Hearts of Adoption Options

Most of us are aware that the divorce rate continues to rise amongst Canadians. It is important to remember that our adoptive families are not immune to these statistics and in fact the divorce rate in adoptive families is even higher. A special thank you to the author of the latest edition of Hearts of Adoption Options for sharing her story. We appreciate her openness.

I am an adoptive mother. I am divorced. I am a single mother. None of these things I thought I would ever be in my life. When you sit down with your social worker and complete your hours of home studies, you delve into the depths of your marriage with your partner. They ask your strengths, your weaknesses, what you struggle with. And I remember so vividly that being the least nerve wracking part of the home study, because we were solid. Of course every couple has their issues and things they need to work on, but not once did I think there was anything about my marriage that would be of concern.

And then we became parents. On a totally uneventful January day I got a phone call. A social worker asked me to pull over, and my heart began to race. A baby had been born. His birth parents had looked at our profile and wanted to meet us. And just like that, in that one instant, our lives changed forever. This little boy, this tiny little 5lb baby boy, was born in our hearts. We met his birth parents. We got to hug them and thank them and promise that we would take care of their little boy for the rest of our lives. And then two mothers were born in that room; one who gave life and one who came alive with their gift. To trust two people to love and care for their son? Gift doesn't even begin to describe what that is. They wanted love and laughter and stability for him. They felt like we were their soul mates, and we felt like they were ours. And this innocent little baby was the connection that tied our hearts together for life.

Then the unthinkable. The thing that only happens to 'other' people. Never to us, not to our family. The realization that some things are just so beyond our control. You imagine what your life will look like, the path that you will travel. Meeting someone, getting married, having babies, living happily ever after. But the babies didn't come, despite the trying. Despite the fertility treatments and the years of anguish. And then we were parents, and 9 months later became shockingly pregnant with another baby boy, and our little family was complete. Until it fell apart.

That time in our lives was a roller coaster of confusion and pain and this feeling of detachment that this was actually happening. I will never forget the moment I thought of his birth parents. I was standing in my kitchen, still living in a fog of shock, when they sprang into my mind. There was instant sadness and guilt, instant tears; all those promises we had made to give him the best, to give him stability; all of a sudden they were gone. Would they be disappointed? Would they regret the decision they made if they knew? Would they want something better for their son whom they trusted us with? It was the heaviest feeling I had ever known.

But here is what I know now. Now that a year and a half has passed. Now that divorce documents have been signed by a judge who doesn't know us, who doesn't know our story. Who doesn't know our little boy. What I know is love. The love has not changed. The love I have for him as a mama. The love his daddy has for him. The love our families and friends have for him. If anything, it has made my connection with him become even stronger as I watch him grow through this with tenderness and resiliency beyond his years. The other day while cuddling in bed he said "Mama, I feel sad for my brother". I cocked my head and asked him why and he said "because he only has one mama, and I have two!". Oh sweet boy. Nothing about that has changed. You have me. You have your birth mother. You have your daddy. You have your birth father. And in all the ways the lives of the four of us have changed and swirled through the wind like wild dandelions, the one thing I am certain of is that the love for you has never changed and never will.

-Amy Bell