Monday, 22 February 2016

A Letter To Those Mothers Who Have Given Up A Child For Adoption



Dear Mothers of Loss to Adoption,

I don't know if you will want to hear from me, a mother through adoption but the beauty of the internet is that we all have a voice.  We can all be heard.

I read some of the comments you wrote about my recent article on infertility that was posted on your Facebook page.  One of you said I was disgusting and another said that it was impossible to mourn what I'd never lost.  One wrote that your sympathy for those experiencing infertility ended when a woman thought she could take the child of another mother and try to make it her own.  One person commenting likened adoption to wanting a Porsche and feeling entitled to one and so simply taking one that rightfully belonged to someone else.  One woman shared her belief that the only real mother is a birth mother.

Reading those comments didn't make feel me angry, defensive or even offended, but they did make we wish that there was some way I could reach out to you.  Just as each birth mother is unique and has her own story, so is each adoptive mother.  We are not all the same.  I won't try to make less of your grief. You have every right to it.  We all have our own stories and those stories are our truths.

My truth is that I have thought about you from the moment that adoption first entered my mind. Before I even knew with certainty that we would try to adopt, it was you I wondered about.  I hurt for you because although I wasn't yet a mother myself and I knew nothing of your circumstances, I understood that this was not all joy and celebration.  There was immeasurable grief, loss, anguish involved too.  I knew my gain would be someone else's heart-shattering, lifelong loss.

I tried to imagine you.  My mind wouldn't rest.  I pictured you in an unfamiliar place, a world away from me.  Arms wrapped around yourself.  Hands resting on your belly.  I wondered how old you were.  If you were just a child, or a widow, or a woman my age.  I wondered if your family had abandoned you upon learning you were pregnant as so often happens in some countries even to this day.

I wondered what you felt when you learned you were pregnant.  Were you filled with a tentative joy? Did you hope against hope, pray for a possibility, however small, that you might not have to part with the precious child you carried inside?  Were you terrified, did you dread what was to come?  Did you feel full of resolve or full of despair?  Was the child you carried a product of love?  Anger?  War?  

I wondered when you would begin to think about me, a nameless woman in another country. Another world.  What would you want to tell me if you could?

Now I am writing this years later, I feel deeply the pain of adoption but I also see the beauty it can bring in some situations.  It is not a perfect answer or solution but it can be an option or answer for some.

Even at the beginning of this long journey, I wanted to promise you so much.  Mostly that I would not forget you, but more importantly, that I wouldn't let your child won't forget you either.  That we will always be a part of each other.  You will always be with me and with this child.

It is my hope that my children carry a love for their birth parents and their birth country in their hearts as they live.  I promise you I don't feel threatened by this.  There is enough love to cover this. Enough love to cover me and you.  It is my hope that one day we will meet you again.

I am stepping into the gap for this child although I am not perfect and can't do it all or know it all.

I can't apologize for the fact that my husband and I are parents through adoption.

But I promise you that I don't feel entitled to this child.  I know he is not fully mine.  He is fully his own and I have the honor and great responsibility to care for him as he grows and love him.  In this way, I hope to honor you too.

I picture myself standing before you, beside you, with you, someday.  I feel we are united.  This is your child. This is my child.  We are united in our love and responsibility to him, you and I.

As I said, I don't know if you wanted to hear from me but I wanted to tell you this.

Love, C.

(I wrote this in response to comments that were written under my article on infertility on one of the pages that shared it on Facebook.  I don't usually respond to those sorts of comments and did not want to engage in an argument no one can win on Facebook or in the comment section of Huffington Post but felt as though I could address it here.)




  

25 comments:

  1. This is an incredibly beautiful article. Well written and touching. I have never adopted, or had to give up a child for adoption but I have worked with families who have. The happiness and love that an adopted infant gets is indescribable. Though incredibly hard for the families giving these kids up, they should find a little peace in the knowledge that their kids will be loved but not only the ones losing them but the ones taking care of them now.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective! How interesting to work with people in these situations, it must help in gaining a different understanding of situations.

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  2. Wow its nice to read your response in such a delicate family issue. My focus would be that the child is in a loving environment.

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    1. Thank you for you comment, I am sure that is the greatest hope of the birth parent.

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  3. What a difficult subject to discuss and wonderful way to approach it. It is sad that there are people who are out to bash those with so much love in their heart they want to be able to share it with a baby who otherwise could have had a much harder life or no life at all. In this world that is so full of self-gratifying yahoos, sharing your life and love should not be on the list of things people should bully you about.

    Bidy
    http://www.dearlittlerme.com

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! I think sometimes when people have been through something totally shattering and devestating it colors their view on the subject. <3

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  4. I've started typing a comment three different times now. Backspace. Start over. I just keep coming back to the fact that you even had to write this piece to begin with. I feel so very sad that there are so many judgmental people among us. That you had to read those very nasty comments from people who have never met you and aren't fully aware of your journey. Shame on them. And brave on you for writing this beautiful response.

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  5. Very heart touching and meaningful letter. Every child deserves a family and to be loved

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  6. I feel the same as Sheri G. It's really sad you felt you had to write this article. It's beautiful, but also a shame that mothers whose children have been adopted out have to be nasty. There's no reason for it. They need to find someone to talk to so they can work through this stuff.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts. :) I am not sad I had to write this though, I am grateful for the opportunity and I hope that maybe to someone somewhere, it brings a sort of healing. :)

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  7. I'm so grateful for you, Colleen. You have helped me see a fuller picture of what it is to adopt a child. When we're not directly involved, we often only see the new parent's point of view. You help me understand the pain that occurs on all sides. You've helped me see there is pain and loss, but there is also unbounding love. Thank you for sharing your story, as much as it may be hard for some to hear it, or understand it. It is your story and it is a story of love.

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  8. This is a beautiful and powerful letter. I have never had children, or given any up for adoption for that matter, but I think this is definitely a voice that needs to be heard.

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  9. Wow! Beautiful and well said. Giving a child up adoption has to be one of the most difficult things to do. But also the most courageous. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I couldn't agree more. My respect for these women is boundless. Thank you for commenting.

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  10. This is a really hard topic to discuss but I think you did it gracefully. I Think that although it's a hard decision in the end the most important thing is that the child finds a home fill with love and opportunities

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    1. Yes, thank you for your comment and thoughts on the subject.

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  11. Colleen, every time you pick up your pen grace spills out. What a beautiful post.

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    1. Mary thank you! That is a beautiful compliment!!:)

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  12. Thanks Colleen for sharing your part of the story,
    really heart touching.

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  13. Sorry that you had to go through these comments. There is an old Hindi film which shows a couple that brings in a poor girls to harbour their kid. But once she is pregnant and nearing delivery she runs away from their house because she cannot give her kid away. The movie brilliantly shows the adoptive-mother to be facing her own happiness and insecurities. This is a situation which is very painful yet filling for both. God help each one of choose our path

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