As I walk the last leg of being a birth mother for eighteen years, I can’t help but look back at the footprints I have left. In two short months, my little butterfly will be nineteen years old. My adoption journey has been nothing like I expected, yet tainted with familiar grief every step of the way. Every force pulled me towards placing my baby for adoption, but not a day has passed where I haven’t thought about how my life would be had I made a different decision.
I don’t talk about my regrets or the amount of time I have spent thinking about what if? It’s not a comfortable place for my thoughts to be, but I also want other birth mothers to know this is a normal and common thing to do. I have played out every what if, especially parenting, because I was married quickly after placing (not to the birth father). A common thing for birth mothers, married shortly after placement or pregnant again. I won’t pretend to know why that is, but I do know being a birth mother never leaves you. It’s a life sentence, as harsh as that may sound. It can bring you to your knees in frustration and agony or it can fill your heart with infinite joy. In some instances, I know these emotions are by choice, but a majority of the time my legs are kicked out from underneath me. If I could offer one piece of advice, after nineteen years on this adoption path, I would say nothing is permanent. The joy ebbs and flows. The pain ebbs and flows.
When you feel proudly confident in your decision to place, you’ll find someone who will question you, make you think a little deeper. When you are frustrated with the lack of communication post-placement, the Universe will throw you some light. Every aspect felt in constant movement and change. For me, the secret to the roller coaster ride has been acknowledging change will come, but also appreciating the moment for what it is. I allow the lows to be a release. I try not to dwell on the grief, but feel it and let it go. I allow my heart to be filled with love and joy, then I send gratitude for every moment I get in this space.
No two adoption stories are the same. No two birth mothers are the same. This is my story over the past nineteen years. It might not be the “right” way to look at adoption, but for me, it works. I am proud of the adoption footprints I have left over the years. I gave birth to an intelligent, beautiful young lady who is thriving and living a life of joy. I can’t imagine this world without her. Our relationship will shift regularly and I hope that it will continue to teach us both about unconditional love, forgiveness, and connection.