I keep saying things like “I’m not ready to talk about adoption” and “I’m not ready to give up on me.” But, I keep DOING things like talking to my husband about adoption. This time it was spurred by a tv show. It’s a show about open adoption on WE. I stayed up half the night on Saturday watching it. The episode that first caught my attention was an older (late 40’s to possibly early 50’s… OK, I think they were well into their 50’s these people looked older than my parents) couple who had dealt with female factor infertility, failed fertility treatments (IVF) and had waited for an adoption match for nearly 20 years. Then, they finally got matched, and a year later the same birth mother was pregnant and wanting to place with them again.
There were several things I took away from this story. I first related with the adoptive couple. I wanted to see how the husband bonded with the baby since it wasn’t his fault that they had to adopt. I wanted to see how people who were older than some grandparents handled being parents. That whole dynamic sucked me right in. If things don’t go right, we could become those people. Turns out, these people were thrilled for both babies even at their ages, and the husband was a great father. They even made jokes about how their being so old was turning out to be a good thing because they had so much more time to focus on the babies. So, all’s well for them.
The flip side to me was the birth mother, though. My biggest hang up with adoption is simply that I’ve given up so much of my dream. I wanted to be pregnant, I wanted to breast feed, I wanted that deep physical connection with my child. Adoption already feels like giving up on that dream. Maybe at some point if we pursue that path, it won’t, but right now, it does. So, with that feeling of compromise, comes that further complication of open adoption which is allowing the birth mother some level of involvement. Or, as my mind reads it “sharing the baby.” Which to me feels like just too much. Isn’t it enough to have to become a mother through a route that shatters that initial physical bond? No, now you have to share the baby, too. (Yes, I am a selfish pig.)
Anyway, I’m watching with this anti-sharing lens, and I’m wanting to see how this birth mother reacts to placing the second baby, but also to seeing the first baby again. I’m wanting to see how everyone reacts to being together. I’m wanting to see if there is resentment in either woman’s eyes. Because, that’s how I think I would feel. Because, that’s how I would expect the woman who has handed over two children to feel.
But there was no resentment. No bitterness. Yes, there was sadness. There was regret at being unable to care for the children. There was an acknowledgement of missing the children and wishing she could care for them. There was a cautiousness when handling the new baby because the papers weren’t signed, yet. There was a sense of pride in the baby that they had raised and was theirs. There was a 18 month old baby who was oblivious to any of this, was happy as a clam and only knew one Mommy. Even beyond all of that, there was love. Every single person in the room seemed to love each other. The adoptive mother hugged the birth mother before even trying to hold the new baby. They had a bond and a love that was so strong, when this woman became pregnant again she chose the same home for the second baby.
It rocked my world.
The reality of their story was such the opposite of what I expected. It gave me hope. It opened my eyes in new way to adoption.
So, I talked to G about it. We had always only considered foreign or county adoption because of the closed nature. Because of the fear that it could all go wrong. But with this new hope, we discussed the possibility of considering open adoption. (Yes, we did just move 2 blocks away from an adoption agency. Yes we are oblivious to signs that smack us round the head every day.) His big fear is the same as mine, we’ll get invested and attached and the birth mother will change here mind. We’ll end up getting hurt again. So, we discussed it and decided that we’re almost certain to be let down by my body again (my track record is pretty bad). Even if we do go on to have biological child, we’re ready now, and my body isn’t. So, we’re going to take a meeting at the agency that is walking distance from our house.
We’re finally open to adoption.