Maybe it’s the time of year, closing in on Xmas as we are right now. Maybe it’s the adult onset ADHD I seem to be developing. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve been sick and am now feeling overwhelmed by all my blessings. I started out today thinking I was going to blog about bargains this weekend, or maybe the Santa Claus Parade in London tomorrow night. But then I started doing email and I began chatting with someone I hadn’t really talked to in a long time. I started telling them about all the wonderful things my eight-year-old has been doing and I quickly realized today’s post was leading me in a different direction. It is Adoption Awareness Month and so this is a post about adoption and gifts and the really awe-inspiring task of being given a child. This girl, my Payton, is one of the two greatest gifts I’ve ever been given. She came to us, my husband Jim and I, when she was only six weeks old, a tiny perfect baby girl. Straight adoption. These were phrases we’d been told would never be uttered in the same paragraph when we took our adoption training workshops so many years ago. And then poof there she was beautiful, perfect, ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes, happy all the time. She was born smiling or so it seemed and smart as a whip and I recall so many days waking up feeling as if it was Christmas morning, walking to her room so excited to see my tiny gift in the crib smiling up at me. And then dressing her. Well, that was a whole other side of heaven I never thought we’d come close to seeing. She is my gifted girl and my gift too. She is me and not me and that’s okay. I look at her and see her birthmom. They look almost identical according to the pictures we have. Ours is a closed adoption and while we send letters back and forth to a social worker that finalized our adoptions, she is bound by confidentiality and privacy laws (from the time when we adopted Payton) that say she can only hold onto these things and wait to see if the birthmom or birthdad of my beautiful angel ever should inquire about the child they conceived together. My daughter has, I like to think, some of my creativity. She certainly has my sweet tooth – proving that must be environmental and not genetic. This year my daughter was asked to be an Original Kid. She’s only eight and after summer camp at Western she was invited to join the really prestigious acting troupe in town here. This is nothing I ever could have done at her age. I was painfully shy and would rather have gnawed my arm off than been in the spotlight. Payton is so smart. She read chapter books at four, told a family friend she wanted to be an architect at three when the friend asked if she wanted to be a builder. “No, I would rather be an architect.” And her voice is a gift. Her voice is truly magical. It may sound lame but when I hear her sing I am routinely moved to tears thinking how lovely the sound. Part of me thinks too when I hear her sing I wonder whose voice she has. Is it birthmom’s, a biological aunt’s? I know it is not mine. I am scarcely able to carry a tune. She is mine and not mine, part of me, part of someone else, part herself too. I do not feel saddened in any way by this or threatened or haunted by lost chances at having a biological child. I am honoured. Grateful and blessed. Gifted.