an honest reflection of love, loss and finding joy
If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw the announcement that Joe and I recently welcomed home our newly adopted baby girl, Amaya Jo (more in the Insta post)! We are over the moon, full of love and joy and I couldn’t be more excited to share the news with you! As I sit here to write this, I realize I have so much to share, but am going to do so over a series of several posts on the adoption process. This one is from the heart on my journey to motherhood and what it truly means to me now.
Just three weeks ago, I was working on a post for Mother’s Day that came from the deep sadness in my heart. I was writing about what it’s like to be a mother to an angel baby in Heaven. (Here’s one of my posts on Ava.) Yes, I’ve been a mother to a baby girl for 10 months now, but without the baby in hand to prove it, it’s often overlooked and forgotten about. That’s part of what hurts the most. I wrote, “I know one day Joe and I will have a child or maybe children in our home to call our own, but becoming a mother and being a mother to an angel baby has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Before learning of Amaya’s arrival two weeks ago (yes, this adoption was a complete surprise!), I was attending an outpatient program in NYC for complicated grief. Losing anyone is hard, but an out-of-order death, especially when it’s your baby is just wrong. Throughout this program, I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel and knew through the strategic work I was doing with the therapist that I would learn to integrate my grief into my lifestyle and no longer allow it to consume me. After about five sessions, I already noticed a difference and had hope to one day finding true joy again. And that’s when we got the call…
Joe and I have been in the adoption process since August. We began with international and due to the three year wait times in most countries to bring home a child, we decided to switch to private domestic adoption. Our lawyer assured us that we would have a baby in about a year (we found ours in six months) and we were ready. Adoption was always part of our marriage plan as I wanted to adopt since I was 5-years old. Now was the time.
While in Miami for a family wedding mid April, we received a call saying that a woman we connected with once in February (very briefly) was in labor and wanted us to adopt the baby. We were shocked and immediately flew across country to meet our daughter. After five days in the NICU and a week in a hotel (we weren’t allowed to cross state lines until paperwork was done), we’re finally home with our new baby girl and settled into our new lifestyle. I’m a mother… again.
So here I am, home with my new baby girl, Amaya, overwhelmed with joy, which is sometimes still coated with a layer of sadness for my angel baby. The arrival of Amaya brought me back to life. I don’t think I could put into words how much I love her, it’s different than anything I’ve ever experienced before, but I can tell you that the stabbing pain in my heart from my loss has dulled. And more often than not, my heart is bursting with joy. I feel like me again.
I’m a mother to two girls now, Ava and Amaya, and I couldn’t feel more blessed today. Now that I have a baby, I feel I’ll be able to talk about Ava more, too. Ava brought us Amaya and Amaya chose us to be her parents. I have no doubt that Ava is our guardian angel. I miss her everyday and now am also grateful everyday for the family Joe and I built even though it’s been a complete struggle. Joe and I have also never been closer.
Motherhood to me, I’ve come to find, is a matter of unconditional love, care and support with the intention to raise a child to thrive by living with compassion, gratitude and an eagerness to learn while seeing the world through eyes of love. It’s about love. Love makes a family.