When I started on the path to adoption, I did not know if I wanted an open, semi-open, or closed adoption.* My gut was telling me that I wanted a closed adoption because of all the horror stories that were being disseminated by those with zero knowledge of adoption. Specifically, the stories concerning an open adoption included the birthparents either (a) coming to my house to take my child in the night; (b) coming my house at least once a week confusing my child; (c) convincing my child to go live with them; or (d) guilting me into giving them their every desire because of the gift they gave me. My rationale/logical mind knew that all of the above was crazy, but my stressed-out/confused/anxious/paranoid self believed it all. The bad stuff is easier to believe than the good sometimes, especially when it comes to adoption.
Well, as it turned out, the decision was not mine to make. The birthmother wanted the adoption closed.
I had limited knowledge of our birthmother, her circumstances, or her appearance. One thing I did know, however, is that we lived in the same city.
I received the call that she was going to deliver, so my husband and I rushed to the hospital. I knew her mother would be there, and maybe some friends, but I had no idea who they were. Every person that walked by was scrutinized… “Is that her mom?” “Is that her friend?” “Is that the birthfather?” (By the way, the scrutinization of every almost ever person never goes away when you live in the same town as the birthparents.)
For months after her birth, I stared at my daughter wondering where her long eyelashes came from, her fair hair and skin, her grin, her eye color, her appetite and her height. When you have an open adoption, you have the answer to most of those questions; but in a closed adoption, you have very few answers, if any.
Speaking of answers, that is what my daughter is going to be wanting in a few years. “Who is my birthmother?” “Who is my birthfather?” “Why am I tall?” “Why did they place me for adoption?” “Why? Why? Why?” I may have a few answers and educated guesses – but the people with the true answers will be virtually unavailable.
The situation I thought I wanted is starting to seem the most precarious. I would love to be able to tell our birthmom how beautiful our daughter is, how smart, funny, and talented she is. I’d love to see their resemblance, and have my daughter see it, too. I’d love to know if they have the same laugh, sense of humor, taste in food. I’d love to be able to get the answers to the questions that are going to be inevitable. I’d love… I’d love… I’d love… But you know the thing I would love the most? To be able to thank her for the most loving and selfless thing a woman could ever do. To thank her for making my life complete and my heart smile. And to thank her for making me a mom.
I hope someday to be able to do just that – to thank her. There is a possibility that we will get to meet our birthmom someday, but that’s another post for another day!
*Please note that the use of “I” in this post is for ease of writing only… my husband had a 50% say in what happened throughout our adoption process!