Grief and Joy

The Kolman family
Courtesy of the Kolman family

You can't escape the bittersweetness of adoption.

When we adopted our third daughter, Ava, her birth mom wanted us involved in the baby's life from the beginning. So when Ava was born, I stayed in the hospital for two days, caring for Ava and visiting with her birth mother, Kelly.

It was a precious experience. But there was also this constant, underlying reality that our time at the hospital would soon end and Kelly would say goodbye to her baby. So in the middle of the bottles and diapers and the sweetness of a new baby, there was grief.

At times, this gut-wrenching sadness hit us like a Mack truck. I would ask Kelly if she wanted me to step out so she could spend some time with Ava. "No," she would say. "I like it when you're here." So I would put my arm around her and watch her cry and wonder if it caused more pain than good.

"No," I said. "Thank you."

Our tears mixed together and covered Ava's little body.

To me, it seemed like the perfect picture of adoption – two mothers, covering this precious baby with tears of grief mixed with gratefulness for the gift they received from each other.


Focus on the Family’s Wait No More program prepares hearts and homes for kids in foster care – whether for a season or a lifetime. Everyone who feels called to foster, adopt or support a foster/adoptive family can get involved through our nationwide events and resources. Every day, we help kids in foster care experience the love of family, no matter how long they’ve waited. Learn more at

This article first appeared in the November/December 2010 issue of Focus on the Family's marriage and parenting magazine. If you enjoyed this article, you can get the publication delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.

© 2010 by Amanda Kolman. Used by permission.

Next in this Series: Letting Go of Fear