intentioned people who want us to be the type of family unit that makes logical sense: a mama, a papa, and a baby. No birth mom. Perhaps as M slips away we can slip into a “normal” family. Ha! That’s not us! Looking at the 3 of us walking down the street, do we look logical or normal?

I am holding onto M for dear life hoping she doesn’t slip away. Open adoption does not mean either the birth family or adoptive family is at the other’s whim when/if the other should desire contact.

I miss her. As I get to know Rory more and more a part of my heart breaks thinking about what she will miss because she decided to place her child. Simultaneously my heart nearly bursts each morning as I’m greeted by my darling boy. How is it possible to feel both things? I don’t know. I just do. I feel both. Obviously there would be no Rory as we know him if she decided to parent. He’s my son, and without placement he wouldn’t be. He’s her son, too. I feel both things to be true. So deeply.

I would be lying if I said there weren’t times when I wish I wasn’t thinking about her. Can’t Rory just be mine? Why, when he does something new, is M the first person I think about? Why is she in my brain? Why do I have to share? It can feel complicated.

There are plenty of moments when the joy of Rory is reserved for only my husband and I. This isn’t better or worse, it’s just different.

There are also moments when I wish I could text M so she knows what this incredible being she gave birth to is doing. She may not want to know. It may be too hard.

Every time I start to write about adoption, I circle back to her. I’m not sure why this is. Is there some guilt? Moments of feeling like I took something that don’t belong to me? Sure, there are those moments. They may never go away. However, there is also so much gratitude and love for her.

I grieve for her, too. I am still grieving for her loss, which is my immeasurable gain. There is nothing final about the adoption process, even after the last legal hoop is jumped through on Friday.

So M, I can’t quit you. And I truly hope it stays that way. You are a part of my family. A part of me. A part of Rory, our son, yours and mine.

For an outsider looking in, “sharing” a child may seem awful. It’s not. It’s what I know. It’s what I asked for.

It means Rory.

And here I thought I was going to preach about finalization.

Finalization. That can be Googled. My story (so far) cannot. So, as we finalize with a judge in Florida on Friday, this marathon of a legal process will be over. The emotional process of adoption will never be final. On and on it will go.

We will celebrate BIG in our house tomorrow. Real big. We’ll get dressed up. There will be balloons and flowers. I will marvel at the awesomeness of my son and wonder what I did to deserve my spectacular family of 3.

Oh happy day! We did it.