Monday, July 15, 2013

Full Circle Understanding

So, I once again became a mother.  And the experience of this gift has truly been the reason for my continued growth and reflection.  I was free during the pregnancy with my daughter to face my inner demons, fears, and regrets.  I knew I had to do this because she deserved my whole heart, soul, and mind once she arrived. I had to grow up, and heal and I had to do this quickly. When she was born, I was ready- well, as ready as any new parent can be.  She is the love of my life, and everyday I am thankful for her.

Over the years, my birthmother continued to try to stay in contact. I know she showed up in town several times before we moved out of state.  Those unannounced visits were almost scary- she didn't try to call or even talk to me, she would just be there.  I decided that she was trying to figure out if I had gone through with the adoption after I had left.  Later, she started sending letters explaining that she had realized how much pressure she had placed on me during a time when I could not handle it, and that she wanted to start over with me.  She would send cards, books, small gifts.  I still didn't trust her intentions, so I never responded.   Eventually, she pulled back and several years went by without any further attempts.  Recently, she located my Facebook page and messaged me there.  After much thought, I responded.  I let her know that I was still not ready for a relationship with her but that I did not want her to feel ignored. I told her I was grateful for the ways in which she had helped me when I needed it.  I know now what it's like to wonder about your child, and I could not allow her to go on feeling unsure. I told her that I was happy, healthy, and doing well and hoped that would be enough. At first it was, then she tried to get my email address to send me a "small gift".  I had to let that request go unanswered.  I can't explain the reasons for my continued belief that a relationship with this woman would be toxic.  But that is how I feel, and above all, I am simply not ready to find out if my instincts are valid or not.  I hope that she will somehow understand this.

As far as my experience living without my son, I feel that I am doing alright.  I have never regretted my decision. Not for one moment.  I still believe with all my heart that he is exactly where he is supposed to be.  But not regretting doesn't make life any easier. There have been many moments where I wish he could have been with me (one of those times was my wedding), days where there was a piece missing to make those times perfect. But overall, I feel blessed just to know he is just as safe and as loved as he would be with me. The letters and updates helped tremendously.  At first, those letters and pictures came often and it was so incredible to see how much love surrounded him. But the letters slowed as he got older and then one day they all together stopped.  I reached out to his parents in the hopes that perhaps they just did not know where to send them, as we have moved quite frequently. It was such a hard letter to write, I felt desperate and unsure how they would respond to it.  I knew that they had been blessed with a second child, and I had heard that the situation with that second child's adoption was very different than their experience with me. I received a packet in the mail shortly there after full of pictures and a wonderful letter from his mom.  I can safely say that the lack of letters had given me a glimpse of what my own birthmother must have felt over the years.  Not knowing could easily drive someone insane, and I felt sure that I had made the right decision to ask for those updates for my own peace of mind.

I hope that one day, I may be able to update this blog with the moment I get to see him again.  As I've said it will have to be his decision.  I know his parents will be honest with him about me, and I know that he will know how much I loved and still love him because of that honesty.  It will be his heart telling him whether a meeting with me is what he wants. I continue to miss him, pray for him, love him and will for the rest of my life.  What I experienced with him has made me a completely different person, and while I am most certainly not perfect, I am proud of what I was able to do for him.  I know not everyone understands the choice to give a child up, and not everyone makes that choice for the same reasons, but I do hope that my story can begin to shine a light on how incredibly positive and life-altering the choice can be. Not only for a child to have the chance to live, but for every single person involved along the way.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Altered View

When I began this journey leading to my son's adoption, I had faith that everything would work out the way it needed to.  I don't know where this faith came from, nor can I explain my conviction in the decision.  In my heart, I just knew what I had to do. Life after giving up your child is strange.  I was still the same person, but my perspective on everything changed so radically that it was almost eerie.  Everything seemed trivial and pointless. The world was darker now, and so was I. The love I feel for my son could never be put into words.  It has been twelve years and I still cry when I think of him.  The truth is, you never "get over" the loss of a child. I can't imagine the pain of those who have lived through the death of a child, but I think that pain is the closest thing I can relate mine to.  At least I have the knowledge that he is out there living, playing, being loved, and growing.  If I did not have that, if he was truly gone, I would not know how to live anymore.

As it was, I realized that I had to face life with this new perspective.  I believe I was blessed to have this wonderful man enter my life, even if I wasn't ready for him when he did.  I struggled against the darkness that still haunted me, and sometimes it would win despite my efforts.  There was a point, early in our relationship, where I felt so undeserving of anyone's love, that I acted in a way that should have guaranteed the loss of his.  It was the moment I realized that I could not live without him, and though it was very hard work, together we were able to pull out of that darkness that threatened to swallow me whole.  He stayed by my side, supported and loved me and I will be forever grateful.  I am who I am now because he allowed me to be me then.

Almost a year later, while house sitting for his sister in Atlanta, we discovered that I was pregnant. I, of course, burst into tears feeling all the emotions I went through during my crisis hitting me in one quick shot.  He took my face in his hands and said "Hey, wait a minute- THIS is an amazing thing, and we are going to be great." I looked at him and realized he was right, and that this child would be OURS.  This child, and this man, they were my gift from God, for doing what was right for my son.  And once again, I had faith that everything would be alright.