By Jackie Futerman
I am Samantha Futerman’s mother. I have never thought of her as my adopted daughter, just as I never considered my two sons to be my biological sons. ALL three of them are my children, and I am their mother. Sam just happened to come into my life in a different way. I am grateful that my husband and I were in a position in our lives where we were able to afford the adoption process, and I am grateful that she was the child given to us. From the day we first heard of her birth, she was part of me and part of our family in every possible way.
I am not an extremely religious person, but I feel that the events in Sam’s life were meant to be. She and Anaïs needed to be separated to allow them to become the people they are today and to develop the very special bond they now have.
In recent months, I have met several adults who revealed to me that they had a twin. Many of their experiences growing up with a twin were far from perfect. People couldn’t tell them apart or wouldn’t try. They were referred to as “the twins” and rarely by name. Some were expected to do everything with their twin, including rooming at college. While they all love their twin, I felt an underlying sense of resentment as well. Maybe they were never given a chance to be themselves as an individual. Through no choice of their own (or mine), Sam and Anais avoided all this. They are wonderfully unique, confident and talented women.
Sam and Anaïs met at a time in their lives where they have many, many years ahead of them. It is a joy to see how close they have become already. I know they will always be like this and I am delighted. I actually feel a thrill inside every time I hear Sam refer to Anaïs as “my sister.” But sometimes, for my husband, sons and I, I am disappointed we were never given the opportunity to raise both girls. I am also sad that Jacques and Patricia were not offered the opportunity. I know it would have added joy and love to our families. But, I truly feel it was meant to be.
I envision the future with many more family gatherings. Last Thanksgiving with EVERYONE at our house was the best Thanksgiving we ever had. I see us all together at weddings, too. Not only Sam’s and Anaïs’, but my sons’ as well. After the documentary is out, I would love for us to organize a family vacation somewhere. Somewhere big, because our small family has expanded by leaps and bounds. Actually, one of my biggest fears on the way to London last year was that the parents wouldn’t get along. We not only get along, but we have become friends. It makes me so happy that we are very similar in many ways. I’m sure Sam and Anaïs will have an argument or disagreement along the way, but I’m also sure they will always work it out and always be together. I just wish we all lived on the same continent!
When Sam and I visited Korea (before her an Anaïs found each other), we learned about the varying ways Koreans feel about unmarried women becoming pregnant. Even before this, I felt for Samantha’s birth mother. We had been told she was 14 years old and needed to give the baby up. We have since learned this was probably not a true story. I believe she was unmarried and it was simply impossible for her to keep not only one but two babies. She would have had no family or state support. It would have been a disaster in the making. I feel even more deeply for her now. I think she is afraid to admit that she gave birth so many years ago and feels unable to acknowledge the girls. When I saw the beautiful and loving reunion of Samantha and her foster mother, I wished then that Samantha could have had the same reunion with her birth mother. I am not now and never have been threatened by her existence. There is room in Samantha’s life and heart for every person who loves her. There is room in my life as well. I do hope that someday, somehow, Sam and Anaïs will reunite with their mother. They have questions only she can answer.
I have gained a tremendous sense of awe and amazement from this entire experience. Even now when I tell the story and show the family picture I carry around, I get chills up my spine. I still can’t truly believe this is true. God, The Universe, Fate or whatever you want works in mysterious ways. If not for the internet, if not for Sam being an actor, if not for her getting certain parts and not getting other parts, if not for Anaïs’ friend, if not for Anaïs’ perseverance, all of this might not have happened. So many little things needed to fall into place – it is mind boggling.
I don’t think there is any particular lesson for other adoptive mothers in Sam and Anaïs’ story; just as every child is unique, every adoption is unique. I have no words of wisdom for raising adoptive, biological or combined children. I am not an expert and, as all my children will tell you, not a perfect mom. I tried to raise my children with love, respect and encouragement. Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I failed miserably. In spite of that, they have all become amazing, self-confident adults. If there is anything I can tell adoptive parents it is this: There is no difference in the feelings you have for an adoptive child and a biological child. A family is a family no matter how it comes together. I have never considered myself an adoptive mom, I am just Matt, Andrew and Samantha’s mom.