Adoption Month Guest Blog by Catalyst Center Staff, Leisa Rattray

November 17, 2022

Adoption Month

Guest Blog by Catalyst Center Staff, Leisa Rattray

I spent hours staring at a blank page, trying to work out the best way to share my story of being an adoptive parent in honor of Adoption Month.  I could write about the tedious process of getting certified and having to keep our shampoo under lock and key; about how scary it can be not knowing the hardships my child may face in the future and wondering if I can be who she needs me to be. I could write about the pain I felt when she was a baby and I had to say goodbye to her every morning when I left for work, not knowing if she would still be there when I got home or if the social worker had finally decided to move her to someone else.

I could write about my story, but my story isn’t unique. And my story isn’t really what matters.

Mia joined our home when she was 2 days old.  It had been fifteen months since we started the journey to be resource parents with the hope of adopting; nine months since we were fully certified; and eight hours since we received the call that would change our lives.  

But just as our story started long before our daughter was placed with us, so did hers.  

At 2 days old, she had already experienced trauma so severe that it will impact her, in some way or another, the rest of her life; the sudden loss of the person to whom she was the most connected.  We don’t know much about her birth mother, but we know she carried her for 37 weeks. She gave birth to her in a hospital. She gave her a name.  We can imagine she talked to her, sang her songs, touched her tummy and felt her kick. We can imagine she held her when she was first born and wrapped her in a blanket.

But, at 2 days old, Mia lost everything she had known for the past 9 months. All of a sudden, she was alone in the world.  She was a newborn going through substance withdrawal, and the only comfort she had known was gone.  And in its place was an unknown environment, filled with new sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and people.

While in my heart, she has always been my daughter, I was not always her mama.  I didn’t need the time to bond, I already loved her unconditionally and wanted to hold her tight. But at 2 days old, she needed time to get to know us. She need time to grieve her loss.  She needed time to learn how to bond; how to trust.  And she may need that time for the rest of her life.  

Adoption is often depicted as an end to a child’s story.  But its just the start of a new chapter.  

Mia joined a home with 2 parents who love her more than life itself; a dog and cat who took turns sleeping under her crib each night. She has doting grandparents and an adoring family. She has so many people in her life that will forever tell her she is loved, she is cared for, she is wonderful, amazing, brilliant, perfect.

Mia’s adoption is our dreams coming true, she is everything we could have ever asked for and more.  But while we celebrate her adoption into our family, we also have to remember that it doesn’t erase her loss.

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