There isn’t a day—Thanksgiving or not—where I don’t look at my boy and marvel at how we have been brought together. We were so clearly meant to have this boy in our lives; we were so clearly meant to learn from him. And for the blessing of having him in my life, I am ever grateful and humbly thankful. That gratitude is so palpable, especially on Thanksgiving, that it is almost impossible for me to name another blessing when asked. This boy in my life? Well, that’s enough for me.
But I can’t just sit in that joy, in that gratitude, truth be told. Because while I reflect on what a gift my life has been given, I am ever aware of the circumstances that have made this gift possible, and so my gratitude is always a bit bittersweet. Several years ago, Happy and I were on a long walk when a well-meaning town resident that I only vaguely knew stopped us. “He’s such a lucky boy,” she said.
I think I speak for every adoptive parent when I say that this is something we never want to hear and most especially never want our child to hear. “We think we’re the lucky ones,” I said.
The truth is that being born in a country that is so disproportionately poor and resource-starved to parents who were so poor and resource-starved themselves that they could not raise their child actually feels, to me, like anything but luck. But our union together as a family shows me what faith is—faith in something greater than ourselves and faith in other people. Think of a mother who has given birth to this beautiful boy who she, of course, loves with all of her heart. Think of the challenge she must be facing in her life to make the decision she makes. Think of the wisdom she has to know that love, sometimes, means not physically holding on—a wisdom I, the woman who holds on too long, could never have. Think of the faith she has to know that the right family will be waiting for him.
On November 24th, my family will bow its head around the table and give thanks—in Spanish—on the most American of holidays. And, yet, my heart and mind will not be in America. My heart and mind will be in Ethiopia, and I will be whispering to a woman that I have never met that I am humbled by and grateful for her faith in me and that I will do everything I can, everyday of my life, to honor it and her.
After the blessing, I will look up and see my little boy smiling with his cousins, the living embodiment of my promise, and my eyes will flood with an intensity of emotion, a trail of thankfulness in honor of each of my boy’s mothers.
MORE THAN LUCK
“No, sir,” I wanted to say to that man that day, “how our baby’s life has evolved is not borne of luck. It came alive when a woman that I admire to my core made a decision based on faith, based on a knowing deep within her, based on a stark assessment of her life and the injustice of this world, based on what might look like hopelessness to some, but what I believe is really hopefulness.” I don’t know how to dramatically reconcile the poverty of this world; it is what I most wish I were able to do. But it wasn’t luck that brought us together. I know that for sure. And though I can’t yet articulate all of it in the way that I wish: I know that our son coming into our lives, our coming into his life, is part of something bigger than all three of us.
Editor’s Note: In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, this is the fourth and final in a series of articles by Rosie Molinary exploring her decision to adopt, her experiences with adoption, and tips for adoptive families.