Monday, February 07, 2011

Adoption Diaires Part 2- Birthmother "Ever After"

I got a package today from my son and his parents (through the adoption agency), so I thought what a fitting day it would be to type up my last installment in my Adoption Diaries series on being a birthmom.  My son, N, is now 12 1/2 (I'm sure he'd add the half in- I always used to b/c you never know when that half could make a difference!).  It's hard to believe that in June of this year I'll have a teenager with my genes running around.  If that doesn't add to my three existing grey hairs, I don't know what will.  Anyhoo...

N is now old enough to write me letters.  He calls me Ms. Heather and knows that I am his birthmom.  He knows I'm married (and not to his birthfather) and he knows that he now has a half sister.  His parents- yes, I call them his parents afterall they raised him and earned the title a hundred times over- are wondeful and so is his extended family.  N has his own dog (he's an animal lover like me), has my crooked teeth, his Dad's bad eyes, plays just about every sport, and is on the honor roll at school.  He is the spitting image of his birthfather.  I saw a picture of him today and it brought me back.  Back to the days that his father and I were happy and in love.  It was ages ago and I'm in a much better place (with a better man for me) now, but gosh he looks like his Dad.

Twice a year I have contact with N and his family through the adoption agency.  We send packages to the agency and they deliver to N so that our locations remain anonymous to each other.  The type of adoption that I have is a semi-open one in that we "talk" through the agency and exchange pictures, letters, gifts, etc. but we have never met and I have no visitation.  I chose this type of adoption as I thought it would be easier on my son and offer him a more stable upbringing with his adoptive family.  I hope to meet him again one day, but it will be on his terms this time.  In NC, where I gave birth, adoption files are sealed, so he wouldn't be able to find me unless he contacted me through the agency or found me with a private investigator (think The Locator).  I'm not even sure if the agency could legally help him at this point, but I'm pretty sure they could once he turns 18 since we all keep in touch.

I'm at peace with the adoption, but I'm not going to took a long time and a lot of tears before I got to this point.  I used to (and still do somedays) have this ache in my heart and I miss him and imagine what our lives might be like together.  Or I imagine what he is doing at that particular moment.  Maybe he's playing with his dog, rough housing with his friends, or attending a slumber party.  I also wonder where I'd be now if I did the single mom thing...I seriously doubt that I'd be where I am today.  Would I be in Connecticut?  Married to A.R.- my soulmate? Would I have finished college and eventually gone on to get my MBA?  Would I have the career I have today?  Who knows what the answers to those questions would be and after a long time, I stopped dwelling on them.  I made the best decision for my son at the time.  Period.  And that is what matters.  He is a happy, well-adjusted, preteen, and he made his adoptive family complete.  Some people would say that I made the ultimate sacrifice in carrying this child to term and then giving him to a family who so desperately wanted a child of their own.  Perhaps, I did, but the way I see it is that this was how it was always supposed to be.  N is with his family and I was chosen to give him life and this wonderful family to love him. 

I would say that I didn't completely heal and move on after the adoption for several years until I was in my early twenties.  It took a long time before I could see a boy around my son's age and not be taken back to that day in the hospital when I had to say goodbye.  In the first year, I would even tear up walking through baby aisles in the stores and so I began to avoid them at all costs.  I did go to some counseling sessions after N was born and they did help me, but it was also very hard on my parents.  My mother, in particular, had a hard time accepting that her first grandchild was no longer "hers".  She understood and completely supported my decision, but adoption doesn't just effect the birthparents, it effects the birthgrandparents and siblings, too.  Fortunately, my younger brother and sister were so young (Isaac doesn't even remember me being pregnant) that it wasn't hard on them and they didn't really understand all that happened.  My dad has always been closed off emotionally, so he rarely talks about it and my mom and I had a rocky relationship that first year after N's birth.  She was going through so many emotions of her own and seeing me suffer as her daughter was also tough.  My maternal grandmother knows of my pregnancy, but does not acknowledge it at all.  It's one of those topics that we just don't discuss and she ignores the conversation if it is brought up.  My paternal grandmother was proud of my maturity in such a difficult situation.

Now, after having another child I'm even more convinced that I made the right choice.  A baby needs two loving parents.  Raising a child with someone else is exhausting (yet rewarding in so many ways) and I cannot imagine having had to do it alone.  N's adoptive parents are thankful for the gift that I gave them...well, I am thankful for the gift they have given my son and I.  They've given my son a loving home and me complete peace of mind.  N is where he's supposed to be right now and perhaps one day soon, we will meet again.  A birthmother and her son.  Do I imagine what this day might be like?  Absolutely.  What mom wouldn't?

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Heebie Jeebies

Have you ever watched a movie that just left you with an odd feeling afterwards?  Like a case of the Willies, a sour taste, or the Heebie Jeebies?  We watched the movie Shutter Island the other day through Netflix and it left both A.R. and I creeped out.  It starred Leonardo DiCaprio with Michelle Williams and Mark Ruffalo and was set in 1954 on an island that housed the most dangerous criminally insane.  I figured out about a third of the way through that the main character WAS the patient, but it didn't make the movie any less horrifying.  If you haven't seen it, I don't want to ruin it for you, but it involved the murders of three children and a wife.  When I watch movies now that involve the senseless deaths of little ones I can't help but feel deeply for the characters.  Now that I have a daughter of my own, I can't imagine losing her and this movie made me think of what I'd do if I did lose her.  Those thoughts terrify me.  Ultimately, I don't know what I'd do, how I'd react, or how I'd change as a person after losing a child (especially if it was by way of murder), but I know it wouldn't be good.  I know it's just a story and the chances of it happening in my lifetime is slim to none, but what creeps me out is someone- a real, live human being- thought of this story and all it's unsettling details.

Another Leo movie that comes to mind as equally Heebie Jeebie inducing was with his co-star Kate Winslet called, Revolutionary Road.  That movie not only gave me the creeps it flat out pissed me off (Kate's character especially).  How does someone sane write these things?!  I know it's entertainment and some people really enjoy these types of movies, but I wonder what leads them to dream these stories of heartache, hurt children, and death up.  It was always unsettling for me before becoming a parent to see movies like the two mentioned here, but I feel my feelings are magnified now.  I start thinking, "oh my gosh, what if..."?  Perhaps that's what the authors intend.  To invoke emotions and compassion for those characters left suffering.

Tonight we watched Julie & Julia and I have to say that movie was much more my style. :)  It was actually a sweet movie and I could relate to all the characters.  I still have a bad taste in the back of my mouth from Shutter Island that will be there awhile, so I think I'll stick with some chick flicks and Romantic Comedies for awhile.  I need me my feel good movies!