Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chance Encounters

I had the privilege of meeting a wonderful woman last week. We were let out of work early for the 4th of July and I happened to be walking out of the door to the stairwell at the same time she was. I held the door open, and as she passed through, she said, "I have to ask now just because I'm curious...what does your tattoo say?" I explained that it was my daughter's birth date and that it read "always in my heart." She said "oooh," but I could hear in her voice that she wanted to ask what happened, but didn't think fit was her place. I said, "she was adopted at birth, so I got this as a way to honor her." She thought I meant that I myself had adopted her, and went on to tell me about how she adopted both of her daughters, too. I told her that I actually had given birth to her, but placed her for adoption with another family. The woman (who I will call Katie, even though that isn't her real name) looked as if she was about to cry. She said she had never met or had a conversation with another birthmom outside of the two adoptions she took part in, and I told her that I had, in fact, never talked with another adoptive mom, other than my daughter's, face-to-face, either.

We talked for a while...maybe about thirty minutes...and she asked me what led to my choice to place my little girl, etc. The questions she asked would have sounded invasive had they come from anyone else, but I could tell she was truly interested and not judging me one single bit. She asked me how her birthdad and I came to choose the family we did; what qualities did they have, was he on board with me, etc. She shared with me that her two adopted girls were also biracial and they have an open adoption with one girl's birth family but not the other (apparently it was the birth family's choice - this adoption also took place eleven years ago, when things were a little different).

By the end of the conversation, we were both in tears and she concluded that we both needed a hug. It was an amazing conversation and was even more extraordinary because I have passed this woman in the halls many times and had no idea who she was. I work in a very large corporation, so I am bound to be unaware of who 50% of the people working there are. Our entire meeting simply struck me, though, because I was in such a rush to leave because we had an early dismissal but after meeting her and hanging around and talking,  I started to wonder why everyone (or the majority of people) are always in a hurry to rush every aspect of their lives. I was in a do what? Enjoy being out early, of course, but what would I have done? Come home and read? Sit on the computer? I wanted to beat the traffic, but had I left, I would have missed out on an extremely touching conversation. I'm glad that I didn't.

I will leave you with what she told me when we parted ways: she told me that she knows it's probably hard for me right now, and always will be, but that I should be sure that my daughter will always be loved by so many people. She said that my daughter will very likely love me for what I did for her and also told me that if I'm ever feeling down to just remember that I am an angel, and that people like me are the reason she gets to be a parent to two beautiful girls.

She's right. Not to toot my own horn, but she is right. In my personal case, everyone in the adoption triad is an angel. My daughter's adoptive parents are angels for raising her the way I always imagined she would be raised. Her birth father and I are, in a way, angels to her adoptive family for giving her life and giving them a new meaning of life in her. And last but definitely not least, our daughter is an angel to everyone single one of the lives she has touched, not only through her adoption, but just for being part of this world.

I wanted to be sure to share that last part with you all - whether you are a birth parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, or adoptee - I really believe you are all angels!

Have you ever had a touching conversation with someone on the opposite end of the triad as you?


  1. I have a great community of adoptive parents that I also consider friends. I've met them through my blog and now through twitter. They've provided valuable insight and they've told me they appreciate my insight as well. I love the fact that through my blog and immersion in social media that I've met so many people like the lady you just met. Glad you had that experience! :)

  2. That's awesome! I am so grateful for the wonderful people I've met along the way (including you)!

  3. Elizabeth: I love this! It amazes me that the more open I am about my experience, the more open others are about theirs. And what's really amazing is how many people have been touched my adoption in some form or fashion. It never stops surprising me when I meet an adoptive mom and she starts crying and thanking me for my sacrifice. Your post is a great picture of that. Thank you!