I finished reading the book Mamlita: An Adoption Memoir, by Jessica O'Dwyer, the other night. It is a story of one family's Guatemalan adoption experience. This particular adoption took place around the time I was "in process," so many of the events and emotions were very familiar. "The Hague," the anxiety surrounding the question of the date when my power of attorney was registered, DNA testing and birth mother signatures, previos from PGN, expiring documents that included fingerprints and home studies, doctor's letters and references all due to longer timelines--it was all too familiar.
While I was reading her story, there were times I found myself cheering for her boldness or cringing at what in hindsight might seem like naivety. However, in the moment, who knows what I might have done, so I'm not judging her in any way! After too many months had passed with little to no progress being made in their case, the author decided to move to Antigua to foster their daughter herself and to fight to push their case through family court and PGN. At the end of 2003, they were successful and became a "forever family" officially in the eyes of both the Guatemalan and US governments. I was only a few months behind.
While the general idea behind her story could be any one of the many families adopting from Guatemala during 2002-2004, it was the last few pages that hit me the hardest and gave me the most to think about. It is there that she writes about the search for and meeting with their daughter's birth mother. This is something that I think about at times. Sometimes, I think this is something I need to do, and sooner rather than later. Other times, it scares me enough to take my breath away. After reading this story, it was on my mind again because my precious daughter does ask about her birth mother and her country of birth on a somewhat regular basis. She feels deeply a sense of loss when she thinks about her adoption. I know that isn't meant to hurt me, and it doesn't. But it does hurt my heart to see my sweet girl hurting.
The questions swirl in my head: When? Should I already have? Is it too late? And of course all the "what ifs" too. And then last night, out of the blue, while on the way to her choir school Christmas concert, Gloria asks, "Momma, do you think I could ever meet ________?" (The blank is the name of her birth mother.) It was like she could read my mind because I was pondering that same thing at that very moment. The questions are there, for both of us. And I suppose Gloria gave me an answer. Now what to do with that answer...