a message to adoptive parents thinking of closing adoption

I appreciated this adoptive parent’s candor.  This is a really good article!

“Adoptive Parents Don’t Love Their Children the Same Way Biological Parents Do”

This parent showed real courage to talk publicly about this, although, I will say that her assessment that her child’s biological parent’s relinquishment was rejection was unfair, but I can overlook that bit of ignorance and still embrace the message.  I will just say that, although relinquishment may have all of the appearances and consequences that color it like rejection, I have yet to meet a birthmother who has rejected her child, especially within her heart.  I have not yet met a birthmother who did not want her child.  I have only met the product of what desperate acts desperation can produce.

I knew it wasn’t all roses for the people who adopted my son.  Of course, in their yearly correspondence, they would never tell me anything but the sunny stuff, but, instinctively, I knew this was a lot of what they were operating around.  I knew that with every decision large or small, they were seeing my face, hearing my voice.  I was there, always somewhere, sometimes gnawing, nagging, sometimes just there in a benign sense.  I know that the reality of me has never gone away.  I know, because every decision I ever made was colored by their imprint.  Every thing I did was without the eyes they looked into every day – that came from me.  Even though I didn’t get to see those eyes, I couldn’t get away from the reality of them (nor did I want to).

For those scared individuals who choose to close adoptions after promising openness, this parent’s missive just goes to show that you can run, but you cannot hide.  Whatever you think you are running from is still there, not going anywhere, staring down your every move.  I’m not saying this to be negative.  These are just the facts, and that’s all.  Shutting the biological mother and/or father out doesn’t make it all go away and make you the perfect family.  It doesn’t make your child NOT the product of someone else, the product of another’s hopes and dreams.  And keeping your agreement doesn’t mean your adopted child will abandon you.  I’m sure you felt it the first time your child called you, “Mommy” or “Daddy,” and I’m sure it’s still there when you hear it every day: it’s no small thing.  All I’m saying is have just a little faith.  You had faith to go through this process of adopting and making the promise to keep the biological parents in the picture.  Keep the faith!  It’s better that your child doesn’t have to find out later on that you denied him or her access to something that is his or hers by birthright.  That’s a betrayal that WILL come back to haunt you eventually, so just do the right thing now.

Take it from someone who’s had to learn the hard way:  I know of no decision made based on an irrational fear of the unknown that ends well.  I also know of no facing down a fear that’s truly been regretted.

my need

I haven’t written anything in a while…it seems I’ve written what needed to be written.

At my local adoption support group, one of the things that’s been asked to birthmothers is, keeping expectations to the minimum because a relationship cannot be forced, what is the one thing that you need in order to recover if your child does choose not to have an active relationship with you?  What is the one thing that will satisfy you and help you move on?  For some, it is hearing her child’s voice.  For others, it is just knowing he/she is okay.  For some, it is seeing her child’s face, looking into his/her eyes.

This question was posed well over a year ago, and I didn’t really know my answer.  But I’d come to realize I was over-thinking it.  The answer was there all along.  I have written and re-written letters to my son since he was days into my relinquishment and have discarded hundreds if not thousands.  In every letter, there has been one consistency.  It has been imperative to me from day one that somehow, some way, I communicate to my son that he was wanted, that his going to live with his adoptive parents was not in any way, shape, or form a reflection on my desire to have him, to raise him, to be his mother, to have him as my child.  Long before I could admit it, underneath it all, I knew it was wrong.  I completely ignored my heart of hearts because I had been betrayed nearly every time I’d ever followed my heart – or so it had seemed at the time.  So I pushed so-called logic and reason and rationalization to the forefront, completely pushing out what was in my heart.  I’ll pay for it the rest of my life, no doubt.

So, here we are back to what my original intent was when I started this post, why I haven’t written.  I made a decision concerning my son.  I had taken in all of the advice not to “go there” with the emotional stuff knowing full well my child may not be emotionally equipped to assimilate or deal with the information.  What would it take for me to be able to move on should my son ultimately choose not to maintain – or even start – a relationship with me?  The one thing that could help me move on from such a devastating decision is at least getting the chance to tell him he was wanted.

So…I did.  Just that.  I told him.  I told him knowing full-well I am a total stranger to him.  I told him knowing full well he does not come from a place of being able to relate.  I told him fully aware it may mean absolutely nothing to him.  I told him knowing it was completely selfish on my part, that it was for 100% for me and for no one else but me.  I told him in the least savory way possible (unsavory way to me, anyway: it was in a facebook message, ughhh…but…it’s the means I had, and so I decided to work within those means).  The bottom line is, I told him.

And that seems to have done it – whatever this “it” is.  I still have moments when I am angry and have nowhere to go but to myself.  I still have days when it sucker punches me and knocks me to my knees.  I still have days when I weep.  But…I’m able to move on and able to accept that he may decide to contact me – and he may not.  As a result of a completely selfish act, doing something for me where he is concerned, should he ultimately decide that he wants nothing to do with me, I can move on with my life – as much as it is possible to move on from adoption relinquishment.  I accept that there is no truly moving on, so I say I’m moving on in a relative sense.  In other words, it is no longer consuming my days and my nights.  I am learning to operate within the parameters of this, my new normal.  Time will tell if this is a good thing or a destructive thing, as time inevitably does.