The Memory-Keeper's Son

I just looked at Jafta's baby book for the first time since we finalized his adoption. I hadn't really thought about looking at it - India just pulled it out. But as I sat there flipping the pages, I was flooded with memories of assembling it. Making a baby book is something that should be a labor of love for a mom, especially a first-time mom. Choosing memories for a baby book should be a beautiful thing. But for me, this book was an EXTREMELY painful process. In fact, I could barely finish it, and it took over a year to complete, because I had to walk away from it so many times.

There was so much uncertainty about Jafta's adoption, and the baby book, to me, seemed like a huge symbol of the potential loss. As I chose the pictures, I couldn't help but think about his future. I would wonder what I would do with the baby book if he was taken from us. Would I send it with him? Would I keep it? If I gave it to his birthmom, would she even keep it? If I kept it, would I ever be able to look at it again? Every time I tried to work on this book, these thoughts would fill my head.

Making his baby book also brought up other fears. What if he never remembered us? What if all of these memories I had with this child were never known to him? Who would he become apart from our loving family, and what would that seperation do to him? It was even painful looking at family portraits back then. The questions about Jafta's future lasted well into India's first year. I used to wonder if, someday, India would look at these pictures and not recognize or remember the boy sitting next to her. I even had the awful thought, during those years, that perhaps we should be taking seperate family portraits without him, just in case. So we would not have a three-year string of photos that had to be stored away in case he wasn't a permanent member of our family. What a terrible thought for a mom to have.

Looking at his baby book brought back all of these memories for me, and I felt a huge sense of grief for the joys of first-time motherhood I missed out on, for the magnitude of stress I lived under when Jafta was a baby. I found myself sobbing as I thought of the tightness in my chest I felt making that book. But then, I felt relief. I allowed myself to look at all the pictures in a new light. I gazed at the family photos as just a happy, PERMANENT family. I allowed myself to feel grateful that I will be the keeper of this baby book. I will be the one who adds to this catalogue of memories. I will be the one who shows embarrassing baby photos to high school sweethearts. I will be the mother watching these photos in a wedding slide show.
I am glad that I will be the memory keeper for Jafta's life. I am humbly grateful that his memories will be made with me.


7 comments:

  1. Hi K!
    I am thinking when you show Jafta's friends the photo of you and he down below ... they'll notice less about Jafta, and possibly more about your cleavage. Just a guess.

    ;)

    Hot Mama. Thanks for your sweet not. Since I know you are a counselor, I feel that I received free counseling. Missions-type people love free things. Thanks!

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  2. Hi! Love your blog! I have to admitt hough, the poop in the tub is my favorite as of yet. Unfortunately, I can realte...

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  3. You have always been Jafta's mom. I'm just glad the state finally realized that. :)

    Can't wait to look at the Baby Book.

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  4. Wow. this totally makes me cry...so GLAD and RELIEVED that Jafta is my nephew for life! We loved seeing you guys this week!

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  5. Thank you for sharing this...you have given me the encouragement I needed to work on our babies' memory books...even though I know I may not be the one to keep them permanently...it has done my heart good to know someone else heart ached over this as well. Thank you...

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  6. I know this is a super old post, but we're just getting into fostering and I already wonder the same things that you posted about wondering here. It's such an act of self-sacrifice, I guess, that I can't worry about the memories that will or won't be there for life. I'm new to your blog and am working my way through old posts and happy to find such raw writing about your emotions surrounding fostering and adoption. Thanks for sharing so much.

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  7. I can not tell you how much I understand this pain and how much this post meant to me and how much I hope I will one day be where you are at.

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