Borrowed from the Source in the graphic –
I’m fascinated by beautifully wrapped gifts, the time some people take to cultivate the external appeal encasing the internal mystery. Wrapping so inviting you may feel a tinge of guilt for ripping it open, possibly carefully tugging at taped edges, delicately unfolding corners, trying to keep the pretty paper in tact, maybe even so you can reuse it for another gift. Each time the packaging gets used though, the wear shows. Whether a torn section or tape pulling up some of the print of the paper when opened, ultimately, the paper winds up in the garbage after a party or burned in a fireplace for holiday kindling. If we’re being honest, most people don’t care what kind of package a gift comes in because what matters is the gift. The packaging is very easily discarded when the focus is the present within.
I am struck by the sobering realization that adoptees are often called gifts. In my early hazes, I even said I “gifted” my children to their adoptive parents. The problem with this thinking is it reduced me to packaging. The carrier of the gift, the vessel. The thing that can be easily discarded in the aftermath of possession of the present. A majority of birth mothers face this around 5+ years post placement because many promises for open adoptions end up broken and closed, not being legally enforceable or financially impossible for a mother to fight to keep open. What this says is: If adoptees are gifts, birth mothers are the wrapping paper, and we typically end up considered trash and discarded after the present is received.
I want to remind everyone this mom season that birth moms are still mothers, even though we may not be parents or raising our children, we are not simply packaging. We are humans who experienced traumas long before our lives led us to these impossible decisions, with lifetimes of healing to pursue in the wake of relinquishment. Acknowledge us as more than the garbage most of society views us as. Even if we are hard to love and support, we still deserve to be, especially when we are the pieces of the children so many claim to want to love and support. That should include us too.