Posted in Mommyhood

Belonging Through Adoption

Last Updated on October 4, 2020 by World's Okayest Mom

My Girl turned nine years old on Tuesday.

Like most nostalgic mommas, I tell the story of My Girl’s birth to her every year. Unlike most of the mommas I know, though, mine involves a phone call that changed our lives, a frantic trip across the country and the birth of a beautiful brown-eyed baby with about 36 hours’ notice.

My Girl never tires of hearing about her birth story, and I certainly never tire of telling it. And every time, even nine years later, I still marvel at the miracle that was not only her birth but how she is the perfectly fitting piece of our family.

Miracles

I’ve always trusted God to take care of me. And I’ve seen His works in all aspects of my life. While I believe in miracles, it wasn’t something I expected to see firsthand.

Upon graduating college, though, I started to realize that “miracle” didn’t have to translate into turning water into wine, though as a self-professed wine-aholic, that is definitely a miracle I’d love to witness.

But as I was getting ready to leave the comfort of college and head out into the unknown of the “real world”, I found myself more and more desperate for guidance. Would I ever find a job? What was the right job? Should I go to grad school? So many questions. So many unknowns.

Finally, in desperation, I spent an evening praying to God. Take over, I asked Him. I no longer trusted my own judgement and decision making. I knew what job I wanted, but lacked faith that I could actually get it. So I gave up and gave God control.

The next morning, I received the job offer I had dared to hope for – as the city beat reporter for a newspaper about 75 miles from the university. And it was the perfect fit for me. I have never regretted taking it. Small miracle? Yes. But a miracle nonetheless.

Brown-Eyed Belonging

So having experienced God’s intervention years before, I wasn’t surprised to experience another miracle: the birth of My Girl.

More specifically, not so much the birth (which we missed because My Girl was, even at age T-minus two days, very impatient and unable to follow directions) but the perfect match.

Physically, you might not expect me to say that My Girl belongs in our family in every single way.

Actually, seeing her with her cousins consistently causes me to smile at God’s sense of humor.

My beautiful nieces and nephews make a beautiful picture of blond-haired, blue-eyed perfection. Seeing them together is like the Scandanavian version of a Norman Rockwell painting.

Look at those blonde and blue-eyed beauties! And My Girl fits perfectly in the middle. Brown hair be damned.

And then there’s My Girl. Brown hair. Brown eyes. Brown skin (as she says it – she’s got some Native American in her that tans her up upon hearing that it will be a sunny day).

But the aesthetics don’t bother her. There’s no doubt in any of our minds that My Girl belongs in this family. She has too much of all of us in her to question it.

The Sister

The Sister has some very special talents: She can burp better than any teenage boy I know. She can wiggle her ears (think Samantha in Bewitched but with magical ears rather than a nose). And she possesses freakish dexterity with her toes.

Yes, The Sister can pick up crayons with her toes. She can pinch you with them. She would be fully functional without her hands.

The only explanation I have for My Girl to have the same ability with the digits on her feet is that God knew she was to be the niece of The Sister.

My Mom

My Girl takes after my mom in ways that make me a little jealous. While I can hold my own on the piano, My Mom is gifted with an ear for music. On more than one occasion, I have played her song on the radio, and she will write out the music for me.

That is not a talent I possess. But My Girl, on the other hand, has a real ear for music. I first noticed it a few years ago when she would hear a song on the radio that played as background music in a movie. Often times, I didn’t even recognize it myself. Like the time we were listening to Electric Light Orchestra. “That’s the song Baby Groot dances to,” she told me. She saw Guardians of the Galaxy exactly one time, probably a year before.

At that point, I was convinced she was My Mom’s grandchild.

The Brother added a blondie to his brood through adoption. She also fits in perfectly.

Penny

My beautiful sister-in-law, Penny (because she looks like Penny from The Big Bang Theory and because, like that character, could be a little scary if made mad) also has her genetics in My Girl. Unfortunately.

There are so many things My Girl could do to take after Penny – cooking, caring for many, many unruly children at once, being a leading force in the family. But no. My Girl picked up Penny’s long-ago habit of sucking her thumb.

I remember when My Girl was six months old and Penny would coo over how cute it was to see that tiny thumb in that little mouth. Then she would grin mischievously at me and wish me good luck.

Because only Penny knows how to get a true thumb-sucker to stop.

Oh wait. You can’t. Short of chopping off that thumb. And don’t think I haven’t considered it. After all, My Girl can use her toes instead.

 The Husband

The Husband’s particularness (see how nicely I’m wording it) has been an ongoing joke and struggle for me. So imagine my shock/dismay/horror when at a very young age, we realized My Girl had inherited aspects of it.

Not the helpful aspects like The Husband can’t sleep at night unless the kitchen counter is cleaned off and organized. One look at My Girl’s desk and toy room will tell you that’s not so. But annoying aspects of it like she knew when I discreetly started recycling the thousand valentines she had on a magnetic board in her room.

Seriously, Valentine’s, birthday cards, colored pictures – so many of them, piled on top of each other with magnets. I thought if I tossed just a few every once and awhile, she’d never notice and I could start to control the hoarding mass. (See how My Girl hoards here.) But no. That part of The Husband’s OCD she has – she knows exactly where everything should go and she can pick up on a missing piece of trash as soon as she walks into a room.

She also inherited The Husband’s “need for speed”. I’m so excited for her to turn 16 and start driving. (Hopefully you can read the sarcasm). And because she’s clearly her father’s child, she also inherited his love for history and weird fascination for WWII and Nazis. Again, I’m so proud.

The Sister keeps having babies. Blonde ones. At least the baby of the family has brown eyes, like My Girl.

Me

And then there’s the traits God gave her from me. I don’t even know where to start – partly because it’s a compilation of small things – how she “dances with her shoulders in the car” and quotes movies/TV shows incessantly – but partly because I’m too close to the situation to see it clearly. I don’t think I have enough self-awareness to realize some of her less than appealing habits may be from me.

A friend of mine calls My Girl “The Great Nurture Vs. Nature Experiment.” Not that I condone titling your child after a science project, but he’s not wrong.

It’s one of the big fascinations of my life to see what My Girl has come by naturally – her amazing art ability is from her birth mother – and what she has picked up from us.

But I still hold strongly to my knowledge that God knew My Girl belonged to our family before she was even born. My Girl was born to be adopted.

My Girl loves that she’s adopted. She loves her story. She loves her birth mother and birth sisters. She loves the idea that we had to work so hard for her.

And I thank God for that. It’s easy for a child to get caught up into the “why didn’t my birth mother want me” and much harder to see it as an act of selfless love. But My Girl has the sunny disposition, the love for being special and center of attention to see adoption as a beautiful thing.

Because that’s exactly how I see it. God knew that My Girl belonged in our family and I knew my life wouldn’t be complete without her.

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