When the divorce was new, I would always tell people I had a child from my previous marriage. But, without fail, they would look around and ask where she was. And I would get into the story of how I chose what I thought was best for her and how her Father had custody, and the same thing would ALWAYS happen. People would instantly judge, and form their own opinion of what they thought of me. Many friendships were lost over the years, and at times it feels like there is a great divide in my own family between the love and attention that is shown to Taryn vs my three others...though that discussion is a whole other blog in itself. It is amazing to me how many people who hear my story instantly think the worst of me. There is a tremendous prejudice in the world against Mother's who do not maintain custody of their children whether it is for the best or not. Birthmoms know this pain, and I certainly learned it in the decade between signing custody papers and signing relinquishment papers. It was very wearing on me, and would put me in a bad mood for such long periods of time. Eventually I got to a point where I just stopped talking about her, unless I was close to the person I was having the conversation with. I never forgot her...I simply got tired of airing my business to strangers to judge me. I am sure that many Birthmoms and Adoptive Parents feel the same way at times.
When I found out I was pregnant in 2008, and made the choice to begin the adoption journey, Taryn weighed heavy in my decision. I could see that there were many parallels in the story between my first daughter, and the little girl who would be my last. I had seen first hand that sometimes it is a better (though NOT an easier) decision to let another raise a life you created. That there are times when choosing to let go will give them the opportunity to gain so much more. I knew that it would hurt like hell, and that there would be days where I would feel like the world was ending, but that I would make it through anyways. I knew that I had made a lot of mistakes when it came to my relationship with Taryn, and I swore I would not make those mistakes with this one. I would be as involved as possible, and it gave me a new insight on how to begin building a better relationship with Taryn. So I was pretty confident that because I had lived through all of the heartache and judgement regarding Taryn that I was experienced enough to handle the adoption. That is a huge reason I thought I would come out of the adoption feeling great about my choice and would heal easily.
As we know, I did not handle the adoption well. The situations, though similar in someways, have vast differences. For one, I did not spend two years with the baby. I do not know her. And I truly do not know her parents. I know what is visible to the world, but the adoption takes great faith on my part, since I did not live the "behind the scenes" that I did with Taryn. It takes much more patience, and I tread far more carefully knowing what is at stake.
This past year has been very eye opening to me, as my relationship with Taryn has evolved to a different level. Things had been pretty quiet for a little while, and then one of her relatives befriended me on Facebook and started writing nasty things all over the pictures of my kids. So I had to delete them...both the comments and the person. Then, shortly before Christmas, (and three days after the deletion) Taryn sent me an email that broke my heart. It was written from a very angry, hurting 12 year old who wanted me to know how much my decision affected her for the worst. She unloaded all of her hate, and her hurt, and told me that I was not her Mom, never was...that she had shed her last tear over me and that I was dead to her. She was done. She hated me for not loving her, and hated me more for leaving her. She ranted that my three children did not replace her, and that she never wanted to talk to me again.
Allow me to point out that thankfully this happened after the adoption was 8 months old, or I may not have gone through with it. I sat there stunned for days. I knew I made the right choice. I still know that. She has had everything she could ever dream of for the last 10 years. But like my Mom said, "Sometimes everything you need is not everything you want!"
Taryn was angry. More angry than I knew she was capable of ever being. I didn't know what to do, so I tried to call and reason with her. I asked her if she wanted to talk now, or wait until after Christmas was over, and she demanded to talk now. So I went into my discussion with her about "what I thought was best" and all about the amazing opportunities she had that my other three did not, and gave her every reason I could ever think of to explain why I did what I did. I told her that she was most loved, and wanted, and that my choice was not taken lightly, and that I bleed for her every day, but that I was not sorry for my choice. I would apologize for her hurt and her anger, but not for the decision. And I cried, and she cried, and then she hung up on me. And text me for the next fifteen minutes about how dare I call her and ruin her Christmas, and how she hated me so much. And I just sat there stunned.
And then it occured to me, that someday this will happen with the baby. At least it is a possibility. So in one year, I am dealing with the loss that comes with Adoption, and a "reunion" of sorts with my first child where she is demanding answers other than the ones I have prepared over the last ten years. How can I not compare Adoption and Divorce when it comes to this? And this may be a big part of why the adoption is affecting me differently from what I thought it would. I was not prepared for that happens when the best is not good enough.
A little over a month ago, Taryn got a Facebook page for herself. Whether it was intentional, or coincidental, she sent Friend's Requests immediately to all of my family...even my 8 yr old son (who is only allowed his page to play games with his Grandpa...save the lectures). The point is, she refused to send one to me. Instead of sending one to her, I sent her a message that said I acknowledged she had a page and that if she ever wanted to, she could send me one. That there was no pressure or obligation, but that is would be welcomed, and that I loved her very much and was here IF AND WHEN she was ever ready. For a month...nothing. She would comment all over everyone else's page and even chat with my son. But no request.
Then, after coming home late from my Birthday party this week, I checked my FB page...and there it was. A Friend's Request from Taryn and a very cute little birthday poem that had the word "Mom" in it. It was the end to a long day that had begun with a beautiful email from the Baby's parents. Kind of an Alpha and Omega...the first and the last type thing. My circle of Motherhood was complete that day, for the first time ever. And I was thankful.
The road ahead will continue to be long and difficult, as I must deal with all of my life's "chapters" finding their place in the story that is my world. But at least there is hope.