The more I hear and read from adult adoptees, the more this is confirmed in my mind: adoption, and the discussion of it, is an extremely emotional thing. I’m not an adoptee, so I won’t presume to know how that feels. I also won’t presume to understand the complex emotions and desires and opinions of a birth parent. The only experience I can speak from is my own, as an adoptive mother.
There is an interesting line to walk in adoption regarding how we share our stories in a way that honors the right of the others involved to share (or not share) their own perspectives. For that reason, I won’t go into the details of my son’s story, because I believe it is his story to tell. I will only say this: From the time he was two days old, I have been the only mother he has known. His adoption is closed.
I wish this were not the case. As a foster parent, I never expected that if or when I adopted, I would not have any contact with my child’s birth parent. I have worked hard, as much as it is possible, to build healthy relationships with my foster children’s parents, and even spend a lot of time talking to other foster parents about this relationship. I think it an important part of being a foster parent.
In some practical ways, I suppose it is easier right now. Just as birth and foster parent relationships are difficult to negotiate and navigate, I am sure the same is true for birth and adoptive parent relationships.
Still, I think of my son’s birth mother often. I wonder what she looks like, which of his features come from her or perhaps someone else in her family. I wonder if he has siblings or if there is family medical history we should know. I see myself in his personality and mannerisms, and wonder if I would see her in those, too.
I wish I could thank her for the beautiful gift she gave to me, even if unknowingly. I wonder if she questions or regrets her decision, and I wish I could assure her that she is not forgotten, that even at his young age we talk about her and how she made the best decision she could for him. I want my son to know that I honor her.
One day my son will ask questions that I can’t answer. I’ll tell him everything I can, but I know that it might not be enough. If he wants to look for more answers, I will help him – but I know that the nature of his adoption might make that more difficult. This is the part of our closed adoption that grieves me the most.
Birth parents, I would love to hear from you. If you have a closed adoption, why did you choose that path? Would you do things differently if you were to do it again?