Tonight, I gave my son a bath and laid his pj’s on his bed like I usually do. We read a story and the Bible just like the night before and the night before that. We snuggled and prayed and gave kisses goodnight as always. On the surface, tonight was like any other night the past three years. Except it wasn’t. Tonight, I put my son to bed as my only child for the last time.
Tomorrow is the day I have longed for since I first saw my two daughters’ faces on a website 6 months ago. It is both exciting and scary in the same breath. My little family of three will be a full-blown, full-time family of five. As ready as I am for all of my babies to be under my roof every night, I am also filled with nostalgia and a bit of grief at losing what we have had the past three years. When the desire for more kids moved from dream to reality, I felt hesitant to admit my conflicting emotions at first. But after talking candidly to many parents (both biological and adoptive) over the past few months about our process of adopting the girls and the timeline and how things are going, the most amazing thing happened. As I shared honestly about my deep love for my son, the boy who made me a mom, and my fear that I wouldn’t ever be able to love any child as much as I love him, I heard the most encouraging words in the world. “I felt that, too.”
I heard fears like, “What if we can’t adapt?” and “What if it’s too hard?” and “What if I don’t have enough love, energy, dedication, [fill in word here] to parent more than one child?” and “What if my oldest child resents me for this?” Yes. Yes. Yes. And definitely Yes.
I wasn’t alone in my fears, but it didn’t end with that. Then, my friends and family and sometimes total strangers (I’m extraverted) said more amazing and inspiring things to me. I heard things like “It becomes the new normal” and “You will figure out what each relationship will look like over time” and “You will love each child completely and uniquely”, and quite simply, “I get it. It will be okay”… and I felt a huge weight lift off my chest.
I realized then that my loyalty and intense love for my son is not the problem. It’s actually the answer. Before becoming a mother through adoption, I wondered what it would feel like to love like that. Like my mom. Like Harry Potter’s mom. Like Dumbo’s mom. And now I know. I love my son so fervently. And now, I also love my daughters with intensity and recklessness and boldness, and that feels really good. And I am trusting that, as time passes, I will learn how to love them each completely and uniquely more and more.
But tonight, on the eve of a complete life shift for all of us, my heart is drawn to my little boy, the one who made me a mom. He will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will tell him that as often as I can.