‘I just have to ask, do you love Sage as much as you love Ira? I know you say you do, but is it true?’ We sat on my living room floor when she asked me this. I nodded. ‘I absolutely do.’

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“‘I just have to ask… do you love Sage as much as you love Ira? I mean, I know you say you do…but I’m just so curious if it’s true.’

We sat on my living room floor when she asked me this. With a world of confidence and pride in my chest I was able to nod and beam and let her know that I absolutely love Sage as much as I love Ira.

I love them each as though I birthed them both…but I also love them as though I adopted them both. To me, it is the same unending mama love.

Courtesy of Natalie Brenner

Our infant adoption journey infiltrated every piece of our attention. Sure, we still worked and focused on what was at hand, but our adoption journey infused every part of our lives and thoughts.

I was constantly day dreaming, praying, wondering, and breaking.

I had no idea if we would be adopting a boy, a girl, twins or triplets or a singleton. I didn’t know if we would become an interracial/transracial/multicultural family. We were licensed to be placed with a baby up to nine months old, so we were unsure if we would be meeting our future child at a hospital or somewhere else.

All we knew was that we loved our future child, whoever he or she would be, and giving birth to him had nothing to do with it.

Selling our possessions, quitting our current job with unhealthy people, moving across the valley, taking out a loan, fundraising like mad, and filling out about thirteen pounds of paperwork… it felt so trivial and small compared to the cost of becoming a family for a baby.

And then 2015 passed into 2016 and through a series of miracles we landed in a hospital room meeting you and your mom. The mom who carried you, who loves you selflessly, whose blood courses through your veins. She sat on that bed holding you, her tears falling onto your perfect self as she fed you one last time.

The room’s air was thick as molasses as I walked to the bed, wading through immense joy and grief, all in one tragically, beautiful moment.

And then she placed you in my arms and I about melted all over the floor.

There is something sacred about her choosing us to be yours, something I don’t take for granted.

Courtesy of Natalie Brenner

When I met you, you were over a day old and only about 5 pounds small. Your body was teeny and tiny, with a deep red flushed over your brown skin. Your eyes were swollen.

It didn’t matter that I didn’t carry you in my body, it didn’t matter that we didn’t share blood or DNA, all that mattered in those moments was the fierce knowledge that I would do anything for you. That I had been yours and you became mine and this reality came at a high cost, a cost I would never dare diminish or devalue.

My boy, you are so much more than ‘my adopted son.’ I know I often share online about adoption but it’s because I’m so proud of being yours. It’s because there is no shame in your adoption and I believe if more people knew the truth of what adoption can be, they might step into it too.

You made me mama, you taught me love, you hold my heart in ways no one else ever can. You are son of the Most High, you are His and He is yours. I pray I can model that He is enough, even on the darkest days.

Courtesy of Natalie Brenner

You are bold and brave, spirited and sensitive. You have moved mountains in hearts and you’re not even two years old.

You are cherished and adored by many and your mere existence in this family is of a miracle, a mark of grace in brokenness.

Courtesy of Natalie Brenner

Adoption is tragic, but my goodness adoption brought me you.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t love you before I knew you. Because that’s how it worked for me: I loved you something fierce far before I knew you.

And when I first met you, in her arms, a silent promise left my heart and entered hers: I will love this boy to the end of myself, I will do anything for him, and in my mamahood to your son, I will honor you.

Courtesy of Natalie Brenner

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Natalie Brenner of Portland, Oregon. You can follow her journey on Instagram, her website and learn more about her book hereDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read Natalie’s adoption backstory:

‘She said, ‘That’s them. That’s my son’s parents. That’s who I’ve been looking for.’ And then, I told her you were pregnant.’

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