Has anyone ever had an “A-HA” moment in their adoption story? Mine came at a moment I wasn’t expecting with an outcome I never would have imagined. I chose a semi-open adoption with my birth daughter’s family, and I was feeling pretty okay with it. I received email updates, and I was feeling blessed to watch her grow through photos. I knew nothing else and realized, through watching some of my birth mother friends who had much less contact than I did, that I actually had it pretty good.
I later began seeing women who had placed who had a beautiful open relationships with their adoptive families. The friendships were amazing. They were able to snuggle and speak to their birth children through regular opportunities. The last time I saw her was when they were in my state with the adoption of their second child. I sat across a dinner table afraid to look at her, let alone touch her. She wasn’t my child. It was apparent at that very moment, and I was happy with my decision to have what was considered a semi-open adoption.
Then, something inside me changed. I believe it began around her fourth birthday. I was no longer shopping for cute but generic baby toys or clothes. I was shopping for a little girl I did not know, even though her mom had done her best to let me in on their private life. Even picking out presents and going to the neighbor kids’ birthday parties, whom I only knew through the quiet knock on my door when they wanted to play with my kids, was proving easier than this. What did she like? What was her favorite color? I stood in the department store and began to tear up. I went home and decided that I wanted more.
I sat in silence for another year hoping that this emotion that was building up inside of me would go away. Finally, I couldn’t hold it anymore. Her mom and I were in a heated discussion over something somewhat off-subject and I blurted out, through email none the less, that I wanted to talk to her and I wanted to see her and I wanted to know that she knew me. Her mom immediately told me something that shocked me to my core. She reminded me that I chose the semi-open adoption and they were moving forward with my request since the day she was born. She would not let me just decide out of the blue that I wanted more and uproot her daughter’s state of mind or everything she has known her entire life.
We didn’t speak for a few days after that. I felt betrayed and hurt. I was upset at myself that I had even asked. I felt that I had ruined all hopes of any type of reunification until she was an adult looking for answers.
I woke up too early for normal on the following Saturday and decided I would go for a walk and watch the sun come up. Sunrises in my town are phenomenal, and if you’re up early enough to catch them, it’s a wonderful view. As I was walking my dog, I was listening to “Pictures of You,” by The Cure. The first verse is “I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you, that I almost believe they’re real.” I stood in one spot and couldn’t move. My dog began tugging on me as to say “What’s wrong with you?” I was in a stunned state of mind. How could I ask her Mom to break down her safe walls just to meet my new needs?
Her life has never been about me or my wants. From day one, it has been about her, and I had lost sight of that. I was watching her grow. My picture hangs in her room, and she knows that I carried her in my tummy and that I chose her Mommy and Daddy. I was being given all that I asked for and more. I immediately felt as if I had been punched in the gut by myself. For the first time ever, I was surer of my choice of her parents than I had ever been. Her Mom was protecting her, and she was doing exactly what she needed to do to protect her daughter–even if it meant telling me no. I needed to call her and thank her for standing up to me for B’s sake. I wanted to find the rewind button on my remote control of life and take back that conversation and pretend it didn’t exist. I felt like such a fool. She was in full Mama Bear mode, and I smiled from ear to ear because of her “beast mode”.
I emailed her that day and told her that I was sorry for being out of line, and I believe I thanked her for doing what was right for B. I have since asked if we could become pen pals after I share my entire story with her Mama and leave no stone unturned. I want her to know the story, even the ugly parts. You see; she is, in part, an extension of me, and she will portray me to her daughter. I can’t wait to become her pen pal and learn from her. When we are faced with the grass being greener on someone else’s lawn, we lose sight of what is necessary to grow our own gardens. I need to look at the beautiful flowers that are in my life and love them for their own perfection, even if there are some weeds that sneak in here and there.
Birth Parents; How have you dealt with wanting more? Adoptive parents; How have you dealt with these requests?
On a side note – if I didn’t say it before today; THANK YOU for being an amazing mother.