standing there, looking back at me

This afternoon I walked past a mirror and suddenly saw how strongly I resemble my mother. Turning my head just so, I could see my father’s features standing there, looking back at me. And then I started to cry. Not because I look like my parents, but because I know that I do, and I take that for granted. Bex will never really look like me. He will never look like his Dad. He will never glimpse his reflection and know, really know, the faces that helped shape his. He won’t know who gave him is wry smile, or who has the cute little folded over ear lobes. No, he will look in the mirror and instead of love staring back at him he will see strangers. I hope to raise him to be a strong man who looks in the mirror and is able to overcome the yearning for recognition in favor or acceptance, but that is a decision only he can make. It is a void that only he can choose to honor or ignore or mourn, but I cannot grieve it, or change it, or “fix” it  for him. I can’t know how he’ll feel when someone remarks that he has his mother’s eyes. Will he wonder if they mean me or if they mean Her, or will it even matter to him? Will he look in the mirror and feel incomplete? Will he look in the mirror and feel contempt? I hope not. I pray that we can give him what he needs to truly feel loved, and accepted, and to know that above all else he is our family, our son, our child… truly and completely OURS. I just hope that he can feel that we are his. I hope that he can be ok with the fact that he may look a little like one mom and dad through biology, and another mom and dad through nurture, even though two of them may remain unknown to him.

Though I will never claim to know the pain of the loss of his birth family, this afternoon I feel like I got the tiniest taste of the loss he may potentially feel.

And this, my friends, this makes me ache for him on a level that I suddenly find overwhelming.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “standing there, looking back at me

  1. Lisa

    I hear you! We read about these things in the literature, but it doesn’t make it any easier to think about our own child facing these questions. What a good thing for Bex that his Mom and Dad are aware of how these instances might make him feel and that you want to equip him as best you can to help him form his own understanding of who he is! Unfortunately, there is no one right and easy way to do this for every child. That’s why we are all going to figure it out together, one step at a time.

  2. You’ve articulated a tricky part of our particular brand of parenting very well. Thanks for being so vulnerable!

  3. alese

    You are the most amazingly insightful and emotionally “in-tune” human being . . . Bex is blessed to have you has his mom. Your posts continue to amaze me and give me new reasons to be proud of the wonderful parent you have become!

  4. Alice

    Jessica,
    You write so beautifully. It can be meaningful or hilarious. I enjoy all of the blogs and look forward each time to the next time you post.
    You really should consider compiling these thoughts into a book in your “free time.” I think others who have adopted would appreciate your thoughts, humor and insights.
    Alice

  5. Teresa

    I second all the above comments. You have an amazing way of sharing your feelings. Bex is Blessed to have you as a Mom.

  6. jen

    You really made me think on this one. We attribute Morgan’s behaviors to us all of the time…but he will never resemble anyone in our family…possibly a good thing? ha!

    I too always love your insights…are you ok today?

  7. I just found your blog and spent a large chunk of time browsing through the archives. We’re parents via domestic adoption (one public social service agency and one private social service agency).

    Anyway, just wanted to say that I have moments with both my girls when I think about this and it hurts my heart.

  8. Erika

    Hi, I have followed our blog, since you were in VN and before we went to VN for our son I have always enjoyed your posts and can say with out a doubt that this is one of the most meaningful, raw and poignant posts I have ever read, it described so well how my heart aches at just the thought of what my son has ahead of him, I shared your words with my family because I could never say it as well as you did thank you so much for sharing this in your blog. I pray that our boys truly feel that they are OURS and we are THEIRS.
    Thank you!!!
    Erika

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