I’m often asked why I speak so freely about my life as an adoptive mother. My response more often than not is, why shouldn’t I? As women we are brought up to believe that pregnancy and birth are natural processes that we will all experience easily once we become of age. Yes, there may be stories of a family member who struggled throughout her pregnancy, but there aren’t too many stories of the family member who couldn’t have children, or the family member who suffered multiple miscarriages and how these experiences changed their lives. I never heard these stories growing up, and can’t think of one friend who did.
Every day when I pray I give thanks for my children. Even on the days when they have driven me up the wall. If it wasn’t for adoption, I don’t know where I would be. I reckon that I would be a lost soul wandering through life feeling helpless, useless, and less than a woman. Of my 5 children, none are biological and 4 are adopted. For a very long time I was angry and bitter. I wasn’t angry or bitter with other women – in fact I was able to thrive as a midwife because I was able to separate my pain from their joy. Those feelings of anger and bitterness were internalized. I was furious with myself for not being able to fix my body so that it could act right and carry a baby to term. It wasn’t until my youngest two children arrived that I finally came to accept Allah’s (God’s) plan for me. See, it wasn’t His plan for me to birth babies. It was His plan to use me as a vessel to care for children who were in need of a loving home.
I have 4 angel babies. Babies who never had a chance to see the outside of my womb. Each one of those loses tore my heart to shreds. There were times when I couldn’t get out of bed, or eat a meal, or even bring myself to answer the phone to hear the cheery voice full of love and support on the other end. Those were times that I will never forget and I don’t want to ever forget. I pray that one day in the hereafter, I will be reunited with the babies whose eyes I never had the chance to see.
For now, I have embraced my life and give thanks over and over again that I have been blessed with 5 children who look at me with love in their eyes and are proud to call me mom. Children who will make sure I’ve eaten before they do, and who check on me throughout the day just to say, “I love you” or “Mom, are you good?” or “Can I sit on your lap?” from my youngest two children. My family is very unique. We are a colorful array of beautiful shades of brown. Our heritage stems from the continent of Africa and the countries of Panama, Jamaica, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic. My twins were adopted at age 4 after being with me since age 2. The youngest two came as newborns, and my oldest son became mine when I married my husband nearly 6 years ago. He just celebrated his 18th birthday. Conversations in our home are spirited and many times comical. We have a great energy about us that my mother finds hilarious. I enjoy my family and as I’ve said before, I am abundantly grateful.
Not often enough are there women, particularly women of color who feel comfortable enough to speak on their struggles with infertility and miscarriage. It’s taboo just like mental illness in our communities. For you sisters, hear me when I say that you are not broken. You are worthy and capable, and you can heal your soul and heart with time, faith, and prayer. Believe in the Most High and find your inner strength. My healing came through adoption, maybe yours will too. Whatever the plan is for you, embrace it. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel and then figure out how to move on and embrace your greatest you. Don’t be defeated and don’t let your experiences with motherhood steal your shine. Shine bright like the diamond you are!
I will continue to share my story because I know that my story is that of many other women. My story can help someone along their journey. I smile at everyone I see. This story, my story is my virtual smile to all of you ladies that are hurting, lost, angry, or bitter. Allow my smile to warm you and fill you with love.
With love and understanding,