People tell me all the time, “I could never do that,” when referring to placing my son for adoption. There are endless questions about “What does he call you?” or “Does he know who you are?”, which is all fine and if people want to know, I’m happy to tell my story.
However, there’s part of the story that seems to be left out. There’s part of the story that people never wonder about. Placing a child for adoption changes a person, inside and out. There will always a person out there whose heart beats because of my existence, and he will never know me as his mother. While it can be a beautiful experience, it is a tragedy and should be treated as one. Like any tragedy, it forces a person to evolve.
Placing a child for adoption changes a person, inside and out. There will always a person out there whose heart beats because of my existence.
So how did I evolve? What was it inside of me that changed? There are a few things I’ve noticed about myself that I’ve come to appreciate over the last 6 years of being a birth mother:
1. I am more loving. I’ve come to appreciate that I’m not the only person in the world who has felt alone, or lost, or confused as to what God was putting me through. I’m not the only person who has thought the universe was ganging up against me. There are a lot of people on this planet and we all are fighting our personal battles—a concept I didn’t understand until I fought one of my own. Now I look at those around me in a different type of love than I had before, one of sympathy and appreciation for what they must have gone through to become who they are.
2. I am less judgmental. When I do learn why people are how they are, it isn’t my first instinct to think “I would have done this instead” or “I never would have gotten myself in that situation”.
I like to hope that people won’t think rude things similar to that when they hear about my story.
While I know that’s unrealistic, I can only control myself and hope for the best. I’m not as quick to think of someone in a harsh light of criticism, but rather give them the benefit of the doubt.
3. I am hopeful. I have a hope for the future. Before the adoption I had a basic and realistic view of the future. I planned on college, should I find someone I wanted to marry (and hope he wanted to marry me), we would get hitched, have a few kids, and work on our little family in a our own little world. After the adoption, I lived in the unknown of my son. I have wondered if he will love me for my decision to not raise him, I have wondered if his parents were charming me into picking them only to pull away after the paperwork was signed, I have wondered if it was worth it or if the sacrifice was something I made up in my mind.
Since then, my fears have been calmed. My son is now 6, and he writes me notes telling me how much he loves me and will never forget me. I have hope that his love will continue to grow with him; I know mine has. I have hope that my college degree, which I earned after the adoption, will be useful to me in my life (it has been). I have hope that not only will I find someone to spend my life with (I have), but that we will be able to work on our happy little family (we are). I have hope in my life because I have a realistic view on my life. My degree was difficult to obtain, marriage and love is a constant effort, and our family is growing. But I look at my life, I look at how easy it is to finally find happiness, and I feel the light of hope building up inside of me.
4. I am trusting. Trust has been complicated for me. I never thought it was fair that the birth father had the “luxury” of walking away when that test came back positive. It broke my heart, it broke my mind, I don’t even know if my soul ever fully recovered. Friends started disappearing when I could no longer be beneficial to them, and some family started to criticize where my life was headed. It gets hard to trust people when the majority of your loved ones betray you during your crucible. Through counseling, I found methods to help find people to surround myself with that are loving. It’s easy to trust people when they are worthy of trust.