Today is my son’s mother’s birthday – it is not mine – it’s his birth-mom’s birthday. The woman who changed our life forever, who made me a mom and trusted my husband and me with parenting her baby – our son. It not only changed our life it also changed hers. I can only imagine what she goes through on Luca’s birthday or on her own – like today.
I once read about a birth-mom who sat in a Café every year on her child’s birthday wondering how she is and who she had become and most importantly, if she was safe? It was a closed adoption many years ago. Questions, which she never got answered for the rest of her life. I am glad we live an open adoption with our birth-mom. We won’t be able to take away her pain, but we are able to help her not wondering how Luca is and who he had become – and that he is not only safe physically, but also safe in our hearts.
It took a while until our paths crossed. About 25 times during our adoption process we made it to the last 5 adoptive parents – but never got finally picked…I remember how we started to question our photo book. We were concerned it wasn’t appealing, engaging or connecting. It was a stressful cycle for us to be in. Two long years later we finally got chosen and we met our birth-mom for the first time. Our counselor asked her why she chose us and she said: “I looked at your photo book and I immediately felt connected. It is so thoughtfully made and I got totally lost in your story. I read it from the first to the last word…I didn’t even look at the 4 other couples anymore – I just knew it was You.” I remember sitting across from her and feeling showered in golden rain. It all made totally sense to me all of the sudden; of course no one else picked our book, it was meant for her and only for her – because she is the mother of our son.
There are moments where it isn’t easy to know we share our child, where I wish I was his only mom and I was the one who carried him under my heart. I always listen to those feelings and I let them be. I don’t get angry towards them or wish they weren’t there, because they are and they will pass and calm much faster when I acknowledge them. They don’t get in my way embracing the truth of our story. When we baptized Luca we read the following verse: “Birth parents are planting the seeds and adoptive parents are the ones who help the wonderful blossom to grow and rise.”
I am sure many feelings will come along within the next years, feelings that aren’t projectable. I looked in my son’s eyes this morning, he was sitting next to us at the breakfast table all babbling, laughing, squeaking…happy – the usual sunshine he is. It brought tears to my eyes looking in his young and adorable face knowing that one day he will get to know his story or better put, he will realize his story and it will inevitably hurt him. No matter how happy he is with us his family, however his life started out differently and he will never know how it would have been and that will give food for thought. He will have the choice to choose the perspective on how to look at it and therefore not getting lost in “What if…” Nevertheless there will be pain I/we won’t be able to take away. Knowing IFS* gives me the comfort that we will support each other the best we can and we need to accept what is. There is nothing wrong with being sad, it is the opposite, allowing yourself to be sad will help the feeling to relax and strengthen the person.
What’s important, no matter whether it is an adoption, an egg donor or a surrogacy, these are all experiences and processes, which bring along a lot of feelings after the baby is born and on many levels and to many people. In our case, the birth parents, the adoptive parents, the child, the siblings, the extended families….We need to stay true to ourselves and allow any feeling to be and especially live the truth of our story and not try to be someone we are not for our own good.
I recently watched “Lion”, a heartbreaking and yet wonderful movie about a child that got lost in India when he was 5 years old and due to the circumstances got adopted by a couple in Australia. I wasn’t sure, if I was capable of watching it. I was afraid of sobbing through the whole movie. Well I kind a did, but it was such a beautiful story, a true story and it showed the tender feelings of adoption parents as well, which I always missed in movies. Most of the times they were pictured as rich and careless couples who just buy children. I never felt that their pain and what they had been through was portrait. In Lion on the other hand they absolutely did. My favorite line was when the adoptive mom says to her son who is about to visit his birth-mom after 25 years: “I hope she will be there and have the chance to see you again!” If you are a mom and you know what another mom feels, especially when you share the same son – how can you not care.
Therefore this post is dedicated to our birth-mom. I don’t know her well, but what I do know is that I will love her for ever – Happy Birthday Molly*!
*name changed out of private reasons
- * IFS (Internal Family System) a very successful model. It raises your own strength by dealing with painful feelings and managing your internal system in order to get through any difficult time. I am an IFS practitioner, if you need help with your fertility issues or your adoption journey contact me. I know how stressful this time is. I am here for you!