I follow her blog. She follows mine. We follow each other on Twitter. We are Facebook friends. Our relationship is complex. She is American. I am Indian. She is Christian. I am Hindu. She eats meat. I do not. She lives in the Southwest. I live in the Northeast. Neither friends nor immediate family, we are linked by our children. She gave birth to them. I raise them.
Unlike most domestic adoptions, she handed over her daughters to me at age 10 months. I had yearned for children for over five years then using science and alternative medicine on my journey to parenthood. I met her the day after we became legal guardians to our children.
All I knew was that there was a tremendous amount of pain involved. I walked away helpless with two tiny children, my heart aching. It took me months to feel the profound happiness that should follow motherhood. Every time my heart soared with happiness, I was reminded of her loss. Every milestone I recorded and retold to family, she was the hazy figure in the background. Not there physically but present in thought.
In the year following the adoption of our children, we took baby steps towards each other. I emailed her. I heard back from her months later. I set up a blog for her not knowing if she read the updates I had for her. Then magically one night, my phone pinged with a comment. I did not sleep that night. Every blog I wrote since, I waited with bated breath to hear from her. The years passed, the emails went back and forth. Then one day she introduced me to yet another member of my daughters' birth family, the children's great grandparents.
We danced the relationship dance. Putting our best foot forward, keeping our children at the forefront of our conversations. Then the thaw set in. We talked about a little more than the children. We talked about family. We talked about our beliefs. We talked about parenting. Our emails were long and filled with love.
One fine day, 12 years after I married my husband, I stood in the bathroom staring at a positive pregnancy test. My children declared themselves my guardian angels. The first trimester was an exercise in coming to terms with pregnancy post infertility and adoption. Once the shock over the surprise pregnancy wore off, I worried about telling my children's mother. She was overjoyed for me. She included my child with hers. Her family embraced my little one as their extended family. The packages that came in the mail now included gifts for the girls' sister as well.
Then it happened, my daughters asked about visiting their mom and their uncles and great grand-parents. Openness in our adoption till then had been about thought. It had been about including birth family, heritage and culture in our everyday life. Now it opened up to the possibility of visits.
We booked the tickets in January for a trip in June. The days and months passed like molasses. I did not know if I was anxious, excited or scared. Friends and family were apprehensive. I spent more time addressing their insecurities than worrying about mine. In the nights before sleep claimed me, I knew without doubt this was the best for all of us.
We met, our children yet again taking center stage. Under the cover of the setting sun, we became more than mothers to our children. We became friends. We became women linked by gratitude. We became sisters of the soul. We knew the debt of gratitude we owed each other.