Holiday Memories

A birth mother's journey to peace.

Crystal Perkins June 30, 2014
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I had a very good end to my year, and a good start to the new year. On December 24th, 2012, the adoptive parents and family of my biological son came over to my house. And I saw Jimmy.

Jimmy is my son whom I named Phoenix.

I had a nice clean home to host in, I handed out presents, and I spent time with a curious little four year old. A four year old who holds my heart so delicately in his hands that he doesn’t even know it’s there.

Jimmy and I played the piano together and he insisted that we sing Christmas carols together. I sat next to him and sang carols with him. We sang “Jingle Bells” and “Baby In A Manger.” He ate the frosting off of his cupcake and devoured any candy he could find. It brought a smile to my face and joy to my spirit. That kid is so much like me when I was a little girl.

We played with toys and he was a super silly kid. He was very fun to be around. I hadn’t seen him in two years, so to see him face-to-face and to hear him in person caused my soul to feel complete.

I came to a place of revelation during our visit. I was not the one he called, “Mommy.”  I was Nellie.  Eventually he will come to know he is my birth son, and he will know that I love him, but for now I focus on two realizations:

1) I will never be his mommy, not in the sense I would like.

2) I always knew that, even if I never understood it before today.

I gave up those things years ago when I passed him into the nurses arms and let him go. When I placed him in the care of his parents, I said goodbye to being his mother. The hard part about all this is that I never felt like I had a choice, even when I said I did. The options weren’t to care for him and raise him, not with my life the way it was. I am partly thankful for that, and partly angry I didn’t try harder. I understand he is better with his family. I chose this life for him.

Some have said that time heals all wounds. No, it doesn’t. Four years after placing my son for adoption, I am stronger and have better coping mechanisms. But I still cry for him, still long to hold his hand, still wonder what it is like to read a story to him at bedtime. I don’t have that time anymore.

I am looking at going back into counseling. I am going to get better and be better than I ever was before. I want to believe that God can heal my pain–heal all pain–if I let go more and more. I want to know how to look at a child my son’s age and not think, “I wonder what he is doing right now?”

I am sure I am not the only person in the world to think these thoughts, to think about the past in terms of regret or sadness.

Rumi once said, “Happiness is an inside job.” This has been a holiday season of “overcoming” for me–realizing how far I have come and where I want to go. I feel I need an outside look on the inside of me. Maybe I can make some peace with the rest of my life, not just the birth mother part.

I truly am happy for the choice I made, and am blessed beyond measure. But my heart still aches. That has not changed. A part of me believes it won’t change, not for a very long time.

Truth is, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Crystal Perkins

Crystal is the content manager for Adoption.com. In her free time, she enjoys honing her outdoor photography skills, going on hikes, and hanging out with her husband.


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