truth. 105/365

Earlier this week, the Joint Council on International Children’s Services issued this call to action in response to the tragedy surrounding 7 year old Artyem Saviliev.
We Are The Truth – an adoption blogger day: To ensure the world knows about every successful adoption, on Thursday, April 15, 2010 blog about your adoption or the adoption of someone you know.  It doesn’t matter if your adoption is with Russia, domestic or otherwise international.  Let the world know your truth!
This is my truth.

Beckett

I could tell you that I knew he was mine because he shares a birthday with my father. I could tell you that our baby photos bear an eerie similarity. I could tell you that he somehow embodies all of the personality traits of my husband and I. I could tell you that he is 26 months old and mostly bald and that I didn’t have hair until I was three. I could list any number of things that seem to be cosmic indicators of our familial ties, or physical indicators of seemingly shared genes, or amazing coincidences that link our lives and thereby strengthen our sense of belonging. Because of my love for him I could.
There is a proverb that says that there is an invisible red thread that connects…. An unseen line drawn between two souls. In my case, the line is real, and I see it every time I pass a mirror. I survived three open heart surgeries before I was even old enough to vote. I look at the scar on my chest as a badge of honor, proof that I am resilient, that I can do things most people thought I couldn’t, and now I look at it as the road map to my son.

My path to Beckett began before I was even born. I was diagnosed with a significant heart defect in utero, and from that moment on I believe that the path to my child was set in motion. Call it a butterfly effect, or chaos theory, or predestination, but the decisions made that day resulted in the life that I now have and the child that I call my son. Despite the fact that my diagnosis was unusual at the time, my parents persevered. They located a specialist who would become my doctor and at six years old I had my fist open heart surgery to replace a faulty aortic valve. At nine and sixteen we repeated the procedure. During college I had a mild stroke and my doctors talked to me about the possibility of a somewhat risky procedure to replace the artificial valve with a tissue version. Doing so would have allowed biological children to be a real possibility, but as my artificial valve was functioning properly I didn’t see the need for surgery. Mind you, I wanted to be a mother. I wanted to know what it would be like to experience a pregnancy and actually grow a person, but in the end it seemed too great a risk to take. As my longing for a child grew, so did my disdain for my scar. I started wearing shirts with higher collars, and covering up the scar that I once showed with pride. It had morphed from a source of pride to a glaring reminder of that which I could not do. It became the dark spot in my day. Catching a glimpse of the offending mark in the mirror made me resent the choices I had made and I saw it as little more than proof that I would never be a mom… that I would never have a child. Not because I had fertility issues, not because there was some biological impediment, no, I would not be a mother because of a choice I had made. A choice.

Many years later, after I was married and settled, the yearning for a child became increasingly palpable. I wanted to be a mom. We needed a little one to complete our family. So, we made another choice. We decided that we would become parents through the wonder of adoption, and we chose to adopt from Vietnam. At our very first meeting with our social worker I told her about my medical history and my husband and I expressed our interest in a child with a heart defect. We were choosing to parent, and we were choosing to parent someone that I could understand better than most. It was the single best choice I have ever made.

Little did I know that other people on the other side of the world were also making choices. Just two months before our meeting with our initial meeting with our agency, an amazing child had been born to an incredibly special woman in Vinh Long, Vietnam. In what I’m sure was the most difficult decision of her life, she made a choice to create an adoption plan for her son. She chose to give her son the ability to make his own choices in life, and to have a family that would enable those choices. She made an incredible sacrifice so that her son, so that our son, could be whatever person he chose to be. She made a choice so that he could do the same, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Being slightly Type A folks, we completed the applications and home study in record time and settled in for what we expected to be a lengthy wait for our baby. Luckily for us, another person had made yet another choice. Before our paperwork was even complete our social worker had learned of a little man with a cardiac issue. She knew that he was meant for us and that we were meant for him. So on the same day that she had called to tell us that we were officially waiting, she also called to tell us that we had a son. I knew he was ours the moment that she told me about his heart condition which was eerily similar to mine, but the confirmation of belonging came when I was told that he shared a birthday with my father.

Yes, he was adopted, but he is our son. Adoption is an action, a single occurrence, a way of becoming a family, not of being a family. The circumstances that brought us together may be unique, but our family is not. We are simply two parents doing the best that we can in order to give our child the life that he deserves, the life that his birth mother dreamed of, and the opportunity to choose his own path. Like mine, the heart that beats in his chest is slightly scarred. Someday he may have a similar scar on his chest, and if he does I hope that he chooses to see it as his own badge of honor. As a reminder that he was loved before he was even born. As a reminder that we adored him from the moment that we heard his name. As a reminder that family comes in many forms.

Now, nearly two years after the phone call that made us a family, it is clear that he is ours in every possible way. Not because we choose to make it so, but because it just is. He is my child. I am his mother. We are family, not only because we choose to be, but because we are meant to be. After all, our life together may have begun with a string of seemingly unrelated choices, but our reality is based on love, and loving him was never a choice that I had to make. I do not love him because I choose to, I love him because I live to.

Jessica Johnston-Myers
It is one thing to read our story, but it is something else to see it. This is our first year in pictures:
This is our son.
We are his parents.
Our family is three people strong, and that is the truth.

That is OUR truth.

If you’d like to know more about our adoption story, visit the archives (Look on the top of the right sidebar). You can begin at the beginning, read about our referral, and follow our journey to Vietnam to meet The Bex.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “truth. 105/365

  1. Excellent post!!

  2. Pingback: Let the World Know Your Truth! «

  3. I knew it. I just knew I shouldn’t read some of these at work. Beautiful! And you are a beautiful family!

  4. Alese

    Well said, in your usual wonderful style! Thank you guys for this grand adventure into grandmotherhood!

  5. Pingback: We Are The Truth Adoption Blogger Day Thank You «

  6. mostlymorgan

    It is beautiful. So many things that I didn’t know–and so incredible that the three of you have each other. Love!

  7. Oh I am loving these Adoption Truth posts. Your family is beautiful!

  8. Jen R.

    *sniff*

  9. dbrodt

    Beautiful post Jessica! Just beautiful!

  10. beautiful. Not only can the world learn something but I too learned so much about your story. Amazing and beautiful 🙂

  11. Kim

    Beautiful! I shared the truth today as well. Thanks for telling your story!

  12. Great post! Thanks for bringing my attention to the movement. We are the truth and I’ve added my 2 cents to the blogsphere.

  13. Such an incredibly beautiful post!

  14. I haven’t read your blog in ages, but am SO glad to have rediscovered it today! What a beautiful post…thanks for sharing! (And, my oh my, your son has grown since the last time I checked in. What a sweetheart!)

    Shawna

  15. An incredibly beautiful story of family! Thank you for sharing

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