The institution of adoption, and open adoption, is still a fairly new concept in the United States. In the 1980s, we saw a new option of open adoption emerge. This has transformed the scandal of what used to be the hidden adoption into the birth of a new relationship with a new family.
With the political climate at an all-time dramatic high, I think it’s common that we find ourselves asking questions that are founded in one of our most basic concerns: “What is important to us?”
In this country, we have seen so much hate lately rise up and take hold, that I think it’s important to remember what is good. I am aware of the political climate that surrounds adoption, and I am floored by the hate that surrounds this issue as well. For those who have a problem with the idea of adoption and being a birth parent, I say this: “Adoption is NOT the problem.”
Adoption is NOT the Problem
Saying adoption is the problem is like saying that any other noun is the problem in the world. It is an option, a choice, but it is what we do with it that can be a problem — not the thing in and of itself.
I have an open adoption, and I have had an open adoption for close to seven years. I have seen highs and lows in the relationship between myself and my son’s parents. Yet, I have never regretted my choice. As a birth mother, I spent time feeling incredibly lonely and confused in regards to the emotions that took hold of me when I chose adoption. I had immense amounts of grief to process, and I lost relationships that were dear to me in the process. What I have learned since then has been absolutely pivotal in my life: “Healing is a choice.”
In reference to those on their death beds, pining over what could have been, Bronnie Ware wrote:
“Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”
Happiness Is a Choice
As birth mothers, we face one of the most difficult choices anyone ever faces: choosing adoption. We all have choices to make every day. Some choices are more critical than others. While choosing happiness may seem like a smaller choice when it comes to the scale of choices we make every day, I think it is rather large when you look at the full scope of it. Choosing happiness means so many vital things to everyday life. Happiness will help us make positive decisions, bring good things to our lives, and guide us to more healthy choices. We can all choose to be happy. Here are a few tips to help you choose to be happy in your everyday life:
- Choose happiness in whatever you do.
- Strengthen your closest relationships.
- Take care of yourself physically, financially and emotionally.
All of these factors are within your control and can help you feel happier overall — even despite external influences.
Depression is NOT a Choice
Let me be clear, I am not referring to those who suffer from depression or other mental health conditions that would actually chemically impact one’s ability to choose happiness. As a sufferer of depression, it took me years to find the right medication that would correct a chemical imbalance and actually allow me to choose happiness. So if you find that you want to choose happiness, but are perpetually unable to, perhaps it is time to consult with a doctor.
I know from experience that happiness is a choice, just as healing is a choice. By choosing a path of healing, I have chosen happiness. Misery loves company, but do you really want to hang out with old ghosts?
Consider these questions for choosing happiness:
- What do you really want out of life?
- If you could choose happiness, what would that look like?
- Are you comfortable being miserable, or do you want a different life?
- What does happiness mean to you?
- What does happiness look like to you?
- Are you ready to leave your old life and choices behind and begin addressing your issues and solving your problems so that you can walk a path of healing?
I truly believe that every birth mother has a choice to be happy. When adoption is truly the best option, healing is an option as well. No matter how miserable you are now, I know that it will get better for you if you put in the effort to make your life better.
Also, remember, feelings are temporary and always change. Don’t rely on them to dictate your choices. Push past your feelings in order to find the desires of your spirit, and most importantly, remember: You are not alone.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.