I have a confession. I have been an adoptive mom for 21 years now. I have been a fierce advocate for open adoption longer than that. But today, I am being eaten up with jealousy. I know it’s selfish. I am ashamed. I know it’s not what God wants but sometimes adoption can be so darn complicated and emotional!
Recently, my daughter connected with her biological father’s family. It’s an amazing story. Throughout my adoption journey I have seen God work some pretty awesome miracles and this was one of those. A few years ago my mom bought my daughter, Jewel, a DNA kit. It was just for fun and Jewel kind of got into it. I guess it came with its own emotions because she found out that not all her ancestors came from Africa. She also had some European ancestors. I’ve heard that is not uncommon for African Americans but it made her sad. It made her sad because she knows enough to know that most likely down the line one of her grandmas was a slave who was assaulted. Sometimes, a person would rather not think about that sort of thing. Anyway, when she signed up for Ancestry.com, the site gave her suggestions of possible biological relatives. A few months later, Jewel got a message from someone who was a close biological match. At this point, we knew very little about her birth father. Turns out we didn’t even have the correct spelling of his last name. So Jewel was hesitant to respond to this message from a stranger. Plus, we had been told some lies about her birth father and feared he might not be a nice man. After a few weeks of contemplation, Jewel wrote back, changing her life forever.
The stranger turned out to be her biological grandma, Willa. They continued to write and Willa told Jewel the true story about her biological father. He was a fun-loving, happy man. He had a brother and a sister he was very close to. He loved Jesus. But when Jewel was just a few weeks old, he was shot and killed. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. His death devastated his family. Fast forward 20 years. Willa told Jewel that Derrick, her birth father, never knew about her. And so they didn’t either, until a few years ago, when someone started spreading rumors. Willa tried to find out if the rumors were true but no one was forthcoming. She became so distraught with worry that her son’s only child was out there somewhere and she couldn’t find her. But God had a plan for this grandma who loved Him.
Willa had signed up for Ancestry.com because she was researching her own biological family who had roots in the civil rights movement of the sixties. When she was matched with Jewel, she prayed that this was Derrick’s long-lost daughter, but had no way to know for sure until Jewel responded to her e-mail. The rest is history! We met Willa and Derrick’s siblings and all their kids on September 9th, 2018. They are a wonderful, fun, happy family! And they welcomed me with open arms, too. Sometimes my adoption journey makes me feel like I live in a movie. I have been so abundantly blessed.
So why in the world am I jealous of this incredible turn of events? I’m including this part of the story, my part, because most of you who are reading this are probably on your own adoption journey. And sometimes jealousy comes with it. I am so, so happy for Jewel! But a part of me feels like my baby is getting taken away. I guess this is normal when you love someone. Love can be painful. Sometimes I wonder, maybe a closed adoption would be less painful for me. Jewel is my daughter! I was the one who cared for her when she was sick. I was the one who gave her princess birthday parties and took her to the zoo and the playground. I was the one who sacrificed for her because I love her. Ah ha! Sacrifice. That is what moms do. Closed adoption may make me more comfortable but it certainly would not be right for Jewel!
And so I will continue to sacrifice for her. I will put my jealousy of the altar and give it to Jesus (probably more than once). I will celebrate this beautiful event in my daughter’s life. I will love her with all my heart and thank the Lord that he brought her to me in the first place. I will sacrifice my heart for my daughter because that is what adoptive moms do!
I’m not trying to sound sanctimonious. I’m just being real here because I bet I am not the only adoptive mom who feels this way. Be encouraged that jealousy is just a natural part of our messy, but amazing, adoption journey. God has chosen us, not because we have it all together, but because we love Him and He will bless us far more than we will ever sacrifice.