As a birth mother, I’m an open book when it comes to my adoption story, with the hope of helping others know that they aren’t alone, and to perhaps even reshape how adoption is viewed.
I was having coffee with a sweet church friend, and as we talked about the daily motherhood blessings and battles, she asked about my recent interaction with Anna.
“Can I ask you a question? Do you love her less?”
Her meaning Anna, my birth daughter whom I placed for adoption when I was 16 years old.
“No. I don’t love her less.”
My love for her is absolutely, unequivocally the same as my love for my other children. I treasure her presence and her smile. I loved my pregnancy, and I bonded with her in those months I spent watching her roll around in my womb. I cherished the velvety feel of her chubby cheeks as I stroked them just after her birth. I loved holding her, just like I loved holding all of my newborns.
But at the end of the day, she is theirs.
Of course, there is a difference. She isn’t in my daily life. I don’t know her latest favorite color or her teacher’s name, nor have I seen her latest drawing hanging in her room. What is different is our bond, our connection. While I know my parented children to the core, I am not with her to know her heart all the time. There is love binding us together, but in many ways, she feels like a niece or a child of a friend, one whom I adore spending time with and money on, and whom I want to know more. But at the end of the day, she is theirs.
I believe Anna and I have a underlying connection that can only come from her hearing the beat of my heart and me feeling her feet from within. Over the years, that connection has deepened and blossomed into a beautiful friendship. I have faith the best is yet to come for us.
Adoption is love. It is love that led me to choose the life I did for her. For us.
Leah Outten is a mom in different ways: a mother to five, a birth mother to one in an open adoption, and a few babies in Heaven. In the pockets of her day, she works closely with Arrow + Root to educate adoptive parents, along with helping communities better navigate the issues surrounding adoption today. In her free time she loves to watercolor and snuggle her cats. Learn more about Leah at her blog, The Grace Bond.