- freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility
- freedom from or the cessation of war or violence
The “what if’s” of my placement creep in when I am fully expecting them to.
Any holiday, birthday, or milestone generally marks a day on which I physically feel my what ifs.What if I had chosen to parent? Would my child be okay? Would we be happy? Would our family all be okay?
The answer to these questions is usually, “Yes, we would be okay, but . . . ” Those but moments are the moments in which I remind myself why I chose adoption for my child. Those but moments are the times that I am reminded by his smile and his family’s love for ours that he is exactly where he was meant to be. It’s a typical open adoption answer, as far as I’m concerned.
Then there are the what ifs that creep in when I am in no way, shape, or form expecting them to appear.
My heart weeps and the physical pain of grief consumes me. Days when I may be shopping and see a cute pair of shoes that he could wear for family photos, shoes that would match my oldest son’s shoes. Days when we might be sitting around the table for family game night, laughing at each other’s silliness. Our family is famous for deep belly laughs. He has our laugh. What if he was sitting at the table with us? Is our family’s laugh incomplete because his is not intertwined? Those are the moments that set me back in my healing, and my peace quickly and painfully morphs into the dreaded what ifs of adoption.
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There are also times that I am reminded by third parties of what I did, as if it was anyone’s decision to make other than my own. They speak some truths. Truths that are hard to hear. Truths that tell me that I still have grieving and recovery ahead of me. When I hear stories of adult adoptees who are hurting and their words speak their truth, I am afraid. Those what ifs are the hardest to be reminded of, but I welcome them as a part of my path. There are going to be what ifs until the end of my days, regardless of the relationship I have with my birth child. Luckily I am blessed to have the ability to answer any questions he may have down the road. This will help him grow as an adult and he will have a forum to work through his feelings rather than hold them inside due to a lack of a relationship.
Truthfully, it usually takes a good crying session and days of ice cream and carbs with my fellow birth mom friends—or an amazing adoptive mama friend who loves me fiercely and makes me laugh until I cry—to pull myself back into my reality after a hard few days of these internal questions.
- the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them
My reality is that I did choose to place my child for adoption. The reality is that he is still a part of my life and he loves me as a part of his world. He is a tangible part of my life. His parents and I have an amazing relationship and we genuinely care for each other through all our faults. This is how I find my peace. It is how I find freedom from the war inside of my heart and head. It is how I find my quiet and tranquil. It reminds me that even though I will always have the what ifs creep in, I will also have the love and peace in my heart that I need to continue in my journey.