By Henry Amador-Batten
November is National Adoption Month and each year during that month, I as well as countless other adoptive families share their story.
We share them to raise awareness for all the thousands of children still without homes of their own lingering in the Foster Care system.
We share them to add our voices to the collective sound of fathers and mothers that have opened their homes and their hearts to children that are not biologically theirs but theirs non the less.
We share them as testament to our families and how they were formed, to solidify our presence and make ourselves more visible and strong.
As LGBTQ families we share them as beacons of lights for other families on the same path and also to help show mainstream culture who we are and how we came to be.
This year, as November comes to an end, I wanted to share a different story, I wanted to tell the story of the women that the Universe put in place to help my husband and I become fathers.
A list of women that did some brave and heroic things that led us to the day that a newborn was placed in our arms.
For some, that afternoon was where their roles ended and for others they are still strong and present figures in our lives.
I may not have ever truly thanked them enough, assuming I even could, but I love and appreciate them all.
Here they are..In order of appearance.
I’ll start with my mother who passed away in 2004, nearly seven years before our boy was born.
I have often written about being raised by a strong-willed, single, hispanic, catholic mother who although accepting me as a gay man was difficult for her, always tried her best.
I have shared how she instilled in me such a level of love and nurturing that I can only attest any level of success that I have had as a parent to her.
What I have not shared yet about my mother and my son is that I am sure they met.
When my boy was born, in those early moments of his life as we swam in a sea of excitement and fear and untold emotions, I often smelled my mom on him.
Those of you that have lost a loved one understand the smell I speak of, It’s a mixture of scent and emotion and memories. It’s that scent that is created when you mix their cologne or perfume, In my moms case Chantilly, with tears and time. It’s a smell that is undeniable and singularly theirs and my boy smelled like her.
I know that they met and I know that she held him and I know that she whispered things in his ears that only he can and will remember.
I know that it was her warmth and spirit that sent him down to us on that wonderful day in October in 2011.
She was the first in my list of mothers that sent him to us.
My oldest and dearest friends, M.
We were young together. Our friendship spans the course of 30 + years.
She has sat by my side when no one else would and we have shared secrets with one another that no one else will ever know.
We watched each others mothers pass and we have survived and celebrated marriages and divorces.
When I needed two witnesses to come to the hospital, 72 hours after my son’s birth, for the birth mother to sign the final adoption consent forms, she was one of them.
An amazing mother herself, trying to reconcile the idea of a woman preparing to give away her child when she herself was completely devoted to her own. She showed up for us and gave me that reassuring smile that we often gave one another. It’s almost over she said, soon he’ll be yours she said, let’s do this she said.
The second mother sent our way to hold and steady my hand, to calm my nerves and remind me that we do what needs to be done for our children, whatever it is and for always.
My second most amazing best friend, S.
I am an only child but if there were anyone I could call a sister it would be her.
I am Godfather to her son and she the Godmother to ours.
It was through her world and her connections that we were eventually introduced to the woman who would bear our son.
She was the other witness at the hospital that day.
I know the Universe put her in-place to offer some comfort to our sons birth mother.
Life and her experiences gave her the clarity and the ability to understand what she might have been going through and the life-altering decision she was making.
I remember looking at her eyes that day in the hospital as all the legal documents were being signed, I remember knowing that she had my back and that the tears she cried were not just tears of happiness for us but also tears of sadness and compassion for what that young woman was feeling.
She was the third mother sent to my son’s side to help us and to ease some of his birth mothers pain.
I’ll never forget the first time she met our son, her grandson. I was feeding a newly born child in the airport awaiting her arrival. She came down the escalator and upon seeing us burst into the loudest most joyous tears one could imagine. She had tunnel vision and came to that baby like she had been waiting for him her entire life. My husband and I have been married for six years, together nearly ten and she has always been the kindest and most loving person to me. But I know why the Universe put her in my life and that was to be our son’s Mimi. I believe that her life, her journey, her every step was perfectly orchestrated to make her the grandmother she is today.
She is the fourth in the list of mothers in his life, the Mimi that will cherish him and that he will cherish forever.
The birth mother’s sister.
Friends with S, she knew that her sister was considering giving up her child for adoption and she knew that my husband and I desperately wanted to start a family. She reached out to us and made the introductions. She even brought her sister so we could all meet and chat over coffee. She was only a part of the story in the very beginning, she left her sister and us to handle the rest.
She is a loving mother that knows that a parent should do what is best for the child. She believed her sister was doing just that.
She was the fifth mother that the Universe sent our way to connect our families in the most profound and miraculous way.
Our boys biological mother.
How does one truly thank or honor the person that gave you the greatest gift imaginable?
It has been four years since we became parents, and there is seldom a day that goes by that I don’t send her a loving thought.
My constant prayer for her is that her life fulfills her and provide her with joy. I hope that when the day comes that my son wants to meet her he finds a woman who can provide him with some of that same joy and comfort.
I won’t begin to explain her reasons, her circumstances, her decisions, that is her story to tell.
She was the sixth mother that God sent our way, the mother that would deliver our son to us, the most important mother of all.