Saturday, February 26, 2011

Being a Mother

For finding your mother, there's one certain test.

You must look for the creature who loves you the best.

-David Kirk

Last week, my friend was telling me about her friend who tried in vitro several times unsuccessfully before adopting from Costa Rica and most recently from the states. The friend said, “Tell Heather that if she does in vitro, she should use donor eggs.”

I think in her situation, she must have had egg issues (which I do not), but I thought about this suggestion and how sincerely she must have wanted us to have success. But to me, if you are going to use donor eggs, you might as well adopt.

That’s not to say that using donor eggs for some women isn’t the best choice for them. In fact, my infertility counselor did just that and said she couldn’t have been more pleased with her choice and that her daughter was the most amazing, wonderful daughter she could ever imagine. It’s very important for some women to be pregnant to the extent that they use donor eggs or donor sperm if the issue is a male factor.

After years of infertility and having heard lots of opinions from lots of people, I have concluded that every woman makes the right choice for herself with her husband or partner. There is no right or wrong way to become a mother. Whether she does in vitro, uses donor eggs or a surrogate, adopts domestically or internationally, or chooses not to have children at all, it is her choice and she has made the right decision.

I have considered all these options (except for not having children), and I’ve concluded that I don’t necessarily NEED to reproduce, although I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t be thrilled if Craig and I could have our own children. Being pregnant would be a beautiful experience. But I don’t need it. I just need to be a mother.

As a teacher, every year on the first day of school, I look out at the sea of faces in my class, and they’re just that . . . faces. Names on a roster. But I know this is the only day it will feel like this. As soon as we start working and talking and listening and joking, they become Daniel and Jordan and Brady and Chris and Darius and Maddie, and I love them. And they’re not just faces anymore. They’re crazy, hilarious, young people with stories and dreams. Sometimes it’s painful being a teacher when you want kids so badly and haven’t had them. It’s hard to explain to 7th graders why you’re choked up when they’re giving a speech. “It’s because I’m so proud of you and your mom is so lucky to have you.”

When I told a girl in my class, Alexis, that we were adopting, she said, “Mrs. Curry, Halle and I were just talking last weekend about how you’d make such a good mom.”

Gulp. Does she know that’s what I desire more than anything? That it’s my single most important purpose in life? That I’d give anything to be a mommy?

I’ve known wonderful mothers in my life. My own mom, for starters. The mom of all moms. In one word, I’d describe her as happy. Joyful. Full of life. OK, that was 5 words. She’s selfless and fun loving, and will back you on anything.

My husband’s mom. Strong. Fierce. Loves with a passion and would do anything for her children. She’s hardworking and would give you the shirt off her back.

My sister. Giving. Forgiving. Like a mama bird – delicately nurturing her chicks. Teaching them to fly and proud of their independence.

My sister-in-law. Mama bear. Don’t mess with her cubs. She’s loyal, but she’ll kill you. Don’t mess with her cubs.

There are many different ways to mother, but the common thread is love. When children are loved, they are secure. Regardless of style, love is the most important thing.

I’ve thought a lot about our referral, when we get the name and picture of the child being referred to us. It can be unnerving to think someone else is choosing a child for us. Will she be the right one?

The answer is yes. For one second, she will be just a face and a name. But then she will be my daughter. Forever. She will make me happy, joyful, and full of life. I will love her with a passion and do anything for her. I will nurture her and be proud of her. I'll be a grizzly. I will love her.

How do I know this? Because that’s what mothers do.

And I will be her mother.


Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone,

but still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute,

You didn’t grow under my heart – but in it.

-Fleur Conkling Heylinger

This is an inspiring video about a family who wrote a book called "From Ashes to Africa, " about their experience going from infertility to the most purposeful parenting one could imagine.


  1. My beautiful Daughter...

    "Proud" only BEGINS to describe how I feel about you and this beautiful journey. I AM proud of you, I DO love you... without question, without end. This is so right, it makes so much sense. Knowing you, listening to you, reading your words.... blinking away the tears. I want to thank you. Thank you for being the woman you are, for loving the way you do, and for inviting us all to join you on this journey of love. I simply cannot wait to meet your daughter, my granddaughter.

    I love you! xo Mom

  2. Heather, I know Heidi through etsy. Please go over to my etsy shop and pick ANYTHING you want for your fundraiser! I'll ship to your winner :)
    Let me know what you want and I'll get it pulled!!
    another adoption mama (China)

  3. I can tell your going to be an amazing mama! I'm so happy for you! I've been thinking of you since I received one of your beautiful necklaces from my baby this past Christmas. <3

  4. I love this post. In my mommy lingo, all of my rules, all of my decisions come back to one statement. Love rules. You are going to be a wonderful mother. Shoot. You already are. All you need is the baby!

  5. Your post brought tears to my eyes. You were born to be a mommy and I couldn't be happier the know that your dream is becoming a reality and knowing that another child that is in a need of loving family will have one very soon.

  6. What a beautiful post! I love this and your attitude toward Motherhood. You will both be such a blessing to this little life. I have a friend that adopted a little boy from Guatemala that I'm going to pass your blog post on to. I think she would enjoy it as well.

    Julia from Natural Parents Network

    PS: By the way, I learned about you from Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama!

  7. Your post is so beautiful and heartfelt. I adopted 2 Russian princesses over 11 years ago. The adoption process is a roller coaster ride, so hold on tight and get ready for the ride of your life! It's worth it though. Your adopted children will soon become your "own" children and you won't regret it a bit...(well, maybe in the teen years, but everyone says that.)

    My prayers and thoughts are with you...