It may be in vogue to adopt with stars like Angelina Jolie, Madonna and Sandra Bullock all signing on the dotted line to get a child. Adoption is much more than that signature. For my younger brother and I it was knowing that to our parents we were special and very wanted.
A common tease between my brother and I was that the other wasn't adopted, that Mom and Dad didn't hand pick them out and had to love them.
There is no time that I didn't know that I had been chosen by my parents. My mother relished the role of parent. It wasn't an easy one, Mom and Dad waited years before I was placed in their arms in 1963. There were no rule books, just a newborn daughter needing barrels of love.
Mom gave that. She was like any other mother. She made mistakes. Sometimes her punishments were a bit harsh, sometimes not harsh enough. She was a parent.
She also had to deal with society. Questions about the 'real parents' aka birth parents abound. For an adoptive family the big question always seems to be "who were the real parents?" For some reason some people don't understand that having sex and making a baby does not a parent make. It's the late night feedings, mopping up the tears, bandaging the skinned knees and always being there for your child that makes a parent. My mother never blinked, "I am her real mother." When I was a rebel teenager I am sure she would have been happy to have handed me over to those 'real parents' for a day or three.
I dealt with that question from an early age. People I didn't know well thought it was fine to ask 'but what about your real parents, don't you miss them?' My answer was almost angry, "My real parents are raising me." I did wonder who they were but it wasn't because I wanted a new set to take care of me, I wanted to know my medical background. Years after my mother died I did track down my birth parents and got those answers. I didn't gain a new family, my real one was the only one I have ever wanted.
Tomorrow I will take a quiet moment to reflect on the love my mother gave to me through the years. I will find a spot where I can talk to her through silence and thank her for her gift of being my mother.