“¿Por qué tus ojos son azules?”The young girl asked. The young girl looked up at me and scanned through the light rays that were slipping away from clouds. It was on the mountain somewhere deep within the Bogota slums, Colombia.
“Did she ask why my eyes were blue?”My fluent friend was beside me and I agreed. She smiled and nodded as I took her hand. I tried in Spanish to explain that this was a present from my parents.
My eyes are among the many aspects I’m thankful for, along with a loving family. A comfortable, happy childhood. A solid education which gave me the basis to follow my passion for journalism all my life. And the privilege of knowing exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up—a writer, but also a wife and, more than anything, a mother.
I grew up playing with baby dolls, dressing them and cradling them, and much to my mother’s humor, disciplining them, too. In order to make extra cash, I began babysitting as I was able to buy birthday candles. Once I joined the workforce, I was always first to volunteer to organize “Bring Your Kid to Work Day,” or ask to hold the latest newborn brought into the office for their meet-and-greet. There’s never been a moment when I’ve doubted I would make a wonderful mom, but there have been many times I’ve wondered if I’d ever get the chance.
Seven years lived in New York City before that crucial moment in South America. You can read more about it here: DancingManhattan. It isn’t an easy endeavor to find a once-in-a-lifetime person in a city that’s categorized by sleeping around and toxic bachelorhood. It is not a top priority for highly-motivated professionals, who are more interested in climbing the mountain than waltzing down the aisle.
As I inched closer to my 28th birthday two years ago, I looked into freezing my eggs as a physical — and, frankly, emotional — security measure. Because as the 30th anniversary approaches, there is more pressure for women (from their grandmothers and from doctors) to plan for the future. It’s an ingrained fear that’s heavy and difficult, and it’s scary enough to take the breath out of someone who desperately wants to be a mom. After receiving a $5,000 estimate at the clinic, I decided not to rush the whole process.
Instead I used that money to pursue my wanderlust.
That is how I found my way to Colombia from the Big Apple.
I realized my love for children isn’t limited to what I can biologically produce.
Remote Year was the perfect place for me to freelancing. I quit my position at an elite fitness start-up and took a break from my regular job.A program which allows professionals who are not geographically dependent to travel around the globe for up to 12 months, working remotely from as many as twelve countries. Over the course of 365 exhausting but rewarding days I visited seven countries, including Portugal, Thailand, Croatia and Thailand. It is hard to describe the impact of this experience as transformative. However, I gained a strong backbone and a courage attitude, which helped me see motherhood differently.
As I moved every month, learning about various cultures and histories, I inevitably met children from all walks of life — from obedient, impeccably dressed school children who strolled in unison through the streets of Kyoto, Japan, to rambunctious, enthusiastic bilingual Argentinians who filled the corner of my neighborhood with laughter — I realized my love for children isn’t limited to what I can biologically produce.
It’s only contained by the capacity of my heart.
It didn’t matter if it was a Thai child attempting to string together sentences to tell me about her jewelry collection or a crying Portuguese baby who stopped wailing when I made a face at her in a coffee shop — there was no need to be DNA-related to feel bonded.
Even so, it wasn’t until month 11 of my journey when the inquisitive child inquired about my eyes that it clicked for me.
I don’t want to freeze my eggs. If I can’t have children by the time I find a partner and we build a life together, I would much rather spend the money to adopt.
There are many ways to define a family. Everybody is different. It is a personal choice and one that should never be taken lightly, but for me, I’ve been persuaded toward adoption because of the great need I witnessed firsthand abroad.
My Remote Year travel group called “Remote Year” had me digging and nail-hammering through their charity project. Yugen BuildAs I watched the kids of Colombia, my eyes were always closed. They held umbrellas over our heads as we collected rocks in the rain for the foundation, and they piled on their own stack — just to help. We were given handmade bracelets made from our own materials, which blurred the differences between us. The children loved to sing and play with the bracelets, and they were always asking us to turn them around. I already knew I was destined to be someone’s mom — but watching them made me understand how better spent my personal money is toward giving a bright life to those waiting for a family.
Because while I’ve invariably wanted a daughter, a son or both, there are countless kids who dream of having a mother. The United States by itselfThere are over 400,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted, with the number rising worldwide. The fees associated with egg preservation and adoption vary greatly, depending on many factors, but if that time comes, I’d rather put my savings toward bringing home a child who needs one.
The fees associated with egg preservation and adoption vary greatly, but if that time comes, I’d rather put my savings toward bringing home a child who needs one.
It is a great way to learn to look at what you can do to help others instead of what we have to overcome them. It also teaches us those qualities that are universal — anger, sadness, happiness and of course, love. This reminds us that we all are children of this world. With a little bit of help, we can go a lot further. You can ask more questions about your eyes’ colors and where to find the biggest rocks, while worrying less about how long it will take for our eggs to expire.
The opportunity to become a parent doesn’t have to be frozen to be a possibility. Like flight time and itinerary, the journey to create a family is unpredictable and full of surprises. It doesn’t always go according to plan, but I’d like to think it’s led me to a place where I’m at peace with wherever life takes me. Perhaps it’s even possible it’s right back to that joyful, grateful neighborhood to bring home a child not related to me via my womb.
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