When speaking about adoption, the conversation revolves around love. After all, adoption is about love, and the amount of love abounding in the adoption triad is endless.
With so much love swirling around, it’s hard to believe there could possibly be a negative emotion existing. But realistically speaking, there are many other emotions involved. All of these are intense and complicated, but the worst of them is hate. It’s tragic to let something so evil and primitive exist in the adoption circle, but sometimes it does. Speaking as a birth mom with experience feeling that hate, I feel like an expert on it.
My relationship with the birth father was far from pleasant while we were dating, and it didn’t end very pleasantly, either. Because of this, I was left with wounds of anger, hatred, and betrayal–but mostly hurt. To make matters worse, I never received an apology or explanation, so when he decided to be a part of our adoption triangle, the situation just became worse. Instead of being able to heal and move on, these wounds were ripped open over and over again.
I thought the cure was to find a husband who would fix all these issues as quickly as I could after placing my son for adoption. Fortunately for me, I married the last Prince Charming, who is the sweetest and most perfect husband for me. But unfortunately, he still wasn’t the “Band-Aid” I was looking for. He simply could not fix the anger, damage, and hate in me. These residual issues soon started affecting my relationship with not only him, but also with the adoptive couple and others around me.
I just wanted to blame the birth father for all these trials he’d put me through. In fact, sometimes I would just think about all the awful things he’s done and writhe in hatred. I didn’t feel he deserved to be a part of the adoption circle, so while I would ruminate on a thousand ways to get revenge and make him pay, I slowly became a bitter person.
Without realizing it, I’d let him gain control over my life. Then two years after we placed our son for adoption, I was still letting him control my thoughts, my life, and my relationships.
Those close to me could see that this was affecting me and counseled me by saying, “You just need to forgive him.” My response was always, “But you don’t understand what he did to me! It is unforgivable!” I tried to convince everyone how evil I felt he was.
The tipping point finally came when my husband and I missed my son’s second birthday party because the birth father and his wife were invited. Initially, I just thought, “Well this is just another thing I can add to the list of reasons why I hate him.”
But then I experienced the miraculous “change-of-heart-Band-Aid-cure” I had desperately been seeking for the previous two years. The thought finally sunk in that all this time I was thinking up ways to hurt him, he had just gone on living his life. In fact, no matter how much I plotted his pain, he was living life pain-free, completely unaffected by me. In reality, the only one who had been caused pain by my actions was myself. Now isn’t that ironic?
Forgiveness isn’t something that came easy to me. In fact, the more people told me I needed to, the more I resisted it. I had been carrying this unbearably heavy load of resentment on my shoulders, and it wasn’t pleasant. I knew I wanted to get rid of it, and I knew how to, but I wasn’t interested in doing it yet. It wasn’t until I was completely weighed down by this burden and no longer moving forward in life that I decided it was time to get rid of it.
It was two years past due for me to extend some forgiveness to the birth father–not because he deserved it, but because I did. I deserved to finally let go of those feelings of anger and pain and live my life to the fullest.
So I slowly started letting go of the resentment and anger. It didn’t happen overnight, for it didn’t develop overnight. I constantly had to work at it, but it was slowly happening, and the feeling was amazing. My time and thoughts became occupied more fully by husband, my career and my future family.
For the two years previous, I had been waiting for a “Five-Step Forgiveness Plan” or “Forgiveness Recipe” to come my way and make the process easier. But there wasn’t one, so I just did the small steps like, first, deciding that I wanted to let go of this anger and hurt. Secondly, I made the choice to extend some forgiveness to him. Next, I just stopped trying to convince everyone how bad he was and altogether just stopped talking about him. By then, it was just natural to stop thinking about the pain and hurt he caused me because I was no longer dwelling on it.
It’s been said that resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die, and that’s exactly what I had been doing–poisoning myself with bitterness and resentment and waiting for the birth father to feel some semblance of pain. Initially, I felt like the birth father didn’t deserve my forgiveness, but then I realized that not only did he deserve forgiveness, but I deserved to give it to him. I deserved the let go off the weight on my shoulders and finally find the peace I was looking for