A Letter To My Daughter On Her Bat Mitzvah: On Adoption and Belonging

My dearest K,

Almost thirteen years ago exactly, we held your baby naming. In fact, Cantor Howard, who is standing beside us today, was there on that occasion. You were five months old and had very recently joined our family. At that ceremony, as I held you in my joyful arms, I recited the following opening lines from Edwin Muir’s poem, "The Confirmation":

“Yes, yours, my love, is the right human face.
I in my mind waited for this long,
Seeing the false and searching for the true,
Then found you.”

Yes, we had found you, and you were the right human face for our family. In retrospect, it’s easy to convince a baby she belongs with you, because you wear her next to your body in a sling, and your arms hold her in physical proximity to your heart. And it is enough.

What I’ve learned from raising you is that the calibration of a sense of belonging is an imperfect calculation, especially in a family built through adoption. As you have grown, your differences from us have become more apparent, which can make you question if you belong.

My beloved daughter, what makes me so proud of you is how you are learning at such a tender age that it is okay to be different, that you can accept and honor your differences and still belong in the same family.

It is no surprise that our family loves watching Supergirl, a series that celebrates an adoptive family and the bond of love between sisters. Like Kara Danvers, you juggle two different worlds, two completely different families, and very few of us can relate to what that is like.  And like Supergirl, you are learning to transform your differences into your strengths. You even look like Supergirl!

Today, we all come here together, your families, your friends, and your community of supporters, to celebrate you in all your uniqueness. Because we love you.

You belong to our family, you belong to your amazing birth family, you belong to the Jewish community, but most of all --  you belong to yourself. You are funny and outspoken, amazing at entertaining younger children, always up for trying something fun, articulate, terrific at talking with grown-ups -- something that not all kids your age can do –- and you are a diligent, hard worker who deserves to feel proud of what you have accomplished here today.

It is your persistent hard work that makes you a successful student and a good swimmer, that allows you to encounter life’s challenges with resilience and boundless spirit. Watching you grow up (and up and up) is a miracle to me.

So, thirteen years later, I say again to you, with renewed conviction and the truest test of time, “Yes, yours, my love, is the right human face.”

I couldn’t love you more for who you are.

Love,
Mom

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Thank you to Susan Ryan Kalina Photography for these beautiful images!!!

Carrie Goldman is an award-winning author, speaker, and bullying prevention educator. Follow Carrie's blog Portrait of an Adoption on Facebook and Twitter

Are you looking for some awesome children's adoption chapter books? The BRAND NEW second book in the Jazzy's Quest chapter book series for adoptees is HERE!!! Be sure to get your copy of Jazzy's Quest: What Matters Most, the sequel to Jazzy's Quest: Adopted and Amazing!

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