As you can see from the last post, the speaker who came and discussed surrendering her adopted baby back to his birth mother ignited anger and fear in me. And I placed most of that on the birth mother because of her right to change her mind. How dare she do that to me? I seriously spent many nights laying awake, thinking about that. About myself. About how this affects me and mine. I know. We can be so amazingly selfish sometimes.
A few nights later, our social worker, that sneaky evil genius who knew what I had been stewing about, arranged for a birth mother to come out and speak at training. Annoyingly, I fell in love with her, too. She didn’t fit into my stereotypical mold. She had made a plan for her baby in her late 20’s, because her and her boyfriend had gotten pregnant out-of-wedlock, had no plans to marry and wanted their baby to grow up with 2 happily married parents. She had a good career and was financially stable. She was very strong in her convictions and sure about her decision, but explained that, even in the Christian community, the pressure to just get rid of the problem was strong. Some people did not understand why she would go to so much trouble to make an adoption plan and carry this pregnancy through. This really brought to the surface, the painful and obvious reminder that this is not just hard for me. And this wasn’t a brand new realization! I already knew this. But I did need to be reminded that these precious women were not out to hurt me. In fact, they were on their own very painful journey and that my face would always be quite painful to them.
The social worker once said that the birth mother may not want to meet me because I am the person who will be doing what she can’t do. I remember thinking that she’s doing what I can’t do, too. We need each other. The difference is, her choice can stop everything. She is doing the hardest thing. Without her, we all have nothing. How amazing she is. How dare I judge her?
As Christians, we preach about choosing life to these women, but choosing life is HARD. Adoption is hard. Of course, the dirty secret is that abortion is hard too. It’s just that there are no more decisions to be made, so people think that the band-aid has been ripped off and that the problem has been solved. It’s just that the pain and suffering is on the inside, so the illusion is that everything is fine. The thing is that if we want women to choose life, someone has to be there, supporting them, loving them, telling them that they are worthwhile and beautiful and amazing. Especially once it’s over. Because they are alone. And they are hurting. The truth is simply that once women are there, pregnant, in a difficult place, there is most likely no easy solution. But I think birth mothers will tell you that knowing their babies are thriving, alive and happy brings them peace. The peace this woman spoke of was overwhelming-and the joy it brought her to see her son grow up in a happy family because of her choice!
And my frustration melted away when I listened to this women talk about the boy that she wished she knew better. I think up until then there had been some sort of divide in my subconscious between me: the married mom, and the birth mom: the one who couldn’t parent. Who did I think I was? I knew that but for the grace of God, that could have been me in her chair. What I screw up I’ve been in the past. I don’t deserve the life I have. I cried for her just like I cried for the mom before. It’s no wonder I’ve had a headache for weeks. Oh, all the crying. I love these women.
One of the exercises we were asked to do was to write a letter to our baby as the birth mother. I didn’t do well. I didn’t even grasp the exercise until it was over, which is funny, because, I like to write. I couldn’t figure it out. I couldn’t think like that. One guy in the class related it to trying to write a last will as testament. I thought that was terribly sad, but it brought to light what was really happening for these parents. What a supreme sacrifice. To bring a child into the world, and give him or her to someone else, hoping for better. How much love there must be in a person’s heart to do that. It is the absolute most in putting your own feelings and self aside.
So how can I be mad? Of course I still think that 30 days is ridiculous. But is it her fault? No. It’s the most important thing she’ll ever decide in her life. And once she signs the rights to her baby away, it’s over. That precious life becomes ours to raise and cherish. And I will cherish that life. On that day I will cry for her and our child, who will one day mourn her, no matter how loved he or she is.
Adoption is so very bittersweet. More sweet that bitter, I think.
If you want to read more from the perspective of a birthmother, I’m certainly not the one to learn from. I love this woman and her blog. What an amazing love story. If you go back to the beginning and start there, it’s just…well, read it.