Celebrate International Adoption Month with Heroes
As a journalist, I have my fair share of heroes, from those brazen well-written female journalists who came before me (such as Sally Lee, one of my written-word mentors who is now a Senior VP and editor-in-chief of Ladies Home Journal. She is one of a few full-fledged award-winning journalists who weaned me here on the pages of Parents Magazine.) She taught me — still does — that women like me have a social and emotional responsibility to help other women.
As I moved through my thirties and became ultra-aware of the world around me, and began to write about international travel and citizens of our world, my heroes began to include pioneers of a healthier more woman-friendly world, such as Madelyn Albright and Hillary Clinton. Whatever your personal politics, my environmental and political heroes add up!
Then when I gave birth and became a mom a few years back, I had a major paradigm shift. Suddenly, I birthed a healthy baby boy who was perfect in every way — Sam was at the top of his height and weight charts. Sam hit every milestone exactly right, he crawled when he was supposed to, slept through the night right on time and was easy to potty train (but my husband totally did it).
Having Sam in my life every day makes my life’s meaning powerful, passionate, and resolute.
So reading this NY Times story from a mom who gave birth to a very sick baby boy who is going to die before his third birthday, hits me in the gut like a ton of bricks. This mom did all her genetic testing like I did, both of them came back negative. But hers was wrong! My good God, she had no warning and now her perfect angel will die from Tay-Sachs disease.
My heart breaks.
And as I sit here weeping my guts out for her and her beautiful boy, I must place myself in her shoes for only five minutes and I can barely take it! So my own heart grows bigger in my chest cavity and to make meaning of this, I must help a child, another child. Who by luck of the genetic draw needs my help. I have been so lucky with Sam.
I think my family — and especially me — might have the strength to adopt a child from the foster care system, an older kid who will be loved and schooled and supported throughout her life. We’re going for it.
But moms who have chronically sick children are now my heroes.
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