I always wanted lots of children, six I thought, like my family. I grew up with four sisters and one brother. I love being part of a large family. The family reunions, large parties at the holidays, someone always there to do things with or laugh with, sharing responsibilities, and at least one person to side with during the inevitable family drama.
I always liked the idea of adopting a child, but I was also enamored with the magic of genetics and how a mother and father combine to make a little human who shares their traits. Would my baby have my eyes, or love of reading? Would my child be good at math like their father, or love to sing like me? I also wanted girls: I did not understand boys. Sports, bugs, video games, wrestling, being dirty, potty humor… they just did not make sense to me.
Well, here I am today: the mother of two boys, neither one of which share my DNA. And I could not be happier. After eight long years of failed fertility treatments which were expensive and painful, and a failed adoption, and foster parent certification, and two foster placements (both boys), finally, in 2008, I became a mother twice. It will always be the best year of my life.
My older son is adopted. He came to us at a young age, just before his 5th birthday. We were his foster parents for two and a half years before his adoption was finalized. He knew and loved his mother, half-sister and brother. They loved him very much, but life circumstances made it impossible for them to stay together as a family. We kept close contact with them, visits with his mother weekly and his sister stayed with us every Friday night for the first couple of years. It helped him to adjust and maintain those important family ties. He loved his first family and was very loyal to them. He told us every day for the first year that he did not live with us, he was just visiting. But he loved us too. I swear he and my husband are soul mates. He also wanted stability even though he did not know it. I will never forget his joy as he came running through the house to tell my husband and I that his social worker told him that he was going to be adopted and get to stay with us.
On his adoption day in June 2008, over 20 of our family members squeezed into the courtroom for the finalization hearing: the legalization and judicial recognition of the family we already were. It was official, we were a family of three, soon to be four. I was six months pregnant with my second son, the product of our last fertility attempt with an egg donor.
After the finalization, we had a big celebration. We invited his birth mother, sister and birth maternal grandparents and aunts, to join us. We celebrated Moore family, because adoption did not mean losing family, but having “Moore” family. We recognized and honored his birth mother, for the sacrifice she made when she agreed to our adoption. To me, she was like an angel, who made my dreams of becoming a mother come true. I know it sounds corny, but when you want something so much, for so long, and you finally get it, it is truly a gift from heaven, and the bearer of that gift, an angel.
Up to this point, I had a great life: a rewarding career, a beautiful home in a Laguna Beach, a wonderful husband, amazing family, lovely in-laws, great friends; but there was a hole in my heart, that grew bigger every year it was unfilled. It got to the point I thought my heart would break. I needed to be a mother. Then, my son came into our lives, and he filled me up. My heart felt so full, I thought it might burst. I knew, like the Grinch, my heart would have to grow three sizes just to make room for the baby that was coming.
So, as a mother of 2 boys, I am truly blessed. By modern medicine and a donor who allowed me to carry and birth a child, who looks just like his father by the way. And by the love and sacrifice of the woman who consented to share her son with me through adoption, allowing me the privilege of raising him and calling him my son. I take great pleasure in watching my two boys play sports, get dirty, and excel in math like their dad. My older son loved to read and shares a passion for helping people like me, and he is pursuing his college studies and a career in counseling or social work. My younger son shares my love of singing and all things sweet. It does not matter that we don’t share DNA; we are a family.
Through adoption, we became a family. I became whole. We knew it was important to maintain his first family relationships, and we kept in contact with his birth mother, sister and brother, as well as his birth-maternal grandparents and aunts, through the years. Now that our son is 18, he maintains and navigates those relationships himself. I am proud of the young man he has become, accepting his life story with grace. He loves his first family and this family. I celebrate open adoption. Adoption should be about gaining, not loss. Love, not pain. Adoption is Moore family.