I think it was Kelsey that recently said she sometimes needs to take a break from adoption blogging to clear her head, and I agree completely. The move has allowed me a lot of time to clear my head and try and gain some perspective. Sometimes distance is a good way to do that. Living here is like living on another planet. It is nothing like living in Phoenix. The land is wide open, the sky goes on for miles, and twice now I have seen rainbows in the early afternoon. There is a quiet calm to living here. I can see stars at night. My inner voice has been silent for days. I am in a less stressed, more peaceful state of mind. And I have had time to reflect on a lot of things. In the meantime, I have missed out on chat, neglected my blog, and done a lot of thinking. I think now is a good time to share those thoughts...
"If you could do it over would you still put your baby up for adoption? Like even if you could pick different parents or what ever - would you do that or did L and M ruin adoption for you? Do you think you should have just kept your baby instead?"
"Do you regret placing your child for adoption?"
"Do you wish you didn't put your baby up for adoption because of her parents now or just wish you'd never done it at all? Do you think that they're going to mess her up because they are not nice people?"
"Okay, you've posted a lot about how you regret a lot about your adoption placement. Have you ever wished that you didn't place her, that you were the one raising her?"
I have this question sitting in my formspring account from seven different people, asked in seven different ways, (above are a few examples) and I thought it was time I should answer it...for the record. It's really a two part question, and while one answer always remains constant...the other changes frequently. If I had answered it a few weeks ago, it would have been a long winded, glaring, finger pointing session with regards to Lauren's parents, so I am glad I waited. This is my view today...
I have NEVER regretted my decision to choose adoption. I have spent a great many nights regretting ever even having sex so that I could get pregnant. I have regretted not educating myself on my options. I have regretted the lack of counseling, and the lack of a proper support staff. I have regretted a million different things, and find new ones daily, but I DO NOT regret adoption as my choice. You cannot regret a decision that you could not change. I could not keep her, and I knew that from the moment I saw the double lines on the pregnancy test. If you've read the blog for any length of time, you know the severity of the situation with regards to our finances at the time of the pregnancy. Two working parents, a nasty child support order that was suffocating us, a house we couldn't afford, and three starving children. No matter the size of my heart, no matter the wants of my soul, no matter anything...I could not afford to keep her. And when I look at it from that perspective...the sheer black and white (or in this case, the lack of green), nothing that L and M have done or will do, or will not do matters. (More on that later) Lauren could not stay with us. It was that knowledge that held me together through the pregnancy, and the entire journey of entering this unwanted membership into the Birthmother Club. The resources that are available to young, single women were NOT available to me. I looked into all of them. Financial assistance from the state was based on gross income, not net, and our gross was pretty nice, in all honesty. But once the State of California was done with us, it cost more money for Perr to go to work than what he brought home. For children that the mother won't even allow us to see. That is a whole other story unto itself though, and I don't feel the need to discuss it here, ever. We were not members of any church, and I wasn't going to join one for the sake of help. In fact, prior to placing, I swore that this whole situation was nothing to do with God, unless it was a "HA HA. Take that!" from the big man himself...though I feel much differently about that now. I remember telling L & M once, when I was trying to get them to relax about the possibility of me changing my mind about the adoption, that me trying to keep her would be the rough equivalent to the homeless people I see from time to time dragging a dog on a leash down the street...just not feasible. There were many reasons, but finances were always first and foremost. So for the record, once and for all, don't ever ask me if I regret my decision to choose adoption, because I don't. It was my only option.
The viewpoint that changes from day to day is on whether I regret my decision to place with L & M. In the beginning, I thought that they were perfect. Perfect to raise this child, perfect to build a life and relationship, perfect in every way. Then, as the newness of the adoption wore off, and the overwhelming grief set in, they became an easy target for my rage and hatred. As the blog grows, and the distance between us grows, they become more and more in my mind as the giant "supervillians". Baby snatchers. Liars. On and on. But the truth of the matter (and what the time away from the Adoption world allowed me to realize) is that no matter who they are, what they have done, or what I think, they are still Lauren's parents. And like me, they are human beings. And I need to maintain a certain level of respect for that. I won't make excuses for their mistakes. I don't want them to make excuses for mine. I won't say that they have been as caring as I would like them to have been. I know that they are no more perfect than I am. And because of that, I have spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not I would choose them again. The questions all start with "If you had it to do over again..." or "If you knew then what you know now..." and the reality is that I don't. I didn't. No one does. No one can. And regret is an ugly thing, especially when based around something so beautiful.
IF I could go back in time, and do this whole thing over again...this is what I would do. I would have educated myself. I would have educated them. We would have learned together. I would have known what THEIR intentions were. I would have figured out if they wanted an open adoption or a closed one. I think a lot of times hopeful adoptive parent's promise the world to birthmoms in order to complete their own. I think that many "over promise" and under deliver. L & M told me many times that they "were fine" with me wanting a closed adoption vs an open one, when it seems to me it should be the other way around. I wonder if they were disappointed that I didn't want an open one originally, or if their first thought was, "FANTASTIC! Hang on to this one." There is no way to know. I do know one thing though...I loved them. I loved them heart and soul, with every fiber in my being, and I wanted them to love me too. And I miss that feeling. It's like a bad divorce....you have years of good times, and then it all goes south. Except I only had a few months of good, and now an unknown amount of bad times. I want an open adoption. I want to be part of their lives. I want to know that they love her and I want to see it. I want them to be secure enough in their roles as parents to let me be around them. I want to sleep well at night knowing that I made the right decision. I want to be able to live my life without every song, movie and book reminding me of what has happened. And knowing what I know now...if they truly wanted me to disappear, and not be a part of their lives, then I would have chosen differently. There are many healthy, productive open adoptions out there. I wish I had known about them when I was making my adoption plan. If I had, I would have insisted on nothing less, and if L & M were not on board, then no amount of love for them would have made them the right choice for me.
I still haven't given up hope. They are good people at their cores, and something could change any minute. I would like to believe that it is just a lack of "not knowing" what open adoption can be. A very dear friend of mine sent me an email today, intended for them, about her open adoption. It brought tears to my eyes, and comfort to my soul. I will be sending it to them in the morning, and seeing if it helps. If it does, then I am beyond grateful to her for her kind thoughts and the sharing of her story to them. And if it doesn't, I will still be grateful to her, and a lot more in tune with who they really are.
Personally, I am hoping my first impression of them was right and that the pictures will start flooding in. :)