When I chose adoption for my son, I was 23 years old. I had just graduated college and I did not have any financial stability and neither did the father. I was determined to give my unborn son the best life possible – even if that meant I wouldn’t be raising him. I searched for families through an attorney, and I decided to interview two different families by phone. Eventually deciding on the family that aligned most with my desires, I met them in person. Some birth moms have described the first meeting as magical, but for me, I remember it being a little awkward, but also comforting. I knew these people would love him, care for him, and give him all the things he needed. However, placing a child for adoption is a life-changing decision.
Although I felt comfortable with the family I chose, I was still frightened of the unknown that was ahead of me, and rightfully so. I was not expecting the hurricane of emotion that was about to hit me in the hospital. When I gave birth to my son, I realized I had never loved anyone or anything so much. When I saw his big brown eyes that matched mine, I was instantly in love. Even though I was confident in the family I chose for him, walking out of the hospital empty-handed was completely devastating. I was left with no real support, which made everything a lot more difficult.
We chose to have an open adoption, with pictures, phone communication, and visits. I can’t express how important receiving pictures was in my grieving and healing process. I have heard many adoptive parents ask if sending pictures causes birth moms to feel sad, and if it causes more harm than good… but I can confidently say that this was a crucial part of finding peace day to day, especially in my first year post-placement. Even though it was through a screen, having the opportunity to see him grow and watch his first big moments was everything to me. I am thankful for the parents I chose, because I know they will continue to honor his roots and history.
It can feel truly devastating to have your motherhood stripped away with one choice. I needed a lot of grace from my family and friends in the first year after placement, and sometimes when I go through seasons of grief, I still do. Being a birth mom has no ending, and I know that this was a lifelong decision. One thing I always look forward to is having a visit. I live far away from the adoptive family, and we still keep in contact via phone, but there is nothing quite as sweet as when we all get together. Whether we meet up at the park, a restaurant, or their home, I will always cherish the time we spend together.
During my three years of an open adoption, I have been able to accomplish goals and move forward towards finding peace. I have not been able to do this without the support I have found. I began attending a birth mom support group in my area during the first year, and I still attend. It has been so helpful to find a community of women who have a similar experience. There is great loss in adoption, but I have also found a lot of love here too.