I’ve been writing this post for about 15 months now. It’s about adoption and adoption is complicated. I mean, I always knew that, but I didn’t always know that. And as time passes and I acknowledge my own naivete on the subject and how that naivete has shaped our own adoption, well, it’s been challenging.
Adoption is a tricky road, more so when you are in the thick of a transition, like we are. And here is me on a tightrope, writing about adoption, wanting to share an important and viable family situation that is so often devalued or misunderstood, while wanting to protect my son’s story. His story, not mine.
Like I said, it’s complicated.
So this is where I try to write about adoption in a way that protects my son’s privacy, but also allows me to share my part of the story, too, the mothering part, without falling off that proverbial tightrope.
The things that will guide me in this effort are my son’s sweet smile, his rosy cheeks, his clear, blue eyes and the tiny, intentional kisses he gifts me with regularly now. Living and thinking about adoption for the past few years has been exhausting, honestly, but when I focus on him, the sweet boy who needs me, everything else clears.
So much of adoption has been ambiguous and an effort. You find an agency; you slog through paper work and the application and licensing process; you learn the task of finding an expectant mother who wants you to raise her growing baby falls on you and no one else; you find that brave and selfless person who picks you and just hope that she remains firm in her choice; baby is born and he goes home with you and not the woman who birthed him and you both see and know the deep pain attached to that; you feel guilty; you are reminded of the hateful, hateful commenters on the Internet who called you a rich, white bitch, a baby thief, and worse; you try and soothe the soul of the mother who is hurting so, that you are raising the baby she birthed; you can’t; you don’t; you feel more guilt; you reach down to change a diaper or dry a tear or roll a ball and you think of that other mother that is doing none of those things; you feel more guilt and more pain when you should feel joy and tenderness; you bristle when the mom on the playground tells you she thought your son was “yours,” he looks so much like you; you realize the photos of you and your son together, despite him being 18 months old, can be counted on less than one hand, because you unconsciously avoided those photos so as not to hurt another mother’s feelings.
It is too much sometimes.
For now, I am stepping away from adoption, and yet here I am writing about it. That is quite the contradiction, isn’t it? It is, to be sure, but in my head, it makes so much sense. Words are healing for me, always have been. Words are how I find my way, and I need to find my way here.
In stepping away from adoption, what I am trying to do is step away from the needs of anyone other than me and my baby boy. It sounds selfish, I know, but in my gut, my mother’s gut, I know how important it is. I know it is what both me and my son need right now.
I am making room to mother, without pain or guilt attached to it, because it is what my baby needs.