Think about the last five choices you’ve made. It doesn’t matter how simple or complex they were. Write them down.
Now, look at each choice.
Next to each choice write down the reason you made it.
Now, look at your reasons.
Everything in life tends to channel through two things. One is love, the other is fear. While there are many emotions such as panic, reason, faith, doubt, anxiety, compassion, trust, helplessness, etc., these two– love and fear– are the “Mothers” of all things.
Go back to your list and write which of the two, fear or love, caused you to choose what you did.
Love and fear are choices we make. When we are being selfish we choose fear. When we are being unselfish we choose love.
(I’m not talking about the kind of fear that you feel when you skydive or when you worry about the life of someone you love. This fear that I’m talking about is the kind of fear you feel when you’re making choices.)
Spiritually speaking, we know this is true because we know, “God is love. With God there is love, in the absence of God there is fear.”
It is important, in our adoption relationships, that we understand this concept. It is important that we are aware of why we choose the things we do– otherwise we can never attain a true solution.
When we fail to address the truths in our lives for what they are, we begin making choices based on fear. Based on that same fear we often mislead ourselves into believing things that aren’t really true.
One adoptive mother wrote, “I wasn’t ever really sure about open adoption. In fact, in our classes I just cringed at the thought. But, our caseworker told us that the majority of their birth mothers wanted open adoptions. So, I just agreed. I tried to convince myself that I could do it. I’d just deal with it. How hard could it be? But, looking back, from the way things are now, with the birth mother and us, to when I made the choice to lie about my feelings– I can totally see that I made the wrong choice. I’m constantly in fear of having to send the pictures and letters, always worried about whether or not she’s going to call herself ‘mother’ to my daughter in front of me, or if she thinks we’re bad parents, and then I resent her for the pressure I feel all the time. I’ve hurt her feelings because of it, but at the same time she’s hurt my feelings by some of the things she said too. I just don’t know what to do.”
This adoptive mother made a choice based on fear. Not on love. She feared that she would not be chosen if she refused an open adoption. And she continues to pay the price for that choice.
One mother wrote, “I was scared out of my mind to raise my baby. Birth mothers say they chose to relinquish because they wanted to give their baby everything they couldn’t, or that they loved their baby so much that they wanted better. But, what is everything? And why is that better?
My mother raised me all alone after my father left us when I was only two years old. We lived in a little apartment in New Jersey and the only décor we had in our home were the paintings and drawings I brought back from a local free preschool when I was three. My mother worked as a waitress to pay the bills, but we were always busy. We took art classes at the local community center, made up plays in our little living room, bought dress-up clothes from Goodwill, and wrote books together about our adventures in the city. My mother loved me so much that I never felt like I lacked anything at all. My grandmother even told me that when she was young and going through the Great Depression that she didn’t even realize it. Everyone was broke and hungry– and that’s all they knew– but they were loved. She learned how to sew from the sackcloths of potatoes and they made up games and spent hours reading.
“So when I discovered I was pregnant I was surprised at my fear. I was twenty-four at the time, but wasn’t married. I’d just graduated from college and sold my first painting. I was doing well. The more I thought about it the more I realized … I feared what I am sure my own mother feared as she raised me. But the choices she made were based on love.
“It breaks my heart when I read these stories of birth mothers who give up their children because they want better for them. I grew up with Monet and poets like Browning, the old artists and writers– and my world was one of mystery and adventure and most of all, love. Not because I was in a private school or because I had two parents who dressed me in name-brand clothes and took me to Europe. Because my mother loved me enough to give me the best of herself– not the best of the world.
“I don’t know why I felt that I had to write to you about this, but having done so I feel a sense of relief for having said my piece. In the words of my seventeen-year-old daughter, ‘Mother, having the best and being the best are irrefutably two different matters all together.'”
When we make our choices based on fear, we are putting our lives into the hands of false assumptions. Those assumptions cause us to have expectations. When we make our choices based on love, we don’t require anything in return.
Think about the choices you’ve made recently. The things that you feared or currently fear– are they things of this moment or illusions of yesterday and tomorrow?
Fear is the shadow that frightens you frozen until someone else turns the light on and you realize the shadow belongs to you. Know your shadows. Know your reasons for making the choices you do. You either choose love or you choose fear.