I Remember - Seeds Were Planted
I remember bringing up the option of adoption to the birth father when I was about three months pregnant. He didn’t say a word. We were taking an evening walk, the atmosphere was tense, and I asked him what he thought about adoption. He had no comment. He literally didn’t look at me, say a word, or even acknowledge that I had asked the question. The relationship with my son’s birth father was very toxic, and he had made many bad choices over the short course of our relationship. I couldn’t imagine parenting with him.
I walked into an adoption agency with my mom when I was about seven months pregnant. I was in denial about my reality to such an extent that I barely recall this memory. In fact, she is the one who reminded me a few years later about going with her. She wanted me to know that I had options. She wasn’t trying to force me into anything, and didn’t want anyone else to either. My mom just wanted me to know that I had options.
I hadn’t had much experience or education on adoption. A girl that I went to school with was adopted. I remember that she seemed very confident, which I had assumed was because her parents loved her so much. I had some family friends who chose to adopt two of their children. My friends parented these children without ever behaving as if they weren’t their own. Those children were their children.
There were many seeds that were planted in my mind regarding adoption throughout my life. Although I knew little about it, I had seen it from afar working for families that seemed much healthier than the dynamics that I grew up in. If those families could raise healthy children regardless of blood relation, then could adoption be an option for me and my son?
Little did I know, within those times I remember, that adoption would become something close to my heart. I could never have imagined that I would make such a courageous choice to give such a gift to my son that would provide him with an amazing life. I can now say that adoption is always an option, and sitting on the fence is a normal part of the decision-making process when it comes to adoption. If you are on the fence about adoption, it’s okay. It's normal. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and keep in mind that this may be the most difficult decision you ever make. Yet, it may be the best decision that you could ever make.
Parenting was incredibly challenging for me. I was in a situation with almost no support. Once I found full-time employment, I was at work and away from my son for about 12 hours every day. By the time I paid the sitter and made it through my baby expenses, I had about $100 left for the week. I was living with friends at the time. These friends ended up abandoning me when I chose adoption, but I’m grateful for the opportunity that they gave me to raise my son for the six months that I had him.
My son would wake up every night every two hours. He had a very hard time sleeping through the night. There was no one else to wake up with him during this nightly routine, and I was beyond exhausted for work the next morning. There were so many other complicated situations and dynamics going on within that period, and I don’t want to bore you with the details. To sum up: I was working full-time, had almost no support, and I believe now that I had post-partum depression on top of trying to cope with the depression I had struggled with since my adolescence.
Acceptance and Decision
I was finally able to pull myself out of denial and start facing the reality that adoption was the best option for my child and I. I fought hard to be a full-time, single parent. I did absolutely everything I could for my child. I was breastfeeding, managing full-time work, and spending time bonding with my child. By the end of our six months together, I was spent. When I wrapped my mind around the idea that adoption was the best choice, I felt a sense of relief come upon me.
It wasn’t until I met his parents that I felt peace about my decision. Choosing adoption is one thing, but for me, that real peace came when I knew where he was going to be raised and who was going to raise him.
To this day, I have no regrets about my decision. There is a difference between experiencing regret on a consistent basis and experiencing pain while walking a path of healing. Just because some days involve painful emotions, doesn’t mean that I regret my decision. Pain is, unfortunately, a part of life in this world.
Seeds may be planted, but it’s up to you to grow them. Adoption is a choice. There are few choices in life that do not come with a need for acceptance and reality checks. This is just another one. When this decision is right, I am sure you will be convicted in your heart, and the well-being of your child is what will bring you strength in your darkest hour.
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.