I’m not a morning person, but when you have a very active four year old, you don’t have much of a choice. Our rental home is small, but it’s quaint and I’m enjoying the quiet road we now live on. Our kitchen windows have perfect view of the front yard. Each morning the neighborhood kids meet in front of our home to wait for the school bus. My tired eyes are flipping pancakes for my overly curious son when he yells out, “There she is mom.” “Who buddy?” I reply. “She’s right there mom.” as he’s running to the front door. “Buddy, stop. Who is it?” I ask, as I reach for him. His eager reply… “It’s your little butterfly mom. She’s waiting for the bus.”
His words stop me dead in my tracks. I walked him over to the window and explained to him that was not our little butterfly, however, she did look a lot like her. My words were scattered and broken as I fought back unexpected tears. His excitement, his wonder, his automatic desire to run to her… all brought a harsh reality to my life as a birth mom.
My little butterfly’s picture has always been in our home. My husband and I had made the choice to never keep her a ‘secret’. My three children have known about her from day one. They know the word adoption, birth mom and the simple version to my decision to place. What I didn’t realize, at that time, was the curiosity and the desire that would come in wanting to know her and see her.
My then four year old is now twelve years old. Throughout the years he would spot her in various places and point her out to me. That has now stopped since he has gotten older. His questions about her have grown deeper and now his statements are all centered around the day we will meet her. With each question I have relied on my gut instinct on how to answer him properly and at times I’ve replied with a simple, I don’t know. I think it’s important for him to know that I don’t have all the answers.
Being a birth mom has changed almost every aspect of my life. It has changed the way I parent. It has given me a deeper knowledge of love, sacrifice and selflessness. It showed me what true friendship and unconditional love is, by the support I was given and am given since the day I found out I was pregnant. It has pushed me to become a better person as a whole. It has changed what I choose to do day in and day out, by supporting other birth moms and being an adoption advocate.
However, being a birth mom is still just a part of who I am. It is only a chapter of my story. I am beyond grateful for the lessons it has taught me and the effect it has had on the person I am today, but it is not all that I am.
I am still not a morning person and it takes me a good hour or so before I am even approachable in the mornings. I love being a baseball mom. I can throw on a hat, some sneakers and head to the ballpark. I have to hold back my excitement and disapproval with some umpires in order to not embarrass my son. I’m overly competitive. I also love being a dance mom, not 'that' kind of dance mom, but helping my daughter reach her goals as a dancer has been a beautiful thing in my life. Her and I love to dress up, grab a drink and a treat and spend an afternoon shopping for a good deal. I have a deep appreciation for art in any form. I can cry at the lyrics to a touching song and constantly have music playing in our home. I marvel at the beauty of the outdoors, whether that's high on the mountain top or staring out into the ocean. I’m obsessed with fashion, hiking, yoga and hot baths.
I am a birth mom and I embrace that. I also recognize the beautiful lessons it has taught me and what it has changed in my life. I am also Gina, who loves a lot of things outside of adoption and being a birth mom and I think that’s the beautiful balance of who I am.