Sunday, February 6, 2011
Mothers love fiercely. And the grief truck hits hard.
So, early this week I posted on a Kansas Adoption Group page and asked advice about what I might be able to do to help Brit's mom feel more comfortable opening up our adoption to the level that it used to be before baby girl was born. Visits, phone calls, and above all else, sharing a friendship. The online group consists of adoptive parents from Kansas and as far as I know, I am the only birthmother.
So the responses came from many different parents. It even crossed state lines because the site moderator asked advice from other families from across the country who also have open adoptions.
Most people who responded were gracious and encouraging to me. They wished me well and for the most part, many thought time might be the only way for this situation to remedy itself. Several gave me resources to support me until things change. Thank you to all who did give me advice and encouragement.
But one person had a different perspective from everyone else. Her advice to me was to stop public blogging and tell the parents that they don't need to send monthly email updates anymore until they feel like they want to. She told me to set them free and protect their parenting privacy.
And I will admit to being taken aback by her comments. Now, they were presented very kindly, so please don't think ill of her. She was being honest and speaking from an adoptive mother's perspective. Above all else, I respect honesty even when it is uncomfortable. So instead of being angry, it made me reflective.
She mentioned that it could be very upsetting to Brit's mom if she ever read my blog. I do not disagree with this. She thought it might make mom feel like she was made out to be the "bad guy" in this relationship. I hope this is never the case.
I love Brit's mom. She is to Brit what I wish I could be. She snuggles precious Brit, consoles her when she cries, cares for her every need, and without a doubt, loves her dearly. I know she loves Brit and she is a wonderful mother. I also love who she is as a person. I got to know her while I was pregnant and we became good friends. I almost felt like I had gained another sister.
But I am sure that Brit's mom is depressed. I am depressed. She grieves that she could not give birth to Brit. I grieve that I chose not to parent a daughter I gave birth to. We both feel like we have lost something.
Isn't it ironic that the one thing that should bring us the greatest joy is also the one thing that has caused us the greatest pain? I found parents for my daughter who will be able to give her all that I wanted for her. They got the child they longed and prayed for. And yet all four of us in this adoption situation have a broken heart. We embody the bitter sweet of adoption. Thankfully, our dear Brit only gets the sweet. The love we all four have for her overflows.
So if mom reads my blog and it upsets her, I only hope it is because she hurts for me and my pain the same way my heart hurts for her and the grief she also lives with. She cannot change her grief and/or depression any more than I can change mine. Grief is what it is. I own mine and she owns hers.
But the way that each of us is processing this grief puts us at completely opposing places. If I had to guess about her feelings (since I don't know first hand), it seems she wants to draw in and protect the only thing she does posses, and that is her daughter. And at the opposite side of the spectrum, I desperately want to share in the life of the one thing I also don't have, the daughter I gave birth to.
Neither one of us is wrong to feel the way that we do. We are reacting out of love. A deep, primitive love that mothers are born with. It is the love that makes us good mothers to our children.
When I was pregnant with Brit, I had no idea how hard adoption would be. And I am certain that Brit's mom had no idea that adoption would be anything but full of joy. One of the things we both share right now is that we were unexpectedly hit by the grief truck. And from the sounds of it, we both got hit hard.
I have no reason to believe that Brit's mom will ever see this blog. And since all of the names have been changed (including Brit's) and no photos of them ever appear here, I think I am protecting their family privacy.
This blog is about me as the birthmother. The pictures are of a child that I gave birth to. A child who will look like me as she gets older. While I will never be her mother, I will always be her birthmother.
Brit's story is still intertwined with mine. Even if our adoption was closed. We have a connection that legal paperwork cannot eliminate.
I treasure every email and picture they share with me. I cannot even imagine what it would be like not to have a monthly email to look forward to. So until they tell me it is too painful, I will anticipate and covet every correspondence I do get from her parents.
I will never pretend like Brit does not exist. I love her as much as if she were living with me. A mother's love is fierce and absence does not make it fade.
So I will continue to blog. And if you read this blog and cannot feel my love for Brit's mother, then let me say it clearly. Just because mom isn't ready for me to have a relationship with Brit, does not mean I do not love her.
I wish things were different. And I am hurt. I wanted things to be different. But I understand. We are women and with that comes complicated emotions. We never know how we will react until the situation presents itself. We think we know what we can handle. But sometimes you just get hit by the grief truck. And from the distance it looked like the answer to your prayers...