1. I hate that I can not talk about it with most people.
The few friends I have spoken about it with have given me the pity “cancer” face. Holy Christ how I hate that fucking pity face. I get it, most people don’t know what to say and so they default to “the face”. So what would be better than “the face”? It is so hard for me to talk about my experience and so if I brought it up, please ask me questions. It does not hurt less not to talk about it.
2. I hate that most people think we are drug addicts, abusers, neglectful, uneducated, and ignorant.
In my experience, most people assume one if not all of these things about us. Yeah it’s true in some cases, but not in most I would wager. These stereotypes make it even harder to talk about the pain I feel. I can’t feel comfortable discussing issues surrounding adoption if I’m looked at as a junkie welfare momma. In some cases, it’s easier for people to label us this way in their heads so they don’t have to deal with the fact that we are the same as adoptive parents in many ways.
3. I hate that I have built up these emotional walls around myself because of the pain of giving away my son.
Giving my oldest away has permeated every facet of my life. The trauma of not bringing home my baby made my brain change. My brain is trying to protect me from ever having to feel that pain again. I can not tear down these walls. I love my children and my husband more than I can say, but I know there is a part of me that expects them all to leave. Being a birth mother has made me an eternal pessimist, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am unable to accept and fully experience happy moments in my life because I’m always looking for “the catch”. I’m just waiting for something to happen to make that pain return. Living this way sucks balls.
4. I hate that someone else is raising my child.
Selfish, right? Experiencing the joy of watching my other 3 children grow up has made me realize everything I have missed with my oldest son. I thought that when I gave him up, eventually when I had “children of my own” I wouldn’t miss him so much. At least, that’s what I was led to believe. I’m here to tell you, the opposite is true. Having “children of my own” has made me miss him more.
5. I hate not knowing that my son is happy.
I really have no clue. I have only had contact with his mother once in the 14 years since I gave him away. I can only know her side of his life and her perspective. If he isn’t happy, I highly doubt she would tell me that. And when I say happy, I don’t mean la la la it’s a beautiful day out and I love playing outside. I mean on a primal level. Happy with his life thus far. Happy to be alive. It feels so wrong to me that I won’t know what my own flesh and blood is feeling about his own existence.
6. I hate that my son doesn’t know his birth story.
I really have no idea what my son had been told about how he came to be in this world. How I came to be in this world is such an important part of who I am. I know from my own mother what her labor and delivery was like, how she loved me and bonded with me instantly, how she was so thankful to have me. What can that be like for my son? Does he know how I bonded with him after he was born? Does he know that I held him and kept him with me for the 2 days post birth? Does he know that I loved him? Does he care? Or is it a non-issue for him all together? Is the only pertinent story for him the story of how his parents came to raise him? I just don’t know.
7. I hate that being a birth mother has made it so incredibly difficult for me to express my feelings.
Here is my MO. Something in my life is difficult, a situation or a relationship. Instead of dealing with my feelings at the time the event is happening, I push them so far down inside my soul and refuse to admit I have feelings about the event at all. These things could be small or large, the procedure for dealing with them is the same. Fast forward to some time later and KABOOM! An explosive outpouring of rage and emotion is expelled upon those around me and they have no clue why I’m so upset. The way I deal with emotions is directly related to being a birth mother.
8. I hate that I can not find a qualified therapist that can help me deal with these issues.
Adoption loss is not the same as other losses. I’m not saying it’s worse or easier but it’s not the same as having a child die. It’s a special kind of pain related to an incredibly painful and never ending experience. There is no closure for me. My child is still walking around out there. To this day, I have not been able to find a therapist that specialized in post adoption issues. Oh sure, I had post adoption counseling (if you could call it that) right after the birth. But that counseling only dealt with the short term issues. The long term effects are largely undocumented and much more research needs to be done. I have had therapists that have told me I need to move on with my life, i.e. it was a singular event that happened in my past and I need to essentially get over it. Losing my son to adoption was not a singular event, it is a continuous string of emotions that only seem to be amplified over time.
9. I hate hearing friends play up the loss that adoptive parents feel when an adoption “fails”.
I have empathy for people who are unable to have children. But when I hear people say their adoption fails, my mind goes to the mother who decided to parent their child and I just want to let out a big YAHOO! Of course, I’m not a total asshole so I don’t do that. But honestly, I can’t wrap my head around the way these friends talk about their potential adoptions. Why can they not see that by inserting themselves into an expectant mother’s pregnancy they are only setting themselves up for heartache? Why can’t they see that by becoming so involved before papers are signed they are only participating in the coercion of the mother? I can’t say these things because if I do, I’m told that I’m only speaking from my own experience and why am I so angry anyway? Gee, I don’t know, why are YOU so angry about not being able to raise someone else’s baby?
10. I hate that I hate myself.
Now if that ain’t circular I don’t know what is. I hate myself for not having strength of character. I hate myself for being such a people pleaser that I gave away my own child. I hate myself for believing the lies about adoption for so long. I hate myself for believing that other people were better able to raise my child. I hate myself for not believing in myself. I hate myself for not exploring every option available to me to parent. I hate myself for giving up my son.