Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Up for Adoption

adoption, adult adoption, motherhood, fatherhood, parenting, single parent, children

Twenty-nine years ago, when I was almost 26, I had a baby girl. I was single, making a minimum wage, living alone, and my baby's biological father (who I had been madly in love with) was nowhere to be found. I had the unrealistic hope that he would be so overcome by a sense of love and devotion once he saw the baby (which he never did, by the way) that he would sweep us off our feet and protect and provide for us forevermore. (What planet was I living on?) That was not to be, but I still wanted very much to be married for all the conventional reasons, and felt quite desperate about seeking a mate; there was no one on the horizon. That desperation probably seeped out making the whole "landing a man" thing less likely (men can smell desperation a mile away), even though I tried very hard to play it cool.

Back in 1980, the year of my daughter's birth, unwed mothers were still a bit risque. I hoped that being a single mother would add another layer to the veneer I was laying down that told the world I was tough, independent, liberated and didn't care what the establishment thought. The truth of the matter was that I was very tired all of the time, lonely a good part of the time, and constantly broke, although I can honestly say that I truly didn't care what the establishment thought.

I never doubted, however, my ability to be both mother and father. I always felt that my love for my daughter was so great that she couldn't possibly feel a void in her life that should have been filled by a father. And I think to some extent this was true.

After many years of dating - findin
g a few men along the way that I thought I loved but didn't love me, finding men who thought they loved me but I didn't love them, and finding men who fit neither category - I found my husband with whom I first had an off-again on-again relationship that went on for more than a decade before he finally decided he was ready. During our long courtship (I can't think of a word that actually describes what we put each other through during those years) my husband had watched my daughter grow up and had played the role of 'dad' in her life, even more so than most 'real' fathers I have known. By the time we married, my daughter was 17 and given her delicate emotional state (what can I say -- she was 17) we didn't entertain the idea of my husband adopting her, although we had discussed it previously and I knew my husband loved the idea, even though he already had five grown children.

adoption, adult adoption, fatherhood, motherhood, parenting, children

A few years later, my daughter got married and a few years after that, got pregnant. At the same time, we were finally putting together our Last Will and Testament, and for some reason, once again talking about my husband legally adopting my daughter. She was already 28, married with a baby on the way, but somehow it just seemed like such a beautiful idea. For many years my husband had felt like her father, and my daughter saw him as a dad, but wouldn't it be sweet and wonderful to make it so in the eyes of the law as well. To our joy, my daughter was enthusiastic about the idea, as were all five of my husband's children.

Yesterday, with our 7 month old granddaughter in tow, we went to court. The judge barely said two words to us as he pored over the documents we had filed, making sure everything was in order. He then looked up at us, the only people in the courtroom, and said, "Well... that's it." The four of us (my husband, my daughter, her husband, and myself) practically said in unison, "That's it?", and we were done.

As we walked to the elevator to go home, I fought back tears. I was amazed at the depth of my feeling about what had just transpired. I thought to myself, I'm a parent
with someone now. My daughter has a mother and a father. She's legitimate. Why these thoughts crossed my mind I don't know since I never felt she was illegitimate just because her biological father chose to abandon us. I never felt we were less of a family because it was just the two of us. But it was almost as if the void being filled yesterday was in my psyche as much, if not more, than in my daughter's. I felt as if a gap in our family circle was finally closed. I felt more complete somehow.

On the way out last night, I thought my son-in-law summed it up beautifully in his parting words to my husband. He said, "Thanks for adopting my wife."

Thank you, sweet husband, for adopting my child.

adult adoption, court procedure,legal adoption,family,parenting,fatherhood,motherhood


KnockKnocking said...

Oh my goodness, I teared up reading this. Lovely.

Lynne Countenance Jewelry / BeadyIze said...

Thank you KK. It was an especially moving event for us (as you can probably tell!)

Wander to the Wayside said...

What a lovely story! I was adopted as an infant, but didn't realize the significance of it until I was an adult. I had always looked at it from my perspective as a kid who was given away by her birth mother, and later finally saw it as a truly defining moment of my life. My dad always said that he never thought of me as anything but his daughter - not his ADOPTED daughter.

Very touching story - thanks for sharing it.

Lynne Countenance Jewelry / BeadyIze said...

Thank you for reading my post and sharing your own story, Wander.

glnroz said...

oh,,,, my,,,,,, gooodnesssssss,,,,,

Carol said...

Oh, Lynne....what a beautiful ending to a loving beginning with your 'little' girl. I'm crying as I type this. Hugs and much love and many blessings to all of you~

Lynne Countenance Jewelry / BeadyIze said...

Thank you Carol! Good to hear from you. Hope all of your shows have been successful. Hugs back!

Janice Fowler said...

oh Lordy, now you've made me cry. Laughter (the chicken story) and tears, boy I'm glad I found your blog !

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