I feel weird saying this but I believe I have very strong feelings for our son’s birthmother, Lizzie. Perhaps this feeling of love (if that’s what it is) isn’t so weird as I’ve heard other adoptive parents express their feelings of love toward their child’s birthmothers that only a shared child can bring to adoptive relationships. But what I feel is slightly different than that, it is rather a strong sense of connection with her that I don’t believe all adoptive mothers share with their child’s birthmothers.
This connection with Lizzie could be from many number of shared interests/ideals that I see we have like: wanting to be good, upbeat people; wanting to help others and make a positive impact in the world some how; valuing people and relationships and experiences more than things; and even the shared desire of expressing our feelings of adoption in these shared articles. Or it could of course be from the most obvious link, our son. It could be any or all of these things yes. But I suspect that our biggest link outside of our son stems from our tendencies to having occasional bouts of depression in our lives. This is something I learned about Lizzie through reading her medical profile before we even talked to her on the phone for the first time. I remember thinking as we were soaking up all the information about our potential birthparents to be, “Wow, she struggles with depression too. Now that’s something I understand and can relate to.” And I immediately felt a bond there.
Whether or not Lizzie senses this same shared bond is beyond me. After all, we are not sharing day to day moods or deep dark secrets in our lives, nor have we ever really talked for any significant length about depression as it isn’t something that is a constant in our lives, just something that rears its ugly head on occasion. I only hear/see what she chooses to share with me through conversation or through postings on Facebook. (I might very well have manifested this whole connection in my head.) Regardless to whether or not this is a shared experience is real to both of us or simply on my end, it doesn’t minimize the feelings I have about it. When I hear that Lizzie is struggling with depression my heart literally aches.
Other people in my life I would feel that way about would be my mother and sister – both of which I have a very deep connection to and both also who struggle with depression on occasion. Of course I’d feel terrible knowing that anyone of my other family member or friends were struggling with depression but the intensity of my feelings would likely be a bit different, I wouldn’t feel it so deeply in my chest. I’ve realized that I need Lizzie as much as I need my mother and my sister in my life. Me. Not just for our son but I need her present in my life and I can not imagine a life without her in it.
I remember early on in the adoption process, before we were matched with our birth parents, thinking how much I hoped the birth parents of our child would not be involved in our life in any way and how I hoped that after we adopted their child that they would quietly disappear. Today when I think of this it is laughable because I know not having Lizzie and John (the birthfather) in our lives to some capacity is as painful as not having my own parents in my life.
Does this terrify me. Yes! How did I become so incredibly needy? How did this happen? I let myself be vulnerable again – I let love in my life again.