I felt compelled to write to an audience of people who might possibly be able to understand my feelings. While I have not had a reunion with my birth mother, I have had a revelation of sorts. A while back I contacted the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (the agency that handled my adoption) and requested the non-identifying information of my birth parents. These people are fantastic and (after a wait) supplied absolutely wonderful and revealing information about my time in foster care. They also revealed information, not only concerning “the facts” about my birth mom, but also regarding insights into her decision.
I have read many articles written by birth moms that say they never stop loving the child they “gave up.” I grew up with an image that my mom gave birth, filled out some paperwork, and went about her way. It’s not that I resented this at all; quite the contrary, I respected her for whatever reason she had to give me up. I did, however, always harbor a lingering feeling that must have been a terrible inconvenience to her, and I never felt that she would have had any bond towards me. The information I received from CAS revealed a very different picture.
My mother was the product of a broken home, unmarried, and living with her family on public assistance. She stated in her reason for adoption that she wanted a better life for me. My birth mom wrestled with the decision for two months (I was already in foster care at this time). The social worker noted in her report (any social workers out there reading this, please be aware that the picture you paint in your report beyond the mere facts might have enormous meaning to someone someday) that she attended the hearing regarding finalizing her release of all parental rights (she was not required to attend) and that she became very emotional at the hearing. When it was done, she stated she was surprised she had the strength to go through with it and that it took everything she had.
This account provided so many insights to me.
Now, at 39 years old, for the very first time, I have direct knowledge that my birth mother loved me. I couldn’t imagine any greater love than for her to have wanted me but loved me so much she would give me up. Her decision was the right thing to do. As a result of this selfless act, I was placed into a wonderful, loving, stable family. I had a happy childhood and an excellent education. I’m married, have children, have many friends, work as a professional, own a home, and earn a good living. I don’t know how I could ever give up the child I have. It would kill me, and I now realize it must have devastated her. But in performing the most selfless imaginable, she did the best thing for me. I am sure everyone at CAS promised her I would receive the best; and I assure you they kept their word.
Since finding this out, I feel like I have stepped into sunlight for the first time in my life. My adoptive mother is, and always will be, my one and only mom. I love her with all my heart, and she always loved me as her own. However, there is something indescribably primal about the need to be loved by the woman who gave birth to you. Hearing the account of my placement and learning that my birth mother struggled with the decision, was like getting a kiss from her all these years later. It may be the only kiss I ever receive from her, but having it is truly a fantastic gift. It leaves me teary-eyed every time I think about it.
This has given me renewed admiration for the mothers who place their children for adoption. If you are a mom who has placed, please have faith in the system. Be confident in the fact that your child does not resent you for one minute. They understand your decision even if they don’t know all the facts. If you are an adoptee, believe the birth mothers when they say they always love their children. Believe that your mom loves you. She does. Bless all that are in the triad and good luck in your search. Even small revelations (short of actual reunion) are very rewarding.
I am still trying to reunite with my birth family, and maybe someday soon I’ll be posting that here as well. In final reflection– with all these people who took part in my life– I am one lucky fellow.