Today, my son is ten. In fact, on this evening, ten years ago, I was sitting in a hospital room, with a good friend, eating dinner, while he convinced me that I should name my son after him. After all, he had been there when I found out I was pregnant, and had been ready to tell everyone he was the father, too. He wasn’t, but his devotion to me and to my son was sweet. He just wanted to make me smile, and I did, for the most part, when he was around. The rest of my hours were spent crying.
Those hours turned into night, and into day, and then night again. Then suddenly, it was time for me to relinquish my son. I don’t remember much of that day. I remember having an out-of-body experience as I watched everyone say goodbye to this little baby we had just met. I remember not wanting to let go of him and wondering if I could just walk out the door with him. I didn’t do any of that because the last thing I remember is handing him to his adoptive father and feeling like there was nothing more for me to do.
I won’t lie, I’ve struggled with my personal opinions on adoption through the years. I spent a lot of years really not discussing the enormity of the adoption experience and just touted the well-known lines that new birthmothers are used to saying, over and over. It’s not that I don’t like adoption, because that’s not a fair assertion of how I feel. It’s just that I wish that all women who were planning on an adoption were given more time and were told about this part- the ten years later- the way it just changes you in a profound way, how you struggle to make sense of who you are, and the fact that who you were is gone.
Sure, it’s not a pleasant conversation to have, but I’ve learned that there is this power in speaking your own truth. It doesn’t negate anyone else, but it does help me, and sometimes other people, to see that there are many different dynamics to adoption. It’s not as black and white as we’ve been conditioned to believe. If it was that black and white, there would be no room for all of those who make up the dynamic of each of our individual dynamics. We need room, space, and respect to grow personally and in our interpersonal relationships.
Today I mourn and celebrate. I celebrate my beautiful son, the one that I haven’t had the honor of being fully introduced to, and I mourn the loss of what I haven’t had with him, because I didn’t take him home, and because our adoption has never really been open. I celebrate him turning ten, a huge milestone in any child’s life. I celebrate his birth with the private memories that only I have, the ones I’ll share with him when I do see him again.
It’s been ten years, and my, how much has changed.