"Don't worry. You'll have your own."
I didn't watch my stomach stretch and make way for him,
but I cradle his head, praying and
memorizing patterned blocks on the kitchen floor
while his body trembles with another seizure.
He didn't count contractions and encourage me to push,
but he labors in the backyard, calling plays and
kicking goals over grass that stopped wanting to be green
while his heart beats our names.
I didn't gasp with gratitude at their first breath,
but I cheer from the stands, yelling and
beaming at the crooked grin on his face
while he creates a cloud of dust to first base.
He didn't proudly cut the cord and cry, "It's a boy!",
but he wrestles in the living room, tickling and
teasing until tears come and they scream for more
while I watch him, a dad, from the doorway.
In one stretch, one push, one gasp, one cry,
we became a symphony of grief and giggles
of supersized sadness and sweaty hugs.
We became family.
We look at them with knowing eyes and wise nods, agreeing,
yes, they are our own.
This isn't written from a place of anger, but of education. I would like others to be aware of how damaging and hurtful the phrase "your own" can be not only to adoptive parents, but especially to adoptive children. Endale and Jude are forever ours; we couldn't love them more if we had physically labored for them.