The “Firsts” of Adoption

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When I met my children, they were 15 months old. I wasn’t there the first time my daughter crawled or the first time my son walked. I don’t know if they sucked their thumbs, when they first sat up, or when they rolled over. I don’t even remember some of the milestones for which I was present — when did he first say “Mama?” When did she? I can remember the first time he said “spoon,” but not “Mama,” because apparently, my brain is great at prioritizing.

But I do remember the first time she said “I love you” and the first time I saw them spontaneously hold hands. I remember our adoption day, when we officially became a family. We’ve celebrated first (and now second, third, and fourth) holidays and taken our first family vacation. Through each new experience, we have built our family’s story, adding memories to our history together.

The Milestones Still Matter

I am honored to be their mom and to experience so many milestones. I’ve watched my daughter draw her first recognizable picture and found myself amazed as her attempts to write progressed from scribbles to attempts at letters. I’ve watched my son’s Lego towers grow taller and taller and watched him imagine elaborate adventures (most of which involve pirates). I didn’t watch as they took their first steps, but I’ve watched them learn to run.

When I first began to consider parenthood, I thought I wanted a baby. All of the baby milestones seemed so important: the rolling over, the walking, the cute monthly pictures documenting baby’s growth. I know better now; I don’t want that. What I want is whatever time I can have with these exact children — with my children. And the “firsts” never really stop. Each milestone is exciting, each new discovery full of wonder. They’re constantly learning, and though they have, for the most part, mastered sitting up and rolling over, there is always a new skill to learn or a new obstacle to conquer. As their mom, I have gained far more than I have missed. 

National Adoption Month 2017

This November, the theme of National Adoption Month is “Teens Need Families, No Matter What.” In Ohio alone, there are approximately 2,600 children waiting to be adopted. Of that number, nearly half are age 13 or older. While my own children aren’t yet teenagers, I can imagine the memories waiting in our future: first dates, first jobs, extracurricular activities — and, hopefully someday, some trips to the mall that don’t involve the phrases “don’t lie down on the floor!” or “stop licking that!” Waiting teenagers in foster care also need and deserve families to delight in these experiences and to share in so many others. 

Further Resources on Adoption

If foster care or adoption interest you, I encourage you to check out some of the following local resources. If you are not in a position to foster or adopt at this time, there are many other ways to help, including Franklin County Children Services’ Holiday Wish Program, which provides toys and gifts to children in foster care.

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Sarah has lived in the Columbus area her entire life, despite spending winters longing for tropical beaches. She always knew she wanted to be a mom, so once she had the space, Sarah chose to become a foster parent, a decision that led to meeting and eventually adopting the greatest kids in the world, her now four-year-old boy/girl twins. Together they enjoy exploring playgrounds and parks around central Ohio, having dance parties in the car to Koo Koo Kanga Roo and The Shazzbots, and repeated viewings of Moana.  Sarah somehow completed a master’s in education while her kids were toddlers, though she still isn’t sure how. She previously worked in higher education, however, since becoming a mom her interests have shifted to early childhood, as for her, one of the greatest joys of motherhood has been watching her children play and grow and rediscovering the world through their eyes. Sarah enjoys finding the joy in everyday moments through photography, finding the right words to express feelings and ideas in writing, and finding the most ridiculous items possible at thrift stores. She is a hoarder of information as evidenced by her lengthy library reserve list, though more often than not all her library books are returned unread -- the siren call of Netflix is too strong.