When most adoptive parents think of their adopted child they only think of how beautiful it’s going to be. We think about how much we’re going to love this baby. We think of making Jell-O for them like our family used to make for us. We think of holding them, rocking them, laying them on our chest while we nap. What we don’t think of is what the birth parents might be going through.
I came across this article, “Learning to Ride the Waves of Birthmother Grief” on AdoptionVoicesMagazine.com and I knew I had to share it. I have to admit, I never thought about what the birth parents might be experiencing emotionally. A particularly touching piece of the article reads:
People should be gentle with you, you need them to be, you’re still healing, but they don’t know they should be. So they don’t treat you any different and sometimes that hurts and you want to scream so they can see your insides out. To the naked eye, you are one of them; you wear long sleeves on your soul so no one can see the hurt, so no one knows. There’s a weight you carry — a sadness in your eyes that only some people will ever stop to truly see. And that will often remain with you for life.
I can’t lie. It really struck me like a hammer. I had assumed that if birth parents chose to give up their kid(s) for adoption it was because they knew that the child would have a more stable life or better opportunities or …… a more/better something and that’s why they made that choice. I guess it didn’t occur to me that though those things could be true it would also leave a devastating hole in their lives. She says:
There are times, and I have heard the same pitch of fear in many another new moms’ voice after relinquishment. There is a point when we admit that if you had known that it would be like this, then you would not have gone through with it. If we had only known, that it would be this bad, we might have rethought this whole adoption thing. It is THAT unbearable.
… and this is what adoptive parents are afraid of. Over the last few weeks I’ve really been thinking long and hard about whether to do a private adoption or go the foster-adopt route from the county. Reading this made me lean toward foster-adopt. Not only do I not want to be the one causing this kind of pain to anyone … I also don’t want to have to navigate an open adoption with such raw feelings. That may sound selfish, but aren’t we all negotiating this kind of stuff through the adoption process? Of course we care about the kids, but it’s also very much about the adults.
Question for birth parents: If you had to do it again … would you?