I am placing my standard disclaimer at the very beginning of this post, since I know many of you will look at this like I am crazy, but this is the friendly reminder that this is MY blog, where I come to work things out, and in no way, shape, or form should anyone take any offense to it, or worry about any of my views. If I don't write it down, I can't work through it. So here goes...
I would love to break out into a monster long post about the wickedness of my Aparents, but I am still stuck there. Shocked at my stupidity...embarrased by my own ignorance. And there are more pressing things coming...My friend is about to become a "birthmom", and another "friend" is going to become an "adoptive mom". As time goes on, and the day is getting closer, I find myself as scared, nervous, apprehensive, and excited as both of these women...simply in a different way. And while I could (or should, depending on who you ask) have minded my own business, I stuck my nose into somewhere that I am not sure I should have, and am faced with my own questions. But above all else, I wonder, "Helping, or hurting?" That is my big question right now.
I have sat quietly with a permanent fake smile on my face to most people for the last 14 months. I laugh, I joke, I tease. But inside, in the dark places that this blog only begins to touch, I am unfixably broken...for now anyways. No matter how I sugarcoat it, or try to take accountability for it, I got a raw deal in my bad decision of Aparents. My adoption has been BEYOND life changing for me. I am not "me" anymore, and I will never be again. I am left with a warmer, fuzzier version in some places, and a heartbroken, empty shell in others. I cry every day for what I was, and smile every day for what I could still be.
There ARE things I am thankful for. I have a better understanding of the blessing my own children are. I know to never enter a situation again blind, deaf, or dumb. I know NOT to take people at their word unless you really know the person. I know that you have no real way of knowing how much people care about you until you are sitting at the bottom of a deep dark well of your own creation, and sadly, I have learned that no matter how you perceive your friendships to be...sometimes the ones you think are the greatest are in fact non existant. The same goes with marriages.
But I digress....back to the point. When I was posed with this pregnancy, and asked to help, I jumped in feet first. I like being a mentor. I like being asked to guide others. I enjoy it. While before I generally lacked sympathy or empathy, I find my heart full of a new need to help people. Not that I was unloving or uncaring before, I simply never paid attention to the evils and wrongdoings of the world. So when asked about adoption, I had positive things to say. I had taken the time to educate myself as to what the options could have been, and should have been, and felt confident that I could guide someone else down the "right path" even if I had spent the last year wandering through LA LA Land. So I looked through profiles. I asked questions. I searched and searched as if finding the right combination of circumstances for her would validate that adoption wasn't a bad thing. That what happened to me was the exception, and NOT the rule. I found her child's future parents, and knew they would be different. Knew that they would be able to do all the things that mine wouldn't. What I didn't count on, was the fact that she would choose to make some of the same stupid mistakes I did.
As a manager, I am famous for saying "Lead by Example!". "Actions speak louder than words!" The problem is that my example is NOT something that should be followed. All of the education I have accquired since placement meant nothing, because all she had seen was my dillusional example. Emotional detachment from the baby I carried was one of the few coping mechanisms I had. There was no support system. My friends turned their backs. My husband acted like it wasn't happening. It made sense to me that if I never considered her my own, I wouldn't miss her as much. In watching her, and listening to her, I am slapped in the face that because of my ridiculous example, she is doing the same thing. The guilt that this is causing is indescribable. I never took pictures with the adoptive family, and they REFUSE to send me the ones the nurses took at the hospital of the three of us. There are no pictures of me holding the baby. As a matter of fact, the five minutes I held the baby on the way to the nursery in the eight hours I spent at the hospital, caused a war with L*, the AMomma. I regret every single second I didn't hold her. I regret not knowing that I would be so disappointed in choosing not to insist on pictures and whatnot. I WISH someone would have told me differently, when I could still make a difference. And I have shared that with my soon to be birthmomma friend, hoping she would not make the same mistakes. You cannot go back in time and recapture those moments, and you cannot know how precious they are until you have forever lost them. But she will not listen. She will not hear. She will not budge. And because I am NOT her, I cannot make her. I have to respect her wishes, and watch her future regrets take place. She wants no contact afterwards, save for minimal updates, and I want to grab her and smack her in the face and scream..."DO YOU HEAR ME? DO YOU WANT TO BE WHERE I AM?" But I don't. I sit back and watch, with a heavy heart. I place my faith in the parents that were chosen, and wait for her reality to set in, and hope with my whole heart that it doesn't break her.
But again...I am off topic. "Helping, or hurting?" That's the topic of this post. Am I helping? Or am I hurting? If all goes well, she will move on with her life unscathed, and a new family will have been born. And for a few minutes, I will feel like a hero. And then I will be retired to a tiny footnote in the history of all of their lives. And if that is how it goes, then I am fine with that. But what if it doesn't?
I KNOW firsthand the sadness, sorrow, despair, worthlessness that comes in after the placement. And I know that in my friend's case, adoption was her second option. It was the best that she could do, once the time for an abortion passed. It was not what she wanted. Abortion is a thousand times easier than adoption. And it was the choice that she wanted. But once the window passed, and she could not do that, adoption became the only option as far as she was concerned. I wonder every day, if I have condemned her to a life or regret and emptiness by helping her search. Regardless of how wonderfully amazing the adoptive parents are, there are still a lot of personal demons that choosing adoption creates within a person. No matter their actions, there is still a struggle within any birthmother. I wonder if she will blame me personally on the days that her heart feels broken. I wonder if I did the right thing by showing her this crazy world of families created by love, not blood. I wonder if she will be ok. Or if she will crumble. I worry for her children, and the impact that this is causing on them. I wonder if in my quest for redemption, I will have destroyed her.
I worry too, for the new parents. I know that my friend is 100% ready to be "done and over with all this", but since I do not know the inner most recesses of her mind and soul, I wait with baited breath to make sure that this all goes through. I would break if this fell apart. I would never be able to face the new parents, knowing that I had done the legwork for a third failed placement. It would be more than I could bear. As a mother, and as a woman...I would not be able to handle it. The shame and the sorrow would eat me alive. No amount of blogging, or counseling, or boxed wine would repair the hurt that I indirectly helped cause.
Because I have never claimed to be one of the selfliss angel personas that some birthmom's take on, I will admit that I worry for me too. I have often heard adoptive parents talk about abortion as the end all of all evils. It allows a pregnant woman to do something an infertile one could never do...End life before it begins. There is anger and frustration there. In watching this whole thing unfold, I must admit that I too have anger and frustration. Where my child turned into a "grab and run" on L* and M*'s part, I am watching my friend basically toss this child into the arms of another and walk away. Ending the relationship with her childs future parents before it has even began. I can understand her feelings, but on a deep deep personal level, it hurts me to watch. There is almost a bittersweet jealousy there...She is being offered a part in the life of her child, and she is turning her back on it...at least for now. It pains me so much to see her wasting what could be such an amazing opportunity. I purposely directed her towards people who were the polar opposite of my bad choice, only to watch her not want to take advantage of the gifts they are offering. Its like telling a child not to touch something because it is hot, and then having to shake your head when they burn themselves. The saving grace in all of that, is that should she change her mind on post placement contact, I truly feel the new parents will be flexible and gracious enough to adapt with her. But it kills me to watch, none the less.
The new momma was talking casually today, and in between the jokes, and the obscenities, and the crazy chat session, the phrase, "After 72 hours, once the papers are signed, the adoption is final." came up. I don't know why...but it was enough to rattle me senseless. I left the site in tears, and am bawling still as I write this four hours later. The finality of it all is so overwhelming. I remember my 72 hours, and they were horrible. Absolutely horrible. If you dont remember them, it can be read by clicking here. Why would I do that to her? Why would I show that to her? What if something happens and she doesn't place? How will anyone move on?
72 hours...and a lifetime is determined. The long, hard journey of "birthmotherhood" begins, and the new family starts their life. 72 hours of holding my breath....praying for the best (whatever that is)...and then it is all over.
"Helping or hurting?" Big question. No answer...