I placed a child for adoption in 1988, and it seems like it has been a lifetime. Choosing to become a birthmother was a very hard decision. It is a very hard time in the life of the one that is pregnant. I mean that is obvious, or the question of placing your child would not be an issue.
I can remember growing up knowing that I had a birth family out there somewhere. I’m an adopted child, now adult, myself. It was a confusing life wondering what is my story, where did I come from, and who am I. As I carried my child for 9 months, I was still asking these questions. I must say though that unusual as it seems, I was legally an adult at the time I placed my first-born son.
I can remember talking to him every single day, as he grew into the life that I would give. I remember praying and crying almost daily. I remember journaling because I needed a way to sort my thoughts because they were so confusing. Do I keep this child and either raise it on my own and deal with a man that I did not want to be with nor deal with for the rest of my life or do I place my child for adoption and wonder for a long time where my child was and if he/she was okay? There was not a good option for me. I had family that chimed in that said they would raise him, but I knew down deep that was not the option.
The biggest question that had to be answered not placing judgment on the position I was in or what I wanted for myself, but what was best for my child at that specific time in my life. At that time in my life, I was very confused. I could not really take care of myself, and now I am going to bring a child into this world. I thought that if I placed my child that would mean I was selfish, but I also felt if I kept my child I was being selfish. Now as an adult I know that I was not selfish at all and in either situation it would not have been selfish. If I had kept my child, I would have had to figure this world out and do it quickly. I had seen my friends as teen moms; it was not a pretty picture. I wanted my child to have everything I had growing up that my adoptive parents were able to give me. If I kept my child, I would be trying to figure out where not only is my next meal going to come from, but how was I going to provide formula, diapers, clothes, shoes, and everything else a baby needs not to mention the next eighteen years.
So I decided adoption was the answer not for me but for my child. I was against me giving my baby up without knowing whom he was with. At that time, open adoption was in its beginning stages. I was able to receive pictures each month for six months, and I was able to write letters and talk to the adoptive mother during this time as well. This made everything seem bearable. Once those pictures stopped coming and the phone was turned off, it sent me into a shock. All of a sudden I knew nothing that was going on with my child. I was asking myself what would happen if I never saw my child again.
I was never prepared for eighteen years of birthdays and holidays with my husband and other children. Every single time of celebration I wondered, I cried, I mourned. I thought sometimes that I could not go on another minute this way. I talked with my children about my son, especially on July 21st every year. I always tried to look happy on the outside, but my heart was broken on the inside. I was not sure if it would ever heal.
I kept an album and a book with letters and photos and stories that I would give to my baby boy one day. However, one day I met him, and he was not that little baby. I never got to see my baby again even after eighteen years. My story never ended. It cycles through. Johnathan was my first real loss whether I made that choice or not. Now he is a twenty-five year old adult, and I have little contact with him. I always dreamed of how things would be when I would meet him, and that dream was not reality. I do not feel connected to him. Sometimes I question whether my story began twenty-five years ago, or was it a dream. However, I truly know deep inside that it is real. However, placing a child for adoption is a life-time choice in my case. I do not believe I could build a bond with him like I have with my two sons from my husband.
Now it is not as painful. As an adult you learn to just live with what life has thrown at you. I still blame myself for my pain and suffering. I got myself pregnant. I put myself in the position to had to choose what was best for my child at the time. I never realized though that I was making a choice for my future husband and future children. It really is not fair that I made the choice to get pregnant because it made such a huge difference in so many lives not just my own and my first son, but my parents both birth and adopted, my two sons, my husband and all my friends and family that lost a part of them too. What have I had to learn to do in all of this? I had to learn to forgive myself and ask forgiveness of those that were affected by that one choice that I made that lead to consequences of my actions.
The story of a birthmother never ends because there is never really a next chapter. I would love to have a relationship with Johnathan, however he has a mother, and it is not I. I lost that right twenty-five years ago. I believe that Johnathan has no idea how to reach out to me; and I do not know how to reach out to him. So my chapter will continue but the pain is not the same. It is a loss of a relationship, but I know that he has had a good life and was provided for; I hope that he realizes that I loved him when I made the decision, when I gave birth to him, and that love continues without end.