By Birthmother – My first child turned ten years old in May. It’s December now, the very LAST day of December. I’ve been putting this journal entry off for THAT long, not because I’ve had anything better to do, but because I’ve been afraid of addressing my feelings and maybe even more afraid of sharing them.
There’s so little I can do now where my children are concerned. At the beginning, when I was pregnant, my role was so clear: Keep the baby healthy. Find loving parents with all the awesome parenting qualities that my husband and I did not have. Sign the paperwork.
And now… legally, I have no role and no responsibilities. My work is done.
The easiest thing to do is disappear from the picture. I don’t think anyone would blame me, and perhaps it would be easier for everyone involved. My life goes on and so does theirs.
But, first of all, that’s not what we signed up for. Open adoption implies a continuing relationship. The details vary from family to family, but the principle remains that there is value in keeping the channels of communication open.
…and somehow I suspect that the disappearing act is only ACTUALLY easiest for ME. Because I HAVE been offered channels of communication. I HAVE been offered pictures and phone calls. I have not been ignored or neglected. And when those channels open… and I am offered glimpses of my children… I’m the one who doesn’t always respond. I’m the one who rarely reaches out. Why?
I chicken out, that’s why. I love seeing that my children are ok, watching them grow, but actually TALKING to them? Talking is terrifying! What do I say? What if I’m so happy to see/hear them that I can barely talk? What if I say something stupid, or say something that upsets them? What if the emotions are so strong that it becomes hard to say goodbye?
I send my children letters at Christmas and on birthdays. It’s old-fashioned, I know, but in addition to being something concrete to put in their hands, letters are also very safe for me, the same way emails and blogs are safe. I can type out each paragraph as slowly as I need to, editing as I go.
At this point in my typing, I’d really like to do a little editing to make myself sound like a better person, but somehow it seems more important to share, honestly, that open adoption can be terrifying at the same time it is rewarding. Seeing my children grow means seeing what I lost.
I’m not GOING to disappear, as tempting as it might be. When the children call, I will do my best to answer. When they ask questions, I will do my best to find something to say. Because they deserve whatever attention they ask for. Because they are beautiful and I would be a fool to pass up any chance to get to know them.