We had been parents to Daniel for five years when we brought this beautiful 6 pound 2 ounce baby girl home from the hospital. I couldn’t imagine that the experience of giving birth could be surpassed emotionally by anything else. Perhaps surpassed is the wrong term. But what I discovered in the days, months, and years that followed that day in September 1999, was that adopting a child, and indeed also being a part of an open adoption, would unearth in us and in our family, close and extended, the very core of what “family“ means. It would shake any definition of being a parent we ever believed in.
We were in the small percentage of people who hope to adopt, that did not experience months and years of planning and waiting. Diana came to us in seven short months, very little time to ponder what this would all mean. We wanted our son to have a sibling - plain and simple. Well there’s really nothing plain and simple about adoption. In every adoption, we all know that the child is at the centre of the circle of their heritage, and we learn that we must not exclude any of those beginnings from their world. It is the foundation of who they are, and who they will become, and it is our job as parents to honour and respect this truth.
It’s been said many times that adoption is not a single event, but a lifelong journey - for all of us involved. Twelve years into it, we are cherishing its every twist and turn, and embracing the sweetness as well as the challenges. Being a parent is the most daunting, spectacular and life changing experience, but being an adoptive parent adds a dimension to the responsibility that at its best makes us more loving, understanding, tolerant and generous human beings. We have Dianas birthmom to thank for that - and of course our Diana.
Photo credit: Christine Hardy, Oakville