It's still dark outside, and I've been awake for an hour. I've had my first coffee, checked emails, and now I go to wake my six year-old daughter, my Sleeping Beauty.
I open her door and pause to listen to the peaceful breathing. She's a heavy sleeper, still needing eleven hours a night and slow to wake up. I smile; I was the same until I became a mother.
I crawl onto her bed and she stirs but doesn't waken.
Her face is a shining star, and I wonder how such a beauty and huge personality can be so serene in slumber.
It hits me hard, like it does sometimes; my joy (and sometimes frustration) at her place in my life, how it comes at a cost. The cost she and her birth mother paid and continue to pay. I worry the emotional expense will prove too much for her as she grows and becomes aware of the complications of what adoption. Already they are beginning - her longings for her biology, her own history, her own culture. I acknowledge her feelings - especially the sad, hard ones - when she expresses them. I correct her when she provocatively says "You're my only mommy!" and remind her that I am not. I assure her it's ok to accept she has TWO mommies who love her very much, even if one of them is not a part of her everyday life. I write about adoption without the rainbows and unicorns as much as I can to respect her reality.
I know that everything I do still won't be enough. I know she will carry an adoption legacy with her for the rest of her life, and my heart aches. For her, for her birth family, for their losses, for my guilt about being blessed to be her mother when another could not.
Lying beside her, I inhale her sweet scent. I warm my lips on her warm cheek. "Good morning, my darling, " I whisper, the way I always do, and tell her how much I love her.
She hasn't opened her eyes, hasn't spoken, but her arms - the ones that sometimes push me away - slowly travel from under covers to find their way around my neck and draw me closer, pulling me cheek to cheek with her. I smile.
This is our connection time. For a few stolen moments, we both forget about the hardships of her life and relish the simple bliss of little arms around my neck.
This is why I adopted. Call it selfish, call it whatever you like - when those precious wings of affection are around my neck and my cheek caresses hers, that is when I feel my calling. I feel complete.
My love will not answer all of her questions, and I am painfully aware of that truth. I have no naive expectations that it should. Yet, for those few morning moments, what we have now is all either of us needs.