Cancer Ever After

Musings on Infertility, Adoption, Parenthood and Cancer

Either the Bravest or the Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Done.

on 01/08/2015

Time will tell which category this falls into. I arranged for someone to take pictures of the birth and when we receive our son. But we all know there is a 30% chance that we won’t receive our son at all. Like I said, I’m either brave or stupid. Time will tell. She will either photograph one of the most amazing moments in my life, or one of my moments of greatest despair.

I don’t know what it is like to grow up adopted. I just know what I love and remember from my own childhood. And I know the little things that irked me. One of my biggest pet peeves was Big Bird. Sweet, funny, lovable Big Bird, you ask? Yes–Big Bird. My older sister has these beautiful, professional pictures that were taken when she was about six months old with Big Bird. She looks adorable, hair is fixed so nicely, and she’s wearing a new dress. And Big Bird is standing next to her all happy and smiling. There are also pictures of mom pregnant with her, holding her belly proudly.

My baby book? Well, it’s a little fuzzier and slimmer. There is a picture that my mom is pretty sure is of me that a loving aunt probably took. It’s a little fuzzy, my hair is crazy and there is certainly no Big Bird.  I would have even settled for one of the lessor characters, there’s no Elmo or even the Grouch.  In fact, there are no professional, neatly-groomed “isn’t my baby the most amazingly beautiful baby in the world” pictures of me.  Once we get past the baby pictures, most of the other pictures in my book involve me running around naked and holding cats and dogs. (True story–it’s life on the farm.) There is no picture of mom smiling and holding her pregnant belly. Mom had more trouble telling the pregnancies apart with the rest of us. She wore the same maternity clothes and, unless a hair style gave it away, well, it’s anybody’s guess.

Mom went through and divided up our baby pictures and created baby books for each of us. My older sister had two huge books worth of baby pictures. I had a single album, and a much slimmer one at that. But the real rub is my three younger siblings could have had one small album between them. I think that’s just life in a big family. With each new mouth, money gets tighter and time is in shorter supply.

However, I also imagine for someone who is adopted, those beginning moments–a picture of his birth mother and/or birth father–could be precious. A picture of the first minute he was held in someone’s arms (hopefully mine). He needs to know that he was treasured from his very first breath and will be treasured until his last. I want him to have just as many pictures as his sisters and know he was loved just as much. The way he came into my arms may be different, but the fact that I didn’t bear him in my womb is incidental.

The challenge is that I set the bar high when it comes to pictures. I honestly thought that the girls were our first and last children. I knew how lucky we were to have two and never imagined we would have an opportunity for a third. This adoption is the answer to a prayer. Now I just need to make sure that he realizes that he is just as special, that it’s just as amazing that he came into our life, and that he is as loved and as wanted. I’m sure there will be questions I can’t answer as he grows older, but I will do my best. We both will. For now, I’ll focus on what I can give him. And that’s pictures for his baby book that will tell his story as fully as his sisters’. And for now, we’ll just have everyone avoid Big Bird.

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