“Name a person who you consider to be a hero and tell me why they are your hero”, I muttered to James as we finished the last page of his social studies lesson. “Mom, this is so hard!” James replied as tears began to stream down his precious face. I knew immediately this was not a normal cry. This was a gut-wrenching, brain overload type of cry, and I knew he was at his breaking point. As I asked him what was so hard about this question, he began to cry even harder explaining that his mom and dad were his heroes but that this subject always brought tears to his eyes. “Just thinking about it makes me want to cry!” he said. At this point I knew he needed a break, so I requested he go to his room for a few minutes of quite time to rest his sweet little brain and I assured him things would be better after his break.

It was only a short moment later when James emerged from his room crying. “Mom, this subject  actually has me thinking about my birth mom Miss Sherry!” “Ok honey” I said, “Let’s go talk about this”.

As we entered his room his cries turned into sobbing and I knew he was deeply mourning for that loss. The loss of so much more than just a name “Miss Sherry”. As I closed the door to his room, James proceeded to tell me how much he missed Miss Sherry and how much he wanted to meet her someday. My heart literally broke into pieces, not from any threat of another woman taking my place, not from any threat of James loving another woman who was his biological mom, but because I knew what I was going to have to tell him next. You see I had not looked for Miss Sherry in several years, nor had I had any contact with her since James was a baby. A few weeks ago after doing a random search online, I discovered an obituary for Miss Sherry. I panicked as I compared her birthday with the birthday on the obituary of the same name. My worst fears were true. Miss Sherry had passed away. I was deeply saddened as I scrolled through pictures of her on the funeral home website. Pictures which I am so thankful and grateful to have found before they were removed! I did not have one picture of Miss Sherry, as the camera had malfunctioned at the CPS office the day the worker tried to get a photo.

As the tears streamed down his precious face, I said “James I have something to tell you” I began to cry as I told him that I had recently discovered that Miss Sherry had died. “She died?” “She died?” I will never forget that face as he realized his birth mother, the one he never knew but loved so much, had died. We cried and hugged each other for a few minutes and James said “Mom, all those times you told me I could meet her someday, did you know she was dead?” “ No, my sweet boy” I said “ I just found out, I would never tell you something that wasn’t true.” As he tried to process this information he looked at me and said “Mom, I feel so bad because I was taken away from her!” I assured him that she tried her hardest to take care of him but that she couldn’t and that God had a different plan for his life…….. As he began to calm down he reminded me of the little pink pig his birth mom had given him. It was such a pitiful, carnival type toy that Miss Sherry had brought for him to a visit when he was a baby. I remember the day he was 7 years old and I gave it to him. I told him the story about how his birth mom loved him very much but couldn’t take care of him but she wanted him to have this special gift. I remember how he slept with it for months. It was a very special moment between the two of us. Our day proceeded with caution.

Later that evening I was tucking James into bed. I could tell he was still full of emotions as he lay down to rest. “Mom”, James said, “Did I tell you that I love you today?” “ Yes James you did my sweet boy!” I whispered. “Mom”, he said again. “Yes son”, I answered. “I’m glad this stressful day is over and I know now that Miss Sherry is gone.” “How does that make you feel James”, I asked. “Oh I’m ok”,he said. My heart ached as I told him how God knew everything about his life before he was even born! He had given James a special family hand-picked just for him. God had chosen us to be his parents.  And there might be a day when we could meet some of his biological siblings if he wanted too….I rubbed his head as he drifted off to sleep. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I again realized I was chosen by God to be his mother.

Every adopted child has a story. It is their story. Every adopted child has 2 sets of parents. One biological, one adopted. Let us never feel threatened by the other half of their story. It is who they are. It is in their DNA. Adoption is a true miracle and it changes the course and destiny of the child’s life, but it does not erase who they are inside, WHO they came from,  WHO they look like, WHO they act like. I am so grateful God has given me the grace to be able to understand the importance of biological parents in my son’s life. Yes, he is MY son and always will be. But in order for me to be the best parent I can be, I must understand HIS side of the story, embrace it, let him talk about it, FEEL it, and live it so he can later embrace, talk about, and feel proud to say that he is adopted!

 

Vickie Akins