Happy National Adoption Month!
As I move into our daughter’s second year of life, I have so much to be thankful for! Ella is small, but mighty. She tells us about a lot of her feelings these days, and I am so grateful for her own self-awareness. She brings us never-ending joy, and she treasures us. She tells us that “I feel happy” and “Mommy, Momma, Ella, happy family!” just about every day. This allows me the opportunity to foster her expression, awareness and articulation even more.
I think about the weight of her adoption on a daily basis. I write letters to her birth mother in my mind. Sometimes I write them in real life too. As I participate in groups like TAP 101 and Transracial Adoption Perspectives on Facebook, learning the perspectives and experiences of adoptees, I know that my responsibility to honor my daughter’s ethnic identity, her identity as an adopted person, and as a Black female, is crucial.
My experience is just 2 years old, and I know it will continue to grow and change based on the needs of my child. I know that my understanding will evolve. Once I understood that being a better parent meant learning, growing, educating myself and teaching her how to embrace her own identity, the results were enormously rewarding. As a toddler, she embraces her dolls, books, places we go, things we do and her friends who provide mirrors for her. She understands that her family is made up of three different skin shades and one heart, and she kisses my hand every time we talk about it.
On Monday, November 6, the Parent Voice, an online magazine for multiracial families and their multicultural lives, published an article that I’ve written about this topic. Please be sure to go and read it and the many other stories, interviews and perspectives from other parents from around the world. My article is based on my family’s experience, and the perspectives and lessons that I’ve received from other adoptees who were adopted transracially.
“Not flesh of my flesh,
Nor bone of my bone, but miraculously my own.
Never forget for a minute;
You didn’t grow under my heart, but in it.”
As I watch this person grow, from my 5 pound, 1 ounce baby to a toddler with her own thoughts, feelings, ideas and a very clear point of view, I ache with the depth of love that I have for her.
I eat up each moment because I know it is never to return, except in my memory. I relish in the delicious moments of tender hugs and requests to “hold-ju, Mommy”, and the chance to be by her side as she learns to navigate this world that is now hers.
This gift of motherhood is a privilege that is not lost on me. Her kindness and love of others, her ability to be a good friend already, her sense of adventure… My life is forever changed because she is my daughter & I am her mother.
Recently, when I tell her I love her, she responds with a big hug or by pressing her sweet little cheek to mine saying, “I lush you too, Mommy.” That is everything.
*updated on Nov 22, 2017*