When Jody was 25 years old, living at home, she was not getting along with her mother, and when she was 4 months pregnant, she came home to her bedroom all boxed up. Her mom had no idea she was pregnant.
Her boyfriend had no interest in being a parent. Facing pregnancy, and trying to make a decision to parent or to place, she felt very much alone. Once she made the decision to place, finding the right family for her son was really more then she could do, she asked her caseworker to find the family for her.
Her boss, and friend drove her to the hospital when she went into labor. Her friends were there to help and support her, her parents were 2 time zones away when they got the call that she was having a baby. She placed the child with the family and tried to move on in her life.
This didn't happen, all the emotions she had been avoiding, all the fears she hadn't faced hit her in the face and knocked her down. She quit her job, she wasn't coping or dealing, she didn't know what to do. Physically and emotionally she was hurting and in pain, she was alone.
About 6 months later,through a chain of circumstances she had to meet with her case worker again, the case worker offered to get pictures and a letter from the family. The case worker was insistent that she should have this. Jody reluctantly agreed and went back the next day.
She read a heartfelt letter from her sons adoptive mom, one that expressed her love and care for Jody and for her son. The adoptive mom shared a spiritual experience she had, before her son was born. One that let Jody know her son was in the right place. She took the opportunity to express her love and appreciation to Jody.
This was what she needed. It was a turning point for her, she was able to deal with all the emotions. She got a job, started working on her life and has been able to move in the direction she wants her life to go. However, she also shared with me that she has not got in contact with them or the agency for 2 years, she knows there are probably pictures and another letter at least waiting for her, She can't bring herself to get find out and make that contact.
Those emotions and feelings were so strong when she placed that baby that she is afraid that opening that door will set her back. I can empathized with that. I don't know if the adoptive mom knew she was having a hard time when she wrote the letter, but it amazed me to learn how much that meant to Jody.
|me and Charlee's birth mother Elle|
I talked to her about the hurt and pain I as an adoptive mother have. How hard it is to know that I get to be a mother because someone else forfeited their right and gave it to me. I shared with her how overwhelming it can be at times to feel the responsibility of being a good parent for your child but also to be the parent the birth family expected.
Although, I don't talk about it. There was a lot of guilt and heartache. Sharing this with her was good for my heart. So many times I feel so unworthy of the tittle "mother". I feel kind of like I cheated that I didn't follow all the rules to get the title. But I couldn't follow the rules, if I followed the "normal" way to have a family I would be sitting at a big dead end waiting. I don't take parenthood for granite, it is really a gift from stranger (then not now) gave to me.
It was nice to sit and talk and be honest with each other about these emotions. Jody, was shocked to realize the guilt on the adoptive side. And I didn't realize on the birth parents side how much they need some communication from the adoptive family. Even, though she didn't know she needed it or that it would help.
I have to admit that I too many times I fail at my communications with Charlee's birth family. I think about it, I plan it but I don't always follow through. Sometimes, I wait for them to request it or to show an interest. This isn't right. I shouldn't do this. That isn't fair to them. I need to give them the opportunity and if they want to open the envelope at least its there.
I don't know when, but I know there will be a time when Jody is ready to open that door to see new pictures of her son and learn about his life. I pray the adoptive mother has left something there for her.
And for me the adoptive mother side, I know that the communication, information and pictures can help with healing. It is hard to put into words how this works. Its in the simplicity of forgetting ones sorrows, focusing and serving others that really does bring peace into our hearts.
Being able to share with her birth family, the day to day life, the little moments of her growing and learning, helps the feelings of guilt and heart ache. It really is a blessing in my life to be able to share Charlee's life with those who gave her her life.