If you are reading this, you are probably old enough to realize I, your mama, have two pretty prominent character traits. I am a major procrastinator. (I know, I probably need to sign some kind of field trip paper that has been sitting on our table for forever!) Also, I am kind of a perfectionist. Not the ‘there is a crumb on the floor’ type, but a more internal perfectionist. I really do not like to mess up! (Something I should probably get over before your wild brothers prove I am an inept mother!)
My perfectionism was never more dominant than when I was in elementary school. I memorized bible verses for fun, loved workbooks, always read, and played teacher. I remember coming home crying, and my mama asking what was wrong. I told her my teacher called me little miss perfect. She seemed confused and asked me to explain. My lip trembled as I told her that my teacher would say things like, “Okay, everybody stop and look at little miss perfect. She has to get ALL of her books and go to her little GIFTED class.” Mama’s jaw dropped. I am not sure what happened, but shortly after that conversation my teacher stopped with the ‘little miss perfect’ comments.
Not too many years later, I married your daddy, and we decided to have a baby. It just didn’t happen. I know it sounds conceited, but this was the first time that I really could not do something that I wanted to do. (Keep in mind, I was still a child.) Not being able to get pregnant was like fuel to some type of fire that had been burning inside me. I really felt lost. I remember talking to a friend of mine, and telling her that I understood what God was all about now. I told her how I felt like a kid again. I had been told as a kid that Santa brought my Christmas gifts. God was like that. I thought he was the one protecting me, clothing me, feeding me. I learned it wasn’t God after all, it was my parents. (This sweet friend, a mother of FIVE, listened and told me I would change, it would be ok.)
So, life went on. People moved on. Friends came and went. Family changed. I grew older. I needed a baby. The perfectionist in me was giving in. I jokingly told your mammy that I would just steal a baby. The look on her face said I think you need to be committed. She actually said, “You need to think about adoption.” The snotty, prideful, perfectionist in me replied, “I refuse to beg for anything.” Mama stared at me. She very bluntly told me that if I wanted a child I just might have to beg.
I thought about that for a while…procrastination…and I knew she was right. Not about begging, but about adoption. I should adopt. I can’t even begin to explain the feelings that went into this decision. I was scared. I didn’t know what to expect. I did NOT expect you! Throughout the whole adoption process, I was brought to my knees. My pride was thrown out the window. I had to completely admit that I could not do this on my own. Worst of all, I had to ask for help. I prayed, but I didn’t feel it. I felt like I was praying to Santa.
Then…well, through lots of hurdles… there you were. I recently read something about an adoptive mother admitting how she didn’t quite bond with her adopted child. She said she felt detached, and I am not disputing her feelings. I imagine those feelings are very valid and totally normal, but…Oh my goodness…Sissy! I just fell in LOVE with you. I tried not to. The perfectionist in me said to be careful, to guard my heart. I was repeatedly reminded that this could fall through. I should try to stay detached until all the paperwork was completed. But, seriously?! How could we be detached from this tiny, sweet smelling, beautiful little girl?
I will never forget the bond your daddy and I felt after meeting you. We left the hospital to check into our very creepy hotel (thank God for the Ronald McDonald House), when daddy turned to me and said, “How can we ever go back? If this doesn’t work, how will leave?” We knew loving you was risky, but how could we stop? Logical or not, we loved you. You were just amazing to us. In that moment, those silly ‘God=Santa‘ feelings were crushed. God was so real. You were so real. I wasn’t perfect. I couldn’t do the most basic, womanly thing..make a baby. But, in all honesty, you weren’t perfect either. You were early. You were orange. Your eyes were bruised from a difficult delivery. But…Oh my baby, we were meant for each other.
Now, of course you know you are adopted. We do not share DNA. You did not grow in my tummy, and I did not give birth to you. In spite of that, there are things I see in you (memorizing bible verses for fun, loving workbooks, always reading, playing teacher) that force me to make the following speech:
Perfect is boring.
God works in the imperfect.
Do not focus on fixing your imperfections.
Don’t compare your body with your friends’ bodies, (skinny isn’t skinny forever…cupcakes beat genetics eventually).
Grades matter. (I know we should have some type of college fund. Don’t count on it….procrastination) But, you are not your grades. I love you outside of that. Your intelligence is amazing, but it is not your identity.
Your heart is beautiful. But, you are human. You may not always instinctively know what to say or do. You will make mistakes. You will lose friends.
Don’t blame yourself when bad things happen, they just happen.
Don’t blame God when you don’t get what you want. That is immature.
You are you because God made me imperfect. You are you because God made your birth mother imperfect.
Your birth mother’s imperfections led her to me. My imperfections led me to you.
Imperfections can be beautiful!
I love you.
Little Miss Not-so Perfect