In our lives, we all have those moments (or days, weeks, years) that we don’t truly appreciate or see the value in until they are long past. The times that shape us and help us to grow the most can be the ones in which we are absolutely miserable, and at the time think couldn’t possibly be worse.
When I made the decision to place my son for adoption, I felt my family was either 100% on board with adoption (meaning they thought I was foolish if I didn’t place) or kept telling me, “It’s your choice, we will support you either way,” followed by a pointed remark of, “but adoption is such a selfless thing to do.” Nobody discouraged me from placing, or even came close to encouraging me to reconsider. I couldn’t figure out why nobody would save me or give me an “out.”
What I understand now is that they all meant well, and they saw from an outside perspective what I couldn’t see. They wanted what was best for my son AND for me. At the time, I didn’t realize that they were being supportive in the way that I needed at the time.
Everyone—including my sisters, who had a difficult time telling their children that I was pregnant—would have LOVED to have little David grow up in our family. If I had made the decision to parent, I have no doubt that he would have been adored and treated no differently than any other cousin. (Besides that he lives 1,200 miles away, there is still no difference). Once I made the decision to place, though, I almost felt like everyone collectively sighed with relief.
I was so upset.
I wanted them to tell me, “No, you can parent! You can be a great mom right now! We will help you, we will support you, we will do everything we can to make this happen!” I wish they had reacted with sadness, or at least told me that the decision was painful for them, too (which was said much, much later to spare my feelings at the time).
I wish they had told me I could do it alone, and without my son’s birth father participating, or that we could have a mutually respectful relationship that only had our son’s best interest in mind. I wish that they had told me that parenting would be the best option.
Unfortunately, they would have been lying.
Don’t get me wrong, I would have been an awesome mom back then. I would have been able to make it work, go back to school, figure out childcare, all of those things that the rockin’ single moms do every day for their littles. Eventually, I probably could have had a civil relationship with my son’s birth father.
They would have been lying if they said that parenting was the best option. Thankfully, they didn’t lie to me. It was not the best option, and my David was definitely meant to be with his parents.
As I have written in previous articles, I didn’t want to provide my son with a “maybe” life.
Maybe we would have had everything we needed.
Maybe we would have had our own place.
Maybe I would have eventually gotten married and given him a father figure.
Maybe his biological father would stay in his life.
Maybe I would still achieve all of my dreams and give him everything I wanted him to have.
Maybe I would have failed.
Maybe I would have stayed on state assistance my whole life.
Maybe I would have lost the support of my family.
Maybe I would make bad decisions.
Maybe I wouldn’t be able to tell him that I did everything I could to guarantee a good future.
As much as I wished that my family had an opposite reaction than the one that they did, I am so grateful in retrospect. After placement, I had so much love and support pouring out from everyone because they all felt a little of the pain and loss that I did.
How did your families react? Was it what you wanted or needed back then? Now?