Friday, February 28, 2014
Sifting Through Life: Our Birth Mother
On Tuesday, February 25th, I shared a small glimpse into our experience and decision to adopt 19 years ago. It was 19 years ago today that we walked into an office and said yes, we would take her home.
Tuesday I cried a lot.
I wasn't crying for me but for Her.
This was the first time that I woke up on Rye's birthday and felt so overwhelmed with emotion thinking about the young woman that made a decision that would change our lives forever, and her life too.
Rye is 19 and so was our birth Mother. I see Rye as a grown woman, an adult. A capable young woman that we would help if she found herself in the same situation. We would make it work, we would help where we could.
I thought of my own experiences of giving birth, most recently, a few months ago. How is it possible to turn over a baby to a stranger? What must she have been going through that would enable her to be so selfless that she would place her child in the arms of another family? Did she have a choice?
Questions, so many questions!!!!
We opted for a closed adoption. It was one of the last closed adoptions that this agency performed. Did we make the right decision? I don't know. Her only request was that we send pictures for one year and our only request was that, in the event of a health scare or crisis, we could reach out to the agency and locate her if we needed information.
I never talked to her. I never saw her. I wouldn't know her on the street.
Yet, I love her unconditionally. I don't judge her. I won't allow others to do so either.
On numerous occasions, when we attended church, I would sit in small classrooms surrounded by women. Teen pregnancy was often looked down upon. Discussed in negative tones. These young women were dismissed as uneducated, dreamless and naive. Their lives were done.
Opening my mouth to speak up in defense only brought out dirty looks, gasp of fear and misunderstanding. I felt like there was not any mercy or charity offered to these young women. Just judgement and this made me sad.
Oh, how easy it would be if all of our "dirty laundry" or "bad choices" were aired so openly as that of a teen pregnancy. Open for people to judge and ridicule. To cast their eyes downward in the presence of someone who had made a mistake, or even worse, been forced into a situation that caused a pregnancy. Some were even afraid to interact with them, and when doing so, with the appearance of a long imaginary stick, always at arms length.
I often found myself alone in my thoughts about birth mothers, especially Rye's birth mother who I have thought of often. Where is she now? What is she doing? Did she have more kids?
Yes, she made a mistake or maybe she didn't. Who hasn't?
Yes, she changed the course of her life. Isn't that what happens anyways?
Yes, she made a choice to give her baby up. Could I do the same?
This is how I see it. This is how I feel. I know some people won't agree, but boy the flip side of thinking the worst is hard, uncharitable and annoyingly disrespectful to that person.
We are all given challenges when we come to this earth. Some face those challenges right in the first few hours of their first breadth, others as teenagers, then as adults. Health issues plague those in their elderly years.
We are not immune to hardship, loss, change or a "game changer" in the course of our lives. Often times we don't get to choose our trial. Many don't even get to live through the trial.
For me, I see any trial as a chance to grow, to learn and to gain understanding. I value the chance to dig deeper within myself to over come a twist in the road.
Why would we judge anyone's opportunity to have these experiences? How can we know that this situation may not be the catalyst for change, for great things to come. A chance to grow.
The efforts of a group of women who felt compelled to tell me that a teenage birth mother was a sin against God. I could not believe it. EVER.
How could something so beautiful, something that brought my family so much joy, that lifted us up to a higher degree of joy-- be bad, a sin, a piranha in a sea of righteousness?
I don't believe that is how it works. I can't accept that in order to bless another family that a God would destroy another person's hopes and dreams.
This birth mother, my birth mother of our daughter, had an event in her life. One hiccup. A trial of such magnitude that everyone around her could physically see her mistake.
My wish is that she was wrapped in love through this process. That she had a support system that allowed her to feel love and acceptance. I hope that when the decision came for her to give up our baby--that we shared through paperwork-- for adoption, that it was her choice alone.
Fear kept me from thinking about Her too often in the early days. Until the adoption was final I wanted to flee. RUN. LEAVE THE STATE.
I was so used to disappointment I just knew that something would take my sweet angel away from me.
As time went on and I felt the love that Rye had for us I knew that there would always be room in our lives for one more person, her birth mother--our birth mother.
We talk about her. We hope to find her someday. It is Rye's decision, not mine. There is a lot to think about. A lot to consider.
I want to say thank you.
I want to hug Her.
I can't imagine what she's going through each year around this time.
I am crying tears of joy but is she crying tears of sadness, loneliness....heart break?
Or..possibly she also has tears of joy for giving life to a special little girl that would go on to bless the lives of a family that she hand selected. US.
So many questions.
Maybe someday we will get the answers.