Portrait of a Placement

Emotional photos of a birthmother placing her son for adoption.

Sonia Billadeau March 06, 2014

The adoption placements of my children are the most sweet and the most bitter experiences I’ve been given in this life. But yet, within the bittersweet is the beautiful.

From her arms to ours.
1. From her arms to ours.

Our youngest son's birthmother asked us to meet her at the adoption agency she chose. It's where she wanted to have placement. Before her baby was born, the plan was to have placement in the hospital but after he arrived, she wanted more time with him before she placed him in our arms. As an adoptive mom who was cheering for her to make the best decision for her and her baby (whatever she decided that was), I was so thrilled that she was speaking her mind and the desires of her heart.

Several days later, she invited us to met at the agency where we were escorted into a room where she was with her baby and her supportive family. It was a reverent, sacred place. It was a sad room that was filled with an almost tangible love. I went to sit down on the opposite side of the room and then thought better of it and ran over to give her a huge hug.

After chatting and telling stories and shedding tears, she stood up. She kissed her baby's little nose over and over. She nuzzled his perfect face. She literally took two steps forward, one step back as she made her over to us.

The hug of hope.
2. The hug of hope.

With a whimper, she placed her baby boy in my husband's arms...and then we threw our arms around each other. I hugged her with every ounce of unconditional love and gratitude and hope that I could muster. We clung onto each other, the mothers of his little boy. Did she know how much she was loved? I wanted to her feel it through my arms. I wanted her to know that I would keep my promises. I wanted her to know that I would be the mother she wanted me to be. I wanted her to know that she was part of our family, that she was always welcome in our home. I wanted her to know how much I already loved her son, my son, our son.

3. Entrusted.

My husband pulled all four of us into his arms. I could literally feel the trust in us that this amazing woman was depending on. I could feel her hope for her son for the future. This was an amazing moment of unity for me.

4. Adoration.

Time seemed to slow down as we embraced. We stared in adoration at this perfect little boy. Was he able to feel how much he was loved by everyone in that room? Did he know the agony his birthmother's heart was in? Did he know how much joy he brought to the world when he arrived? Would he understand how meticulously his birthmother selected the family that she felt would be perfect for him? Did he know how much he was wanted? Could he feel how many prayers were said on his behalf?

5. Bittersweet.

We embraced everyone in that room. We loved on her family members. We made plans to see them in the next few days. With more tears and hugs and even a few laughs, this new birthmother and her family left the room. And then it was just us. When we first entered the adoption world, this moment of being alone with the baby for the first time always seemed so surreal. I thought it would be so magical...and it was, but it was also so bittersweet. During her pregnancy, we hung out with this expectant mother all the time. We had known her family for over a decade. We went out to dinner, to concerts, had her in our home for dinner with her family countless times, took road trips together, went shopping, went to blogging events and even to a demolition derby. We knew her. We loved her. We supported her. Watching her break her own heart for her baby was almost too much to bear. And yet here we were alone with her baby. She chose us to be his parents but it was still so bitter to watch her make me a mother. And yet, totally sweet. My heart was so full looking at this new baby and I get to raise and love and teach and be in awe of. No one prepared me for that bittersweet feeling and how it stung. I also wasn't prepared for how much my heart would grow in loving my three sons.

First visit.
6. First visit.

Several days after placement we got a phone call from her. "Can I come over right now?" Of course. She arrived in such good spirits. She snuggled and fed and loved. She bonded. As an adoptive mom, I always want my boys to have a bond with their birth families. I always want them to have a growing relationship with their roots. Having more people love my son does not decrease my love, it increases it. This is open adoption. It is loving openly. It is visiting. It is open communication. It is unconditional love.

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Sonia Billadeau

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