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Adoption Blog: Man Up!
A Tribute to Adoptive Mothers
I remember the first time I saw her, during my junior year of high school, standing in the hall between classes near her locker talking to her friends. I thought to myself, She must be new here. There was something intriguing about her and I wanted to get to know her better, but we had no classes or activities in common. I remember my surprise when, on the first day of class in my last semester of my senior year of high school, she sat down in a seat near mine. We would spend the semester learning more about each other than about American literature, and by the end of that year she was my date to the prom. I remember the anxious feelings I had when, six years later, I was standing at the front of a church sanctuary, awaiting our wedding ceremony. She was the most beautiful girl in the world that day, and she still is. I remember thinking I was the luckiest man in the world that day, and I still am.
I have many special memories of Leslie, my wife now of 15 years. From the prom, to our wedding day, to the day we moved into our first house, to our 5-, 10-, and 15-year anniversaries, she has been the leading lady in the story of my life. And though I thought there was no way I could ever love her more than I always had, that all changed on a January afternoon in Bangalore, India, just over two years ago.
I still remember that image vividly, of my wife holding my new baby boy: We had been through quite a journey on our way to pick up our new son, Manu—both in the travel immediately preceding this moment as well as the longer journey through our fertility struggles followed by the adoption process. By the end of that first day, I was exhausted by the stress of the trip and the overwhelming emotions of meeting our son. I left the two of them and took a short walk around the grounds of the children’s home. I don’t know what it was about that particular moment, but I was moved to tears as I returned and saw the two of them sitting and playing together. I realized then that I finally had all that I had ever wanted. This wasn’t simply the end of a long road toward adoption, it was a culmination of all of our years together working toward this family. She had never looked more beautiful to me than in that moment, not as a girlfriend, a partner, or a wife, but as the mother of our son.
Since that day Leslie has embraced her role as mom. She cares for our son with an instinctual grace—always knowing what to do or say to make the hurt stop or to convince him to eat his broccoli. Manu loves his mommy, and so do I.
Mother’s Day is very special to me and Manu. We celebrate not just the most important woman in our world, but as an adoptive family, we celebrate that adoption gave us this opportunity.
Happy Mother’s Day to all—especially to all of the wonderful adoptive mothers of the world!
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