Why It Happens

Birthmom here – I am looking for a little encouragement from anyone who has experienced open adoption and that had a good experience. I unfortunately did not join any groups like this one where adoptee voices are prioritized while pregnant and did move forward with the adoption, and I grieve every single day.

I had a small handful of friends encourage me to keep my baby with me, but the majority of friends and family told me that they thought adoption was the right thing to do and that I was making a good choice. It sounded nice, but it was so hurtful to feel like I wasn’t good enough for my baby. And I love him so much, I didn’t want to make a “selfish” choice and keep him with me when there was another family that would be better for him.

Now that I read all of these posts from mature adoptees and I’m heartbroken that I didn’t believe in myself and that I gave him away. When I was pregnant and in financial hardship, feeling alone and emotional – I only wanted to do the right thing. And I felt so little confidence in myself, and hearing those other voices saying that “adoption is love” and “adoption is selfless”, made me feel like I’d be selfish for wanting to keep my baby because I’d put him into a life of struggle and financial insecurity.

So I broke my own heart and put myself last. I live with a deep pain and a regret that will last the rest of my days. I love my mom, and I’ve told her how hurtful it was when I was pregnant to hear her tell me that she thought I did the right thing by choosing adoption. She says she would have supported me either way – but I know that if I kept my baby with me, it would have been with minimal support to prove her point – that I am not enough and to punish me for getting pregnant when I couldn’t support myself and my 17 year old son.

My 17 year old (who was 15 during the time I was pregnant) encouraged me to go through with adoption because he said that life was hard with it being just the 2 of us. And that the baby deserved more and deserved to have both a mom and a dad. Having my son tell me these things was also hurtful because I feel like I’m a great mom to him, but if he thinks these things, then he added on to those feelings like I wasn’t good enough.

My baby is now 10 months old and we have an open adoption. I’m hoping that he grows up feeling loved and secure. I have a great relationship with his adoptive parents and I really love who and how they are, but I do miss him everyday. I can’t change the past or the decision I made, though I wish I could. My true wish is that he was still with me. I wish I stumbled across a group like this one before I made that permanent decision. But I didn’t. The only thing I can do now is move forward with life as it is and hope that everything will turn out ok.

Almost Good Enough

So this morning, I was reading the story of a couple who adopted a baby and finally got around to fulfilling their intention (when she reached the age of 6) to make this understandable to the child.  They used this book to open their discussion.

What is interesting is that within this adoption discussion community it wasn’t the book or that they had “done the right thing” in making their child aware of the circumstances around her entry into this family, but the issue turned out to be no effort to remain in contact with the original mother.  The couple’s response was – “Currently we do not have contact. When our daughter wishes to seek her out, of course.”

That did not sit well with this group.  She was told – “You shouldn’t wait until your daughter asks.”  And she was questioned as to why she had not.  Furthermore, “If you wait, it could be harder to find her first mother or something could happen to her (there’s no shortage of adoptees who have searched and found a grave at the end of the search – and I will note here, that is what my own adoptee mom found and it broke her heart). Also, what if she goes on to have other kids and your daughter has siblings? It’s another important series of conversations you guys need to prepare to have with your daughter.”

Another adoptee goes on to share, “I was too scared to ever ask anything about my birthmom because I sensed how anxious that made my adoptive mom. So, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that your daughter may have that loyalty we talk about adoptees having and not want to upset you guys by asking questions.”  I have seen this my self with my niece, who my sister gave up at birth for adoption.  It is a real and deep concern for many adoptees.  Very common.

Adoptees deserve their truth – however that looks – and however they process it.  It’s the adoptive parent’s job to be ready to help their child navigate the issues and to be a soft landing place as the reality sinks in.