When my oldest daughter was ten months old, I bought diapers for her for the very first time.
Ten months! Do you know how amazing that is? I'm not even sure that I do. We never paid a dime. Her diapers were gifts.
More so when she was an infant but even now, too, Piper's teachers comment on her cute outfits and extravagant hair bows.
"Where do you get all of her clothes?" they ask. Well, let's be honest. They come from her grandparents. They come in big brown boxes on the porch from her family in Texas. They come in little pink bags, tied with fancy ribbons and a note that says, "Just because," from coworkers and friends.
I rarely buy her clothes, and her closet is still overflowing.
I was humbled as we began the adoption process, when money would literally just show up on our doorstep or in our mailbox. There were days when I would find myself in tears, unsure of how to respond to such generosity but very sure that we didn't deserve it. Almost a year after bringing Piper home, I was once again overcome by the goodness of our loved ones. I know that diapers are seemingly insignificant, but I also know that most parents don't wait ten months to buy them. We were, and still are, so blessed.
The night that Piper was born will always stand out to me above all others for many reasons, but one thing is still particularly striking. My parents had already waited for hours to see her, and when they finally were able to come upstairs at the hospital, my mom burst into tears. In fact, I don't think she really stopped crying all night. At one point, I said something like, "Mom, this is a happy day! You don't have to cry!" She responded,
"I know. I have prayed for so long that I would love her just as if she were your biological child, and I really, really do."
She was always meant to be part of our family.
I knew it during the adoption process, I knew it the moment she was born, I knew it when I was buying diapers for the first time in ten months, and I know it today as she is opening her weekly mail from her family in Texas. As her parents, we would love Piper regardless of any circumstance, but the continual outpouring of kindness from those who are dearest to us has proven to me that she belongs. She's our daughter, but she's also a granddaughter, a great-granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, and a friend. She is partly loved by others because we are special to them, but she is also loved because she is special to them.
Whenever we tell people our story of infertility, we often get responses such as, "That must have totally sucked. I'm so sorry."
Yes, it did "totally suck", in more ways than I can begin to articulate. But no, I'm not at all sorry. Had I become a mom at 22 like I wanted to be, I would not be a mom to Piper. The timing of life events is commonly beyond our grasp, but it is always perfect. Somewhere in Oklahoma in 2012, a teenager had to become pregnant, and simultaneously, we had to be waiting for a child instead of already holding one in our arms. The waiting was excruciating, but I do not have an ounce of regret in retrospect.
Biological children are wonderful, cherished, and exciting. I know this because I have one, and she is everything I had hoped she would be. But there is something unique about adoption. Piper is loved from so many angles, and it is precisely because her birth mother loved her so much that she was able to put her into another woman's arms. I hated the writing of her story as we were going through it, but now, I'm so grateful that the Author penned it the way that he did. Not everyone gets to experience the beautiful gift of adoption. We did, and we will never be the same because of it.