She's five today.
You know this. I feel sure that you've spent her last five birthdays mourning the loss of your child as we've celebrated her with cake, presents, and balloons.
Every year, I notice more wonderful qualities about her. She's smart, inquisitive, artistic, kind, compassionate, physically stunning, and athletic. I did not give her these things. I have given her a home and have done my best to provide for her needs along the way. You gave her most of the characteristics that make my heart swell with pride when I look at her.
Sometimes I don’t understand her. She sees the world through different lenses than I do. Sometimes I don’t understand my biological daughter, either. The amount of times that that child can spill something and get dirty in a day mystifies me completely ... until I listen to her father tell stories of when he was a child and did the exact same things. When I hear about his upbringing, I can make sense of her behavior.
I don’t hear such stories about my foster/adopted child. So when she’s shy around new people, or meticulous about her drawings, or afraid of all costumed creatures, I don’t have any explanations for the way she operates.
I want her to have so many things. I want her to have great friends, a happy childhood, loving teachers, faith to call her own, a man who loves and provides for her, and healthy children (eventually). I want her to have this beautiful life, but at the end of the day, what I really want her to have is you.
I don't say this because I don't desire her or love her but because I do. Sometimes I love her so much it hurts. Even so, I know that you love her differently. Not more than me, not less than me. But you can give her a certain kind of love that I can't, because she came from you. You two share things that she and I never will.
I’ll be honest; when I say that I want her to have you, I’m not totally sure how that is supposed to look. Every situation is unique, and a large portion of her relationship with you is out of my hands. In an ideal world, there would be no adoption or foster care. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to be “mom” to the children in my care, but the necessity of this system implies that we live in a broken world. I get to live with and love on these kids, but certainly not because of any merit of my own. This is not the way things should be.
What I am sure of is that a child can never have too much love. She won’t be crushed under the weight of having two moms or dads, or extra siblings or grandparents. And so, I want her to have you- healthy, healing, and whole- because she was yours first.
A Foster and Adoptive Mom