Delivering Three

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[Editor’s Note: This post is today’s featured entry in the Journey to Motherhood with Ricki Lake story contest. Find out how to submit your story and see the video message from Ricki here -- you could win a wonderful prize package! -- Jenna]

I have delivered three children: the eldest biologically and the younger two through adoption. It is true that the methods of delivery were different for each child. My oldest son, Christian, well, he was a miracle to me in that I truly never knew if I would be a mother.

I was adopted internationally as a child and so the thought of “having” a baby seemed foreign to me. When I was pregnant with him, though, it seemed as if I was meant for the experience. The pregnancy was a healthy one and on the day I gave birth to my son, I remember feeling overwhelmed with joy. I had never held anyone in my arms before whom I was connected to biologically.

In addition, the nine hours of labor (using no pain medicines) proved to me that I could achieve anything. I was giving birth to another human being, a gift to the world! I felt close to goddess status. I also realized how difficult it must have been for my own birth mother to let me go. I held my baby in my arms, he was so tender, soft, and warm. “I could never part with you.” I whispered. “How did she do it?” I asked. The only answer that came to me was that, love: real and pure, gives you the strength to think beyond your own needs and extend yourself, sometimes, in the most painful of ways.

Christian’s birth taught me to forgive.

My second child, another beautiful little boy, was waiting for me in Russia. I recall the first time we met, it was a warm day in the southern part of his native land. My husband and I flew from Moscow. We were escorted to the orphanage, which stood behind a wall with iron gate. I was nervous. So many children there in need of families. One was waiting for us. What would I feel when I first saw him?

Minutes, which seemed like hours, passed by and then the door suddenly flew open. I gasped and cried out, “Ian!” An orphanage worker walked into the room and handed my son to me. He was gorgeous! I held him up, so that I could drink him in. He looked into my eyes and began to laugh. That’s right, he cackled and giggled. I began to chuckle, as well. Then, my husband chimed in and before you knew it, the room was filled with our laughter!

Ian is just that way, a little boy bubbling over with happiness. He’s pure joy and lives life to the fullest. Ian never asks, what if I can’t? It has simply never existed in his vocabulary. He’s a “can do” kind of guy. He doesn’t know this, but I watch him daily. I take in his attitude and his primal belief in himself. It is infectious! Never boastful, only natural: he’s sweet and good.

Ian’s delivery taught me to laugh, even in the face of complete change. Just think, in Russia he was being taken from one world and plopped into another. Still, he went into the newness of his adoptive life with laughter. He hasn’t stopped to this day!

My third child, a little girl, was waiting for me in Ethiopia.

three

I remember the first time I saw my daughter. It was a damp and chilly afternoon, in Addis Ababa.

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