A couple of weeks ago I told the story of my son’s adoption through my column in the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle. I’ve told it here on my blog before, where it’s safer. Where there aren’t as many readers. Where I can control the comments.
But now, it’s out there. A sampling of what he went through before he came to live with us. A past that I don’t like to talk about but that he needed to share.
He’s taller now and seems less haunted. Braver. More sure of himself. Happier.
I like that, and I’m adjusting to this new reality, the one where he releases his story and is set free himself.
I should have known it would come to this, that I would again be learning from him. It has been happening all along — for the two years we fought to adopt him and certainly the five years since. That’s why I always cringe when people tell me how lucky Jessie is, how they are glad he is with us. Because the truth? The truth is that we are the lucky ones and we’re happy we have each other.
That’s one of the things I wish people understood about adoption. You shouldn’t go into it expecting to change the world, but you should expect it to change your world.
I hope we’re helping Jessie grow into a wonderful man, but he’ll make his own choices as he grows. I can’t guarantee that he’ll have a fine life now that he’s part of our family. I can guarantee you that he has improved our family, though. We love differently. We make more of an effort to build trust, to learn about each other. We’ve stretched and adapted. We’ve patched each other up — and we’re stronger now, more secure.
And can I tell you something else about adoption?
He’s really my son. I am his real mom.
If the newspaper ever writes about him because he has won the Nobel Prize or because he is being sent to prison, he is my son. Not my adopted son. My son.
I mean it, either way, because that’s what real family is like. And that’s what we are. A real family.