The morning I held my daughter for the last time in the hospital I sat there staring, tears streaming down, into my lap to see my 3 day-old baby girl sweetly sleeping, swaddled in a hospital blanket completely unaware of what would take place in just minutes. Today would be the day I would sign my parental rights away, and place her into the arms of the couple I was now trusting with her life, literally. I studied her face as much as I could, thinking if I could stare hard enough, I could make sure every detail of her face would be imprinted indelibly on the hard drive of my mind. I blinked to clear my vision and pulled her near to my face to whisper, Please don’t hate me.
After 12 years, I am happy and relieved to say she doesn’t hate me. To the best of my knowledge, she has never hated me. And I can still remember every facet of her newborn face when I call to mind that last moments we shared as mother and daughter. And she still is my daughter, and I am still her mother, but our roles have changed now. We both have a new adjective in front of our titles, Birth. My rights to parent may have been terminated by my hand, but our relationship has not. There are a few reasons I think that is so.
Placing Her For Adoption Was A Family Matter
When I signed up for an open adoption, I fully recognized I was agreeing to a relationship with not just my birth daughter, but her adoptive family as well. If things were going to be able to flourish with me and her, there had to be equal efforts made to build a relationship with her parents, namely her adoptive mother. Since I knew this, I spent time getting to know her. We talked, shared thoughts and feelings, and things about ourselves.
I invested time and information in her adoptive mother and that paid off. Not only do I have a great relationship with her adoptive mother, but I love her like my own family. That relationship has been a safe place to land when I find myself revisiting the grief of my placement from time to time. Open adoption is with everyone involved, not just the birth mother and her biological child. It is a family matter.
Making Peace With My Decision And The Things That Came With It
My birth daughter doesn’t hate me or our adoption story because I don’t. She is never going to hear from me that I regret what I did or that doing what I did was not the right thing to do. In my mind, that is not fair to her. There are times when I feel disappointment in myself and wonder if it really would have been fine to parent. Maybe it would have. I didn’t have the ability to see whether or not that would be the case at the time. I hedged my bets on adoption and all I can say is at this juncture, my decision yielded the results I was looking for. I could look at it all and say, if I’d only known I’d be here, I never would have done it. I don’t know that it would have ended up this way if I didn’t. I wanted us all to wind up in a good place, settled and safe. We are, we are just not all under one roof. For me to be okay with that, I had to leave the decision where it lays. That means I had to make peace with my choice. For some, that may seen withdraw or unfeeling, but the opposite is true. If I didn’t want to be tortured with what-ifs, I had to make peace with it. What I experienced is peace for myself. Because I am at peace, she can be. And we can all rest in that.
Anything She Wants To Know About Me Is A Phone Call Away
The best reason she doesn’t hate me for placing her for adoption is that she is always welcome to talk to me about her adoption story. There are no secrets between us and she and her adoptive parents know that. There was recently a time when she had more questions, but her adoptive mom and I talked about how to prepare and how to answer. Collaboration is always best for the adoptee when the adoptive parents and birthparents humble themselves to discuss what is in the best interest of the child.
The door to me is always open for her. There is no reason to hate me for placing her for adoption. When we do not have enough facts, we start making up stories in our mind out what the truth is. Thankfully, with me she will never have to do that.