I have received plenty of questions about my choice to choose adoption for my son. These questions are usually quite similar to one another and asked out of sincere curiosity. Some examples include, “Do you miss your baby?”, “What does your husband think of the adoption?”, “Will you tell your future kids about your son you placed?” and so on. The most common question I hear is, “Do you ever regret your decision?” I cannot fairly express the spectrum of emotions when I’m asked this question, in particular.
As a birth mom, you experience all of the emotions, even the unimaginable ones. I felt my child move in my stomach, I heard his heartbeat, his first cry, and spent the better portion of a year crying out to the Lord, praying, begging Him to tell me what to do. I remember how heavy my insides felt when his father left me to go through it alone. I remember the pain of childbirth, the months of physical healing, years of emotional healing, and every single tear that fell. I remember holding my son for the first time, and universe disappeared around me. Even I disappeared. All that mattered was him. He had ten perfect fingers, big blue eyes, and curliest blonde hair. Even when he was a day old, I could see that he picked the best features from his birth father and from me. Yes, I remember waking up two days later without him. Somehow, the sun still rose. The flowers bloomed anyways. How could the world be full of such beauty when I was in such pain?
I cannot even tell you how much time passed when I started to feel human again. Eventually, I was able to regain my old personality. I actually laughed without forcing it. It was a welcomed adjustment in my life.
One night changed it all, and for no reason. I was staying with a friend and slept in his little brother’s vacant room. His brother was around nine years old and as I glanced around I began to cry. It was like I hadn’t healed at all. How unfair the universe was! It killed me inside to know that my baby would grow up to be a boy. He would have a baseball quilt on his bed, Legos spread across his floor, he would come inside all dirty with scraped knees. He would go to bed in his Scooby-Doo pajamas and wake up in the middle of the night, crying, from a nightmare. His voice would cry out to his mother, and he wouldn’t be crying out for me.
So, to put it in an exceptionally blunt manner, part of me wants to be selfish. Part of me wants to be the one he comes home to after school and tells me what he learned that day. But then there’s the bigger and better part of me. The part that remembers why a life for him was worth placing him, forever. I remind myself that although I missed his first steps, his mom did not. Although his birth father is absent, his real father is not. I know that my baby boy is in a home where he is loved, appreciated, and wanted. A home where love is taught and where he knows how he came to be part of his family. This child has already traveled internationally, enjoys school, is a big brother, and is consistently complimented on his endearing personality. While I’m sure I could have offered him a good life, I could not have offered him all he has now. And isn’t adoption ultimately for the child’s benefit? While I do miss him with every fiber of my being, all of my pain is moot when I look at how perfect his life is. My feelings of doubt mean nothing in the great scheme of the world, and it means nothing when I was faced with any other alternative for him.
So, do I ever have heartache over my decision? I have sorrow for myself. My selfishness, my yearning, my motherly instinct tells me I miss him. I think about him every day. When I look at his life, I’m filled with so much love and pride over my decision, that any sign of regret in my heart disappears. Open adoption allows me to see how much his parents love him and how much he loves his parents. He is my world, adoption has given us both opportunities that would not have been allowed otherwise. While I cannot fairly explain the grief that a birth mother experiences, I cannot begin to voice the happiness that also comes from watching him grow up so loved and so happy. I would like to challenge you to accept your grief, however you have received it. Doing so has allowed me to accept my happiness.