So if you know me, you know adoption is a part of who I am. I chose adoption for my son when I was 17. I picked his parents and I have continued to watch him grow through pictures for the last 16 years. Recently he reached out to me via facebook. This is pretty cool I think, and honestly very scary for me. I want to rush right into this relationship and get to know him and I suppose “make up” for the last 16 years that I have missed. But he is this whole person with this life and history I know nothing about. I don’t know what his favorite color is, his favorite book, does he have a girlfriend, or a boyfriend, what are his dreams for the future? I know none of these things. I also don’t know if I am a novelty for him. Does he want to reach out for curiosity’s sake? Does he want to develop a life long relationship with me? With his biological siblings? Or is he not even sure? I want to ask, but I don’t want to seem pushy.
What I don’t want is to take her place. I chose her. I love and respect her. I know that, while I could have parented my son, I felt that I wasn’t ready and She was. She has done a great job. I know he is happy and healthy and has grown up in a home full of love, and while these things would have been true had I raised him I know now that well adjusted adoptees are not the norm. So many adoptees grow up lost and feeling out of place. I know that this woman worked tirelessly to make him feel loved and accepted and whole. She reached out to me to answer questions he had and shared stories of me from while I was pregnant with him.
He is my son, but I am not his mom. So what does that mean for me? I really don’t know yet. I hope that it means a friendship between he and I. I hope it means his siblings get to know their brother. I hope someday to hold his children in my arms and share in their joy. I hope to get a chance to show him that I have thought of him every day for the last 5,864 days. I think of him all the time. I don’t want to overwhelm him with my love, just to hold him in my arms ad tell him that I love him always.
What does this mean for me? For now it means I hope.
I suppose that for many I am the “bitter” birthmom. I know I have been called that. I’m not sure why. I’m not bitter that I placed my son. I know it was what was right for me. It was right for him as well. His mom and dad did an amazing job, and never forgot me. I have books of pictures of him growing up. Which is more than many of my firstmom friends have. I suppose bitter is the word we use when we don’t understand someone else’s feelings. I’m not angry that my son’s parents parented him. I chose them to do that. I spent months getting to know them and fought the agency that didn’t want them at the hospital. My parents were there when I was born. My son’s story wasn’t starting at an adoption agency. It was going to start at the hospital same as mine did. How amazing is it that his parents can tell him firsthand accounts of what his birthday was like? Its what I wanted for him. I didn’t want being adopted to be his whole story. I wanted him to feel like his parents were his parents from the beginning. I’m his mom, always have been. But not to him. To him she is. Am I bitter over that point? Not in any way you would think. I don’t have any anger towards them. They didn’t take my son. They didn’t promise me things that didn’t happen. They were then who they are now. Honest upstanding people. They gave their word to provide the updates I asked for. And for years I didn’t respond. It hurt. Anyone would have understood them thinking that since I wasn’t answering that I had moved on. But they didn’t. Somehow they knew that I was there opening those envelopes almost reverently. Savoring each picture. Sharing them with my mom and sisters. And later with my daughter and now my sons. So no. I’m not bitter. I’m sad certainly. Sad that a choice I made affected so many. Sad that this boy who by all accounts is rather amazing doesn’t know me. But that can change. Hopefully it is changing sooner than I expected or was willing to hope. Please be mindful when you call a birthmom bitter. Just listen when we speak and know that when you call us bitter because we don’t fit the mold you think we should, that you are negating our feelings because YOU don’t understand them.
I cannot stand it when people ramble on about how “selfless” it is that I gave my son a “better life”. I placed my son for adoption 16 years ago. What does that mean for me? Years of towing the line and spouting the agency crap till one day another birthmom smacked me over the head with my own truth, I was NOT coerced. I was NOT forced. But what I didn’t know for a very long time was how much I hurt. Badly.My son is not mine. I have been a mom without a baby for 61 years. Even as I have parented my three children I am still a mom without a baby. He is gone. “But at least you know he is alive” O? Really? so you would be just fine if I took your daughter or son and you didn’t see them again? Cause you know they are alive, right? Nope. Didn’t think so. I love my son’s parents. They are amazing people. They love my son, and me too. But his life is not better than it would have been with me, just different. It was not selfless that I placed him. It was what was right for me. Please don’t say these things to firstmoms. They are painful and completely negate our feelings of loss. Our babies are gone, and in their places are these frequently angry people who do not understand how we could have given them away and kept their siblings. What the hell is wrong with a society that thinks taking a child from its mother and giving it to strangers is going to produce happy children?