I’ve been craving circles of women who have experienced birthing, wanting to hear their sacred stories. I’m so grateful & blessed that mamas from around the globe have agreed to speak their stories to me, and to us… I want to weave a woven wicker basket of mama’s birthing stories for us all to hear in our hearts.
This week, the precious Goddess Lis shares how her daughter came into her life through adoption, and the birthing of their family…
How my daughter came into my life: wow.
I think a lot about her story and how to tell it to best express the magic and the love of the Universe in providing us with gifts beyond the scope of our imaginations.
I guess I should start by saying my husband and I were not sure we were going to have a family and then at the age of 41 I unexpectedly found out I was pregnant. And while that soul was not to manifest through me, I always believed that it had been sent to pave the way for the child that was destined to be in my life.
We went about things the old fashioned way, but at 41 – 42, time was an issue. I was ready to be a mama and a year into trying, I realized maybe I was praying for the wrong thing. I was at my friend’s temple (called the Power of Love Temple built to honor her guru, Swami Kripalu; I was trained in the same yoga tradition) and it was the Harvest Moon. Someone told me I should make a wish while standing under the full moon, so I thought for a moment and instead of asking to become pregnant, I prayed for a healthy baby. Three months later, I had my third miscarriage.
It’s hard to explain, but somehow I knew the way we were going about things was not the right path. Shortly after this, international adoption kept popping into my world. There was an article in the morning paper and then driving to work the radio announced an informational meeting for families interested in adoption. I jumped onto the computer and started researching adoption and finding all these blogs written by families while in China to adopt their daughters. The more I read, the more I realized adoption was the way to make our family. It just felt right in a way that pregnancy had never felt to me.
The whole process from paperwork to receiving the referral for our daughter took about 18 months. During the wait I was teaching prenatal yoga classes and was blown away by the similarities between my students and myself. While I was not physically pregnant, I was moving through similar emotional and energetic experiences to my students. I would be obsessed with cleaning out closets and then go to class and my students would talk about their cleaning and nesting! It was an amazing gift to be part of that circle and to realize we all were transitioning into a new role and our feelings were the same even if our processes were different.
When we finally received the referral for our daughter, I was so scared! She was so beautiful, but so solemn and serious looking in the photographs. I could tell from her picture she had a very VERY strong personality. It’s all very surreal because you are given just little bits of information and 3 pictures. So we knew she liked to play with a red ball, or she would watch others carefully before joining in and would show signs of happiness when she would see her bottle coming. When I saw her birthday, I quickly pulled out a calendar and realized she was born 2 days before the Harvest Moon when I had prayed for a healthy baby. And here she was!
After you get your referral, you have to wait for travel approval and for more paperwork to be filed. We waited 2 long months before we could travel to China. We traveled all day – I don’t know how many hours – and arrived at night to our hotel. The next afternoon we would be receiving our daughter!
Again, it is hard to put into words the sensation of being handed a child – your child! – with a simple “here she is” from the nanny. She was placed into my arms and she immediately grabbed on to me like a baby koala clinging to its mother. Only later, when we got to know her real personality, did we realize how subdued and in shock she must have been those first few days. But she gave herself over to us, trusting us in a way that is really unimaginable to an adult mind. She is someone who lives her life going forward and that was apparent from the start.
That first night, she fell asleep on her daddy’s chest and we were a family. Every night she would lie on top of one of us until she drifted off and we could put her in her crib. But before she fell asleep she would just look into your eyes with such wonderment and amazement, like we were her miracle. I vividly remember one night when she gazed at me with such tenderness, stroking my cheek and cooing and I knew we both had fallen in love with each other. A few days later, we had her down in the hotel playroom. She had not walked yet and while she was old enough to be able to walk, we were not sure she could. I stood her up on wobbly legs, scooted a foot or so away from her, held out my arms and said “come to mama!” And she toddled towards me, a huge smile on her face, and collapsed into my arms with her first real giggles. We repeated this over and over and my husband later told me, in that moment he knew we were all going to be okay.
There are so many moments from that trip that constitute our “birth story.”
Our family was birthed over several weeks in China.
We still look at the videos from that trip and our daughter laughs to see herself as a baby. I think the range of emotions and experiences that play out during birth and delivery take place similarly in adoption, but just over a longer period of time. There is the fear, the doubt, the concern “am I up for this” and “I don’t know what I am doing!” And then your child teaches you to trust your instinct, to just love and to know that that is enough, that you are enough. My daughter is my greatest teacher, my greatest love and my greatest challenge. I cannot imagine loving anyone as much as I love her. As she says to me, “I love you to all the gassy and nongassy planets and back again.”
She has taught me that Love is truly the vibration that set our Universe into motion.
Our family birthday is August 22, 2006 so we’ve been a family for a little over 3 years now. Our daughter, Clara, was 23 months old when we adopted her.
The medicine and lessons my daughter has taught me: I joke that she is polishing my rough edges, but really she has shown me the places where I need to work on myself: my attachment to needing to feel in control, being right, looking “right” to the outside world. Now I see this life as such a gift; our being together a precious thing that should be celebrated everyday, which may mean joining in when she spontaneously starts dancing or singing in public!
The biggest lesson or gift she has given me is a renewed trust and knowledge that the Universe always provides what is in our best interest. I now fully embrace the idea of karma yoga in the sense of doing my job, doing my best and then surrendering to the Universe the outcome of my actions.
Even when the outcome is not what I anticipated, whatever does happen is a blessed gift greater than anything I could have envisioned for myself. My daughter is proof of that.
Why did we choose each other? I definitely believe she called out to me, sparking my prayer to that full moon. I think we needed each other to reaffirm the power of love to heal all wounds. Her story is still unfolding, but I hope that the love we shower upon her is teaching her that her life is cherished, secure and full with possibility. I know she inspires me to be the best me I can be. She is such a strong person, a powerful force, she has taught me to embrace and express my power.
Love, trust and joy: those three words describe our relationship and I think we came together to experience those gifts.
Dearest Goddess Lis… thank you for sharing your beautiful, exquisite, family-birthing story with us… I am so very touched by you, your family & your experiences. You are a magnificent mama goddess!
Hearts wide open to miracles,