Not being able to have kids of my own was a huge issue for me. I went through a long, protracted, agonizing grief period. I was angry at God and my body and filled with longing and despair. It was something I longed for since I was small. A family of my own that no one could ever take away. I remember feeling entitled to this because things had been so hard and screwed up in my family when I was a child. This continued well beyond the time when I adopted my kids. I love my kids beyond words, that is separate from this longing that I experienced.
When we adopted the kids, it was basically a closed adoption. We met the birth mother once and there was no communication between us after the day we first arrived in Arkansas to adopt the kids. She had lunch with us and then took us up to the NICU to see the kids. She left suddenly, I imagine because the pain was so great.
The kids have always known that they were adopted. My 13 year old daughter has gone through many periods of longing to know her birth mother. She was and is young and I did not really imagine that I would be dealing with her meeting her birth mother before she was 18. That all changed this week.
My daughter again brought up the issue of wanting to know this woman who gave birth to her. The desire, the longing, pulls at her maybe in a similar way to how wanting children pulled at me. So this week I searched for and found her birth mother. I spent some time crying while looking through this woman’s FB page. I looked at her family, her husband, her daughter, her life. It seemed like she had pulled her life together and was pretty happy.
So I sent her a message, sobbing the entire time not exactly sure why. The message basically said that I’m the woman who adopted your kids and my daughter wants to know you. I told her that I hold her in a place of immense gratitude, that I hoped my message would find her well and not cause her pain. I asked her to contact me and welcomed her to look through my FB page to see the kids. I was not sure she would contact me and hoped both that she would and a little bit that she would not. Mostly that she would. Then I told my daughter that I had found her and let her see her birth mother’s FB page and the message that I had sent.
I had no idea what would happen. Would she respond at all? Would she be upset? Would my daughter be ok if she did not respond? If she did respond, how would I feel? Would my daughter prefer her to me? Would my daughter forget me? Would she still love me? Questions that don’t need an answer for the most part. They are patterns of not feeling worthy and patterns cannot be reassured. So I took a deep breath, One of the gifts I learned in yoga and the personal work I have done the last several years is that I can breathe into any kind or amount of pain and it will lessen, it will ease.
Yesterday afternoon the birth mother replied to my message. She said she had wished for this day for many years, that she thought of the kids and us often. She said she needed a little time to pray about it but that she was grateful that I had reached out. I was surprisingly excited to hear from her. Not just for my daughter, but for myself as well. This too surprised me. After sitting with it for just a short period of time I realized that I want to share them with her. I want her to see that I cherished the gift I was given. I want her to know all about them and know that I did a good job. I want her to see that they are happy and well adjusted. I want her to like me. Then I did the unthinkable and told her all of that in a message. She thought it was sweet and said that she never doubted the kids were wonderful and well loved. We have not had any communication since that and I expect it will be a few days before we do. I told my daughter about all of this with my husband who is having a really hard time with it all. My son just doesn’t want to know. He said, “look Wuddles, I’m fine and I’m going to be with you forever so don’t worry.’ He also said he is not interested in meeting his birth mother at this time. But he is at a different stage of development and has challenges of his own. He may change is mind, he may not.
So all of this is a lot to sit with, and here I am surprised again. I have no fear that this is going to be a negative experience. I know that my daughter’s innate nature and the way I raised her means that her heart is big enough for more than one person. And so is mine. I can see a world at some point where the birth mother and her family become a sort of extended family to my kids. We share the biggest possible thing together, the kids. Likewise, I know that none of that may come to pass. My husband is upset and having a really hard time with it. My son is on the fence. I have no idea whether the birth mother’s husband and family know that she had these kids and gave them up for adoption and what them knowing might do to her life. I don’t know what fears she may have and whether she is willing and able to face them. There is a lot that I don’t know.
What I do know is that I have done so much work on myself and learned so much from my yoga practice that I can sit with not knowing. My mind can spin fears and I don’t have to believe them. I can allow my heart to be open enough for any of these possibilities. I can sit in the contradiction and be ok. I can breathe anytime it hurts. I can feel relief rather than fear. I can know that this may be one of the biggest gifts I can give my daughter, that she doesn’t have to wait until she is an adult to find this in her life like so many do. I can wait while this all unfolds and not feel the need to rush to see how things work out. I can be thankful for whatever this brings to my life and the lives of my kids. I can watch all of this unfold and know that God sent me nothing but angels to bring us to this beautiful place where we can grow and experience ourselves and each other in a place of light and love. I can do all sorts of things today that I could not do before I started on this healing journey. For all of this, I am grateful.