Monday, June 13, 2011

Remembering the BirthMom

I sit here in almost tears, after reading only the first 6 pages of “The Girls Who Went Away: The hidden history of Women who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades before Roe v. Wade” by Ann Fessler.
I beg you, be it that you are a Child of adoption, a Birth mother, Adoptive Mother, or any other family member; read this book!
I was ready to read a stale story of a matter-of-fact adoption where the baby was swept away and there was a long long fight for information. Wrong…
My heart stings were pulled from page 2.
This woman Ann, has, so far as I have learned, a Mother who has a heart that aches for the BirthMother. For the child’s first 3 birthdays there was an extra candle placed on the cake for the mother? I have never heard of such a thing; such a beautiful remembrance of the life being celebrated. A life that has roots somewhere else longing to know if this child is ok; The celebration of not just one life, but two.
Sometimes I wonder if or how the BirthMothers of today are celebrated in the adoptive family.
It hurts to know that some of these families do not even let the child know they are adopted; do they know what they are keeping from them? It is not just about pictures and updates about the child, but there are updates about the birth family as well.
What if there are significant health concerns that are hereditary and could be passed along to the birth child? Or, what if there are health concerns that have arisen in the birth child that the doctor informs the parents, “This is a health concern for future children as well.” That information needs to be passed along.
How can these things be kept?
I applaud those who keep an open adoption, even if it is private. If this is a private intimate relationship the two mothers share, or a forged bond both families have created, it is one that needs to be made.
I understand that there are times when the BirthMother is just emotionally unable to have an open adoption, times when the child who is placed was conceived in a non-consensual way. But health is still a concern; physical, and mental.
I sometimes find myself crying, simply imagining Keaton calling another woman Mommy. But then I remember, I was blessed with the ability to chose his parents. I had months to spend time with them; at doctors appointments, social outings, dinners, etc. We all wanted to make sure this bond was best for him. And thankfully, it was not rushed, it was not a quiet thing, it was not a secret. I was able to speak out about it, and be loud about it.
I may not have screamed from the roof tops “I am placing my baby up for adoption!!!” But every time someone asked me how far along I was, and if I was excited, I smiled, said yes, and shared the adoption plan.
I didn’t need anyones approval, I needed more so, to hear it come out of my own mouth. Is this really what I was going to do? Was I really about to hand my child to this couple, and give up all my rights to him? Was I really going to agree to miss out on his first word, first tooth, first step, etc? Was I really willing to do all this, when just 2 years prior, I had given birth to a son, and after it proving to be too much of an emotional strain, lost him to his father? Was I giving up my son?
Giving up?
Giving away?
Saying Good bye?
Leaving Behind?
Left behind…
Left behind is perfect…
I remember sitting on the front porch, leaving my case manager in the dining room of my parent’s house. I wanted them to bring my son home, or I wanted to go with them. I felt like, I was, Left Behind.
I remember crying, thinking, they signed the papers, I hadn’t. I wanted to make them bring him back, I wanted to hold my son a little more, I wanted to sing to him once more, I wanted to feed him again, I wanted to count all his fingers and toes again. I wanted to hold him one last time…
My fear was, they had what they wanted. And as my case manager said, all of the promises we made, the adoption plan we made, it was all on faith and trust. There was no legally binding contract saying they had to send photos, make phone calls, or schedule visits. What if they never called me again? What if they never e-mailed me?
I finally got up, and walked back in, and signed the papers. I had no choice. I had nothing for him here; they had everything for him there.
I couldn’t even provide for my daughter who lived with me. Looking back now, I honestly don’t even know where her clothes or shoes came from. I know everything logical points to my mother providing these things. But, I was never able to provide them.
I remember the night of the entrustment ceremony, I showered, and walked out into the hallway, and heard my mother crying from her bedroom. I walked in, and knew she was crying for her grandson who had left our life. I don’t remember what she said to me, I just remember telling her “The best support you gave me, was supporting my decision.” We both cried for a while, and finally, we both needed sleep.
The first phone call I made was at almost 10pm.
First I said sorry for calling so late, and what I was expecting was rules to be laid out right away; this is when you can call, this is how much notice we need, etc, etc, etc. Instead I got, “Oh girl! We were just watching some DVR shows and feeding the little man.” I was relieved. I cryed, I asked questions, I cried, I laughed, I asked questions. It was as if a million pounds were lifted from my shoulders, and heart.

But, my heart still hurt.
My stomach was still empty.
I still cried.
I still slept with his hospital blanket sometimes.
I still clung to his hospital bracelet.
I still wanted my baby boy home with me.
Well, here I am, almost 5 ½ years later, and all those things still apply; yes, even the baby blanket. If you have read my past blogs you know the journey I have taken, the ups and downs; Not only with the adoption, but with my depression and mental illness as well.
You see, all of these things have built me into the woman I am today; scars and all.
I refuse to be silent and still, I must be loud and on the move; Even if only via my blog.
I applaud all of you birth mothers out there who put the needs of your child before the needs of your heart; and I applaud you adoptive parents who put the needs of your BirthMother right next to the needs of your child. 

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