30 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adoption Entered My Life
This post was supposed to be “10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Was Touched By Adoption”, but I can’t use the feel good wording of “touched.” I was not touched by adoption, it’s more like torched, trampled, traumatized, terrorized, tortured and torn apart by adoption. My role in adoption is that of a birthmother and in so many ways I was so unprepared.
We all are.
Adoption Was More like a Destructive Force I Let into My Life
Adoption was almost more like a crack that happened in my soul. A crack that I thought, and was encouraged to believe, would be temporary or always below the surface. Over time, the rest of life worked its way in, like water in cement, and caused the very foundation of myself to crumble. So that gives me number one on my list; the rest is really, really easy and I can also quite easily go on and on, but this carnival only called for the ten things we wish we could have known. I think I just have to go over the number 10.
- I wish I knew that relinquishing my child to adoption was not a onetime event that I would recover from by the most major life altering “decision” that would alter the very course of my existence for the rest of my life.
- I wish I knew that adoption would not be a decision made entirely by me and affect only me, but would have life altering implications across the entire berth of my family. I thought nothing of how it would affect my mother, my brother, and of course my children, both the one that I relinquished and the children I had later on.
- I wish I had known what I really was giving up when I relinquished my Max. I understood the concept of a baby, but I had no clue what it really meant to be a mother. I couldn’t really decide to give up something that I never had to begin with or something that I never let myself have a chance to really experience.
- I wish I had known that public assistance, social services, paternity, child support and all manners of help in general were nothing to be ashamed of, to be afraid of asking for or receiving or something that made me less of a person. I still think about my adoption counselor explaining to me rather briefly how I “could” keep my baby and go on welfare and how very horrified I was of that thought and I never even attempted to consider it.
- I wish I had known how it would feel to know for the rest of my life that I had assisted in denying a man the right to have a relationship with his only child. Had I thought through the ethically complications and moral obligation to the truth and this man’s rights, then I would not have to live with the knowledge of how I horribly and inexcusable wronged another human being.
- I wish I had known that I was strong and capable and worthy of being the mother that I was meant to be. The normal self doubts of a young person basically untried by life were not bolstered in the face of adversity, but rather exasperated and exploited.
- I wish I had known that it was not my job, nor obligation to make another couples’ “dreams of a family” come true. I wish I had known that I should not have taken pride nor comfort or some sick sense of self satisfaction by allowing other people’s needs to go before my own, not that I have an issue about giving of one’s self. I donate my knowledge, I give my time, I volunteer; but a child is not giving of oneself, a adoption is giving of another.. a child. I had no right to do that.
- I wish I had known that my son’s parents would not be quite as grateful and thankful to me as I had expected, hoped or been lead to believe. I wish I was not quite as disappointed that they just won’t speak to me and I have the distinct feeling that they really would just like me to go back away. I wish that didn’t hurt.
- I wish I had known that children really aren’t interchangeable. Just because one party wants something and another party isn’t so sure, doesn’t mean that we can switch things about and pretend we are God and it will work out OK.
- I wish I had known that my son had basic rights to his family, his truth, his heritage, his father, his siblings, and me; more than I ever gave us credit for. To think that I could have thought so little of myself, my family and all the individual traits and histories that make us unique and THAT could have been replace with a one paragraph bio and a few pictures is so insulting to every ancestor that breathed before me.
- I wish I had known that you cannot re-write life as it comes to you. That we can’t cheat it and pretend that things happened differently than we would have liked. And sometimes, most times, given time what seems to be a disaster is actually part of making things work out exactly as they should, but we just don’t know it yet. I wish I had learned to just accept things as they come and live the hand that was dealt to me even if it meant being a mother at 19 because I was a mother at 19!
- I wish I had known that it was very possible to love most fiercely and deeply someone that you haven’t ever really met. I wish I had known that I would know my son before I got to met him again. That I would know his face and it would be so familiar to me. That I would know his smell and I would need it to breath. That I would know and understand how he felt, thought and would react just because I knew…way before I ever knew.
- I wish I had known how much it would suck to hear my other kids say things like “I forget what Max looks like”, or “I don’t feel like I have another brother,” or “If we got real poor would you have to give us away, too?”
- I wish I had known that adoption, which was supposed to preserve my teenage way of life, turned out to be something that completely changed my entire life and here I am, almost 25 years later and adoption is still a major factor in my daily existence, my thoughts, my dreams and, even worse, is also a factor in my whole family’s lives as well.
- I wish I had known that genetics really play a huge portion of who we are and that things like our mutual love of pirates, combat boots, Mohawks and dyed hair, alternative music, God in the woods, being buried in plain pine boxes, Dr. Pepper, Boston cream donuts, thunderstorms, reading, and writing with these dern dots…. was all part of who he was before he was born. I wish I knew that my genes had carried more than the color of his skin and the familiar look of our feet and it was something that irreplaceable.
- I wish I had known that not every adoptee thinks that being placed for adoption was the best thing since sliced bread, are not grateful, are not happier to have a bigger house, and sometimes, can be quite adversely affected by the whole experience. It was really hard to accept that the thing that I thought was “best” could have actually been much worse.
- I wish I had known that there is no real “ready” to become a mother and that the mythology of motherhood as our society has crafted is a vicious losing situation. I wish I had known how easy it is for us to turn on each other and judge our fellow sisters because we are all so concerned about getting it wrong and not being the best super mom on the block
- I wish I had known that it was going be crazy hard this way, being a birthmother, and that all the pain and sacrifices and sleepless nights would be coming to me anyway, but without the joys and pleasures of being with my child. I wish I had known that I would have wanted to make it work, that it would have been worth it to give up the fun
- I wish I had known that fear is never a good basis to make a decision on.
- I wish I would have known that the “scandal” was all in my head and that within six months no one would have cared much less remembered. I wish I had realized that my family would not have thought that I was a a horrible person for getting pregnant forever, but would have loved and adored my baby as I would have.
- I wish I had known that having a baby at 19 would not have “ruined my life”, that being a mother at 19 would not have “ruined my life” and that adoption, well it pretty much ruined my life .. or at least got closer to ruining my life as anything else ever did.
- I wish I had known that school could have been put off a few years, but my mother hood was happening now.
- I wish I had known that I was being exploited and enabled and I walked right into it.
- I wish I had known that adoption was not glamorous or romantic, but that life being a birthmother pretty much sucks
- I wish I had known that the adoption agency really didn’t have my best interest at heart and they weren’t my best friends and I shouldn’t have worried about making them proud by being the “best dern birthmother” and following all the rules.
- I wish I had known that putting everyone else’s’ wants and needs before mine for almost 20 years did not make me better, nor stronger, nor noble, nor brave and didn’t get me a key to heaven.
- I wish I had known that a piece of paper would not make me an un-mother.
- I wish I had known how much it would really, really hurt and how, really, even after reunion , there is no normal and it is never over.
- I wish I had known that my son’s original birth certificate, the one with both our names on it, was precious and something that would be his human and civil right to have. I wish I had the foresight to file for it before his adoption was finalized so I could give it to him now. Instead I spend my summer vacations begging legislators to change the laws and help me right my mistake.
- And then one final wish that I still have now; of all the things in my life and all the mistakes and bad decision I have made, with all the missteps and situations that came to me, whether by my own hand or been done by wrong by someone else; I wish there was a way to change the past and make just this one thing all go away.
I Wish I Had Never Let Adoption into My Life