- 5 years ago
- Wedding: March 2011
Please know that I am not trying to open a debate or stir up negativity. My intention is only to share an experience that hasn’t had a chance to be expressed. This isn’t pro or anti anything… but, hopefully, my story will add some color to a sometimes black and white issue.
This is my experience with adoption. When I was seven years old, I found out that my older sister had been adopted. She is is ten years older than me and my parents adopted her in the early years of their marriage, while my mom struggled with PCOS. Hearing the news changed nothing about our family, but it did give me a very positive view of something I never dreamed I’d be faced with myself in the far future.
When I was twenty-seven, I ran for my life from an abusive relationship. I’d spent a decade with a man who made me scared of my own shadow~ and then I found out I was pregnant. I was struggling emotionally, to repair my shattered identity, financially, to survive, and physically, to get strong again, and, in an instant, I was given the most difficult decision of my life. How could I care for a baby at this time in my life? Even with family support, would I be able to give this child everything they deserved?
And so I thought of my sister. Without knowing anything about her life before becoming my sister, it would not have been the life she had with us. And my life would not be the same without her. I decided, because of her, that I would give my child the life they were meant to have with someone else.
Once I made that decision, I got so many reactions, even from my own family. “Well, you know, if you don’t want children, you should be sterilized!” “If you don’t want to be a mom, why are you having sex?” “I don’t know why a grown woman can’t prevent an unwanted pregnancy… it’s not that hard to use birth control.”
Every day of my pregnancy, I cared for my child. And every day, I knew the day would come that I would have to give this baby I cared so much for, to someone else. People in the grocery stared at my belly and at my ring finger. I even lied and told my neighbor I’d decided to be a surrogate mother. She praised me for my choice. It was the first kind word I’d had in months. Distant family members had conversations without me about how maybe they should adopt my baby, but, no, they decided they couldn’t. It was as if this child was in the lost and found and I mattered only as much as the opinions they laid on me.
I was able to choose the future family for my baby. They were in the delivery room with me and they even asked me to help them pick a name. To this day, when I think of those moments in the hospital after he was born, I’m right back in the gut-wrenching pain of knowing that night was all I had with him. I still cry if I let myself think of it.
I never doubted my decision, but even believing in your decision doesn’t make the pain go away. I held him and fed him and, once, I went into the bathroom to sob, because it was just too much and I couldn’t hold him while I cried like that. It took my breath away to realize that the next morning, at 8 am, I would be letting him go. He wouldn’t be mine anymore.
My life changed forever the day I walked away empty handed. Later, as my breasts became engorged with milk, I had to patiently wait for my body to understand that I wasn’t a mother.
The worst misconception I dealt with were those who believed I didn’t have feelings for this child, or I didn’t want a child. Women don’t give away their children because they don’t care. It is a pain I can’t describe to you… to hold a beautiful, perfect baby in your arms, only to hand him over to another woman, forever.
I didn’t make an honorable choice, or a better choice. I made a hard choice. It’s something I have to live with. Believe me, there’s no room left for judgement from others when you live with this much loss. Any decision like this, whether it’s abortion, adoption, or raising a child, changes your life. There is no decision that is simple, or easy, or “right”. The one thing they all have in common is that they change your life.