Watching last week’s ING NYC marathon, I couldn’t help but smile witnessing the triumph of Tatyana McFadden clinching the Grand Slam of winning the Boston, London, Chicago and New York marathons in a single year. What a triumph that was! What a triumph her life is! Her story reminds me of my son’s ethnic heritage and yes, of his biological parents.
Daniel, on the other hand, just shrugs it off. Yes, he knows he is adopted…always has known. He is also aware that his biological mother is a Russian immigrant. But it’s no big deal…really. Actually it is certainly not the most interesting thing about him. Give him some of your time and your undivided attention and he will make you very much aware of that.
Still I can’t help but think about it from time to time. Recent conversations with other parents of micropreemies remind me of it all again. One mom shared just how wonderful her now preschool aged son is doing; as we moms of mighty micropreemies do sometimes:
He spent 9 months in the NICU and three years on the ventilator in a nursing home as a foster child. He was adopted in February, decannulated in March and is growing like a weed! and no cognitive deficits! All this from a child who was made a DNR, comfort care and his medical records reflect that he would die from respiratory failure…BUT GOD had other plans!!! NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!!!
And we moms of micropreemies all share our collective happiness and praise for such an amazing little boy because he is amazing…truly. Until one comments how awful these parents are who abandon their babies in the NICU because they just can’t deal. My heart skips a beat or two or more as I reflect on how painful such a sweeping judgement of that little boy’s biological parents…the parents of any baby or child placed for adoption…my son’s biological parents is.
I’ve never really written about this before so bear with me here.
The social worker’s notes of my son’s NICU records include his mother’s statement that children like Daniel in her country are institutionalized because no one has the ways or means to care for them. Doctors in her country encourage parents to do this because the state can care for them so much better. The reality of that suggests that it might not be for the best. Tatyana McFadden’s public biography suggests that as well. You might agree as do I. Still who am I to judge the decision that my son’s biological parents made? Who am I to label them in any negative way? My son was conceived in love and very much wanted. His NICU social services records reflect that too. I can never presume to know the heart of his birth mother the day she signed the relinquishment papers and walked away. Just as I would never dare to presume to know or understand the heart of any other parent who does that as well.
But I can think about how lucky I am. How wonderful and full my life and the life of my family is because of her decision and because of this sweet boy of mine. I can think about every other person who is so lucky to know my son as well because he is my son…my child by adoption.
I look at his smiling, freckled, dimpled face and my heart swells the way that any mother’s does when they gaze at their child.
He, on the other hand, being the preteen boy that he is archly asks, “What?!”
“Nothing“, I tell him. “I just love you. I love your face.”
I never met his biological parents. I imagine that this is for the best as I can focus on just him, my beautiful, wonderful boy. Still, as he grows into the handsome young man that he is becoming, I can’t help but visualize that which he has inherited from them. I imagine that he has his mother’s eyes and I bet her face is dotted with the kisses from the sun that we call freckles. Those dimples when he smiles and that little cleft in his chin is probably his biological father’s as is that hair that refuses to be tamed by a comb. There is no denying the truth that they made a beautiful baby here. I get to call him son.
Over the years I have from time to time considered how will I share this part of Daniel’s story with him. He will know…eventually…especially now that I have written about it and pressed publish. For now we talk about adoption and his biological parents much like we talk about sex. He asks a question, for whatever reason he might have a question, and I answer it. I answer it truthfully and I answer it simply. If he wants or needs more information he asks and I answer and so on. He knows her name is Irina and his name is Richard and, well, that seems to be enough for him…for now. When the day comes that he needs to know more or the day when he reads this I want him to remember one very important thing. He was very much loved then as he is now. He is physically a beautiful young man but what makes him the beautiful human that he is is the fact that he was, is and always will be very much loved.
NaPhoPoMo day 11