Guest Post: I Never Imagined I Would Be In the Same Situation As My Birth Mother

This is a guest post written by the Birth Mom who has chosen our family to adopt her baby.  We are beyond humbled.  The weight of the relationship we are embarking on, not just with a new baby, but with the mother and brother of the baby who will become part of our family, is new and heavy and promising.  Adoption is complicated, just like life.  Heartbreaking and hopeful, too.  Here are Sarah’s words:

This adoption journey is an experience like no other. Being adopted myself, I never imagined I would be in the same situation as my birth mother, having to make the same difficult decision as she did 25 years ago. When I learned I was pregnant, I wasn’t even considering adoption. It was only later, after I thought long and hard about the struggle it would be as a single mother with a four year-old and newborn, I knew what I had to do. It is painful enough that my son has had to go without, I couldn’t bear to put another child through that.

I first looked at same-sex couples, as I feel these couples are well deserving. I found an adoption agency online and received many couple profiles to look over. I hadn’t told many people at that time about my decision for adoption, so I decided to tell my Facebook friends and family. I got an overwhelming amount of support and love that I hadn’t expected. One of my friends had seen a video and adoption page of a couple from Chicago. I had no idea, just by looking at them, that we were meant to be. I went to their adoption website and watched their video. They seemed like really down-to-earth people. I liked that they had a four year old son, so that the baby would have an older brother to protect him and play with him. I was touched and heartbroken that they had a daughter who died of cancer four years ago.  Although very different situations, I at least knew they had an idea what the grief would be like for me when I am to be separated from my unborn son.

The couples I talked to before [them] had no other children and it seemed to me they were interested in the novelty of adopting a baby, but I feared once the “cuteness” wore off and the child grew, they wouldn’t be in it wholeheartedly. I also was very fearful of the other couples I talked to that they said they wanted an open adoption, but would end up shutting me out. One couple said they would “do what is in the child’s best interest” like an open relationship would only work if the child wanted it. Well, how is the child capable of determining that when they are a baby and throughout childhood? I felt that unfortunately, many adoptive couples out there misrepresent themselves in order to have the adoption go through. They tell you what you want to hear or use vague terms in order to adopt your baby.

I never for a moment felt that [S. and J.] were misrepresenting themselves. They were very open and honest when we talked, and when talking for the first time, I felt as though we had known each other for years and were just catching up. The type of relationship we want for this baby is very open. They want my four year-old and I to be an extended family. I realize that every adoption is different and the level of openness varies. Our unique situation could be viewed as unconventional, but I know first-hand that it is confusing and painful for an adopted child not to have a relationship with their birth mother. No matter how wonderful the adoptive couple are and how well they parent and provide for the child, there will always be a void in the child’s life if they don’t know their birth mother.

Modern family, adoption style.  This photo was taken just a couple of hours into our first visit.
Modern family, adoption style. This photo was taken just a couple of hours into our first visit.

I don’t want my son to feel that he was unwanted or that I don’t love him. I also want him to understand I don’t love his brother any more than I do him. I love my boys equally. I recognize that tomorrow is never promised to us. I lost my birth mother well before her time. We never had the opportunity to really get to know one another. I don’t know anything about her childhood or teenage years and when we were together she didn’t open up about a lot of things. I know that is due partly because of how adoption was viewed in the past, as a dirty shameful secret. Something you did because you were irresponsible and without morals. I know her parents made her feel that way, because my aunt and uncle who adopted me told me my grandparents wanted nothing to do with me. They wouldn’t even hold me when I was a baby. That is extraordinarily painful for me to think certain people viewed me as unwanted and discarded. Something to be shameful of.

I am so thankful my unborn son will never have to feel that way. I know my birth mother wasn’t ashamed of me, but ashamed of herself. It is a goddamned tragedy that society could ever make birth mothers feel that way.

Our plan is to visit at least once a year. I would get photos and updates, and if I get a computer with a webcam, we could Skype as well. I am already writing a journal for my son to read when he comes of age explaining why I chose adoption. It has helped me to handle my emotions as well. It is very hard for me to explain to my son why his baby brother won’t be with us. I still am having trouble figuring out how best to explain it. He will be going through his own grief and sadness over the loss of his brother. Of course, it isn’t a true loss, as we will have contact throughout the child’s life, but it will be painful and difficult nonetheless.

I have several more weeks until the baby’s due date. I am trying to prepare for the emotional whirlwind it will be when the baby is born and we are separated. I don’t believe there is any way to truly prepare for the heartache that is sure to come. I don’t want to fall apart. I can’t fall apart because I have my son to care for. I just hope to survive it without it destroying me. I’ve got to find strength from within.

You see?  Adoption is heartbreaking and hopeful all at once.  My husband and I extend continued gratitude and are amazed at Sarah’s strength, openness, expressiveness, and awareness.  We choose hope for all of us.  

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