Jane: “He isn’t one of them! They aren’t even his real family!”
Professor Archimedes Q. Porter: “Have you ever known a family not to be real?”
Last night we took a road trip to St. George, UT to see Tarzan at Tuacahn. Tarzan has always been one of my favorites. The music, the colors, the costumes! The story of a little boy raised by Apes that discovers he is really human. I have fond memories of when the Disney version came to theaters and I went with my Aunt Tel to the drive in movie to see it. However, as the opening song started and the actors took their places, I realized I was watching a very different story unfold before me than the story I had grown up with.
The songs were the same, the characters were the same, but I am not the same.
When Tyce was first placed in my arms, I remember looking at his tiny form and knowing that my life was forever changed for the better. My love for him was and is real. But with adoption comes insecurities.
There are insecurities in every level of the adoption triad. If you get on any adoption related group on Facebook, you’ll be bombarded with all those insecurities. But, that is what happens when you mold two families into one.
I’ve been really good about
pushing past ignoring my own insecurities involving adoption. I joined a million adoption groups when we started the adoption process. I talked with birth mothers, adoptees, other adoptive families; A common theme seemed to be insecurities. I have learned so much and am learning so much more about perspective. My mind and heart were constantly on those birth families and adoptees that expressed the loss they felt.
I felt selfish in my happiness.
But for the first time in Tyce’s 10 months of life, while sitting there watching this musical performance, my insecurities hit me in full force.
After Kala finds Tarzan she sings to him one of the most memorable songs in Disney history. An ode from a mother to her son.
You’ll Be In My Heart“Come stop your crying it will be all right.Just take my hand old it tight.I will protect you from all around youI will be hereDon’t you cryFor one so small, you seem so strongMy arms will hold youKeep you safe and warmThis bond between us can’t be brokenI will be hereDon’t you cry‘Cause you’ll be in my heartYes, you’ll be in my heartFrom this day onNow and forever more“
I’ve been singing “You’ll Be In My Heart”to Tyce since he was born. It is just the first song that comes to my head when a baby is crying. I never paid attention the words, I just knew it said, “stop your crying.” So it’s bound to work, right?
But, as I am watching the story unfold I realized I was no longer in the Tuacahn ampitheater, but instead in the NICU at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Instead of Kala holding baby Tarzan, it was me holding baby Tyce. So yes, I am comparing myself a gorilla.
Through the song, Kala was making promises to her new son that looked nothing like her, but was indeed her child. Just like I did with Tyce. I promised Tyce I would always be there for him, that I would love him unconditionally, that I would protect him and support him. I also told him that everything was going to be okay.
Little did Phil Collins know, that when he was writing this song, he was writing it from the words and feelings in my heart. (Do you think that is enough for me to get a cut of his earnings?)
I love the scene where Kala is holding her hand up to Tarzan’s hand and then pointing out how they both have brown eyes. Showing him that they really aren’t that different.
I don’t know how Tyce is going to think or what feelings he is going to feel, but I want him to know that I love him with my whole heart. I can’t tell you how many times I have had scenarios run through my head of when Tyce is older and asking me questions about adoption. We are so blessed to have an open adoption. I know that will ease some of the questions, but I know that it can also create more questions. I can only guess what insecurities he will have as he grows. The only thing I can do is make sure that I am prepared for whatever he may need.
I sat in my seat, feeling all the feels, loving the adoption connection I made to the play…and then the story continues… and Tarzan grows up.
Everything That I AmTarzan: “Ooh I want to know where I belongI want to know where I came fromI want to know the reason why I’m hereThe way I amFeeling the things I feelIs this my family?”
Tarzan is given the choice of whether he should go back to England with Jane and the other humans, or stay in the Jungle with his family. He decides that he wants answers to his questions and makes the decision to go back with Jane.
This is the moment that my insecurities hit me in full force. They hit so hard they started rolling down my face.
Kala is sitting there watching Tarzan make this decision, and the look on her face is filled with so much pain. But despite all of her hurt, she demonstrates her love for her son by letting him go.
My mind starts racing as I envision myself and an older Tyce on the stage. I wonder, “am I not enough?” “Do you blame me?” “Could I have done something different?” Then I wonder, “am I strong enough to do the same?”
About this time is when Tarzan looks at Kala and says,
“No matter where I am, YOU will always be my mother.”
Adoption is not the easy way, but it is the way I chose and I have no regrets. Adoption doesn’t mean that Tyce is mine and that’s it. No, I get to be Tyce’s mother and because of that I accepted the responsibility to always be what Tyce needs me to be.
Adoption is bigger than an adoptive parents desire to be a parent.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when I was given the honor of being Tyce’s mother, I didn’t just get a son, I got a whole new extension of my family. Tyce is still Marshallese, he still shares genetics with another set of parents. That doesn’t go away when we sign the adoption papers.
BUT despite my insecurities, they are nothing compared to my love for Tyce. Now, I give him another promise. “I promise that I will never let my insecurities hold you back in anyway. I promise that I will always stand by you in your journey. I promise that I will always make you a priority, even if that means that I need to sit back and promise to always be here when you need me. You will ALWAYS be in my heart.”
You’ll Be In My Heart (Reprise)No one could understand the way we feelHow would they know, how can we explain?Althought we’re different, deep inside usWe’re not that different at all‘Cause you’ll in my heartYes, you’ll be in my heartFrom this day onNow and forever more