The last time we saw each other it was in the hospital and I was only a few days old. I have tried to imagine for years what you might have thought during those last moments together. I tried to imagine what you were feeling right before my adoption.
As a kid, I couldn’t imagine that you loved me though. I thought, “how could you love me if you were willing to let me go?” I focused so much on what you didn’t do. I thought you didn’t want me. I thought you didn’t keep me. I thought you didn’t love me.
Fast forward 33 years and I finally understand.
(SN: Now, let me be clear, this warped perspective of my birth mom does not mean I’m not EXTREMELY THANKFUL for my family. My parents have poured so much into me I can’t imagine my life without them. My misunderstanding of my birth mom and my love and gratitude of my parents are two separate, uncorrelated things.)
I don’t mean it took me this long to understand what actually happened for you to decide to put me up for adoption. That’s something I actually came to terms with as an adolescent. In my late teens and early twenties (about your age when we last saw each other, I guess) I accepted how difficult it was for you to make such a life-changing decision. I can’t imagine the struggle it must have been for you as a freshman in college to find out you were pregnant. Based on some simple math, my June due date lets me know it was probably your first or second month away from home when I was first conceived. (That was some heavy S#!t for you to handle!)
What I do mean, is that I have learned to shift my focus from what you didn’t do to what you did do; and I’m humbly floored by the magnitude of your choices.
My conception obviously wasn’t planned. And you were obviously scared, because the story goes that you didn’t even go home on school breaks to avoid telling your parents.
As a college student filled with hopes and dreams, your world was rocked with the surprise that you were pregnant. And despite the uncertainty, the fear, and probably social disassociation, you chose love. You chose to nurture me to life. Despite potential family and social persecution, you did it anyway.
I’ve come to realize how difficult that decision must have been for you. It was the early eighties; my biological father was of a different race and allegedly not in the picture. It doesn’t sound like a serious relationship or even a love story. I could have been the result of a one-night stand. And you carried the burden of that consequence for the next 9 months, or (emotionally) even longer. Why would you endure that if you didn’t have to? But you made the decision to give me a chance at life, when it was probably so much easier not to. You did that. “Why?” I would think, “Why me, to only give me away?” But you did it anyway.
This year God has blessed me with my own seed. And now that I’m pregnant expecting my first child I have learned things through this experience that no other explanation about you could teach me.
When my husband and I first found out I was pregnant we were ecstatic! We ran around our house screaming like we won the lottery. And even though this was something that we were planning for and praying for, after a few moments of joy, a twinge of fear came over me as realty crept in.
“Holy crap! I’m pregnant! And now I have a baby that I’m responsible for!”
Now of course, there are still nerves throughout this journey but it’s undoubtedly one of joy. I wanted this. I have someone to share the journey with. Our parents are thrilled about this new grandbaby. I have a whole village of people around me who are excited in anticipation of my baby. (Which is completely humbling for me, by the way).
And you, you had no one…No one to throw you a party. No one to scream at excitement and jump around with your news. No one to oogle over little baby onesies and think of names with you. You had to take on the pregnancy journey, with all of its highs and lows, completely alone. And yet still you chose to give me life. Twice.
I now believe that giving me life wasn’t your hardest decision but giving me up for adoption must have been. And you did it anyway.
Now my faith leads me to believe that you weren’t completely alone. I believe God must have sent some angels to you to encourage you. God kept you during your most difficult moments. When you wondered if you could do it, God must have touched you to let you know that you could. His Word says, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
I believe that God gave you strength in a way I couldn’t possibly understand, until now. I truly believe His Word that says, He ” created my inmost being, (He) knit me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139:13
I believe that with all my heart, because now I understand the absolute miracle that is pregnancy. It is uncomfortable, tiring, at times nauseating. And the heartburn!? Unfathomable! And yet magically, it’s amazing at the same time.
It was at my 16 week appointment, in fact, that confirmed this for me. The doctor was just doing a routine check of my baby’s heartbeat when I felt something like a fish doing flips in my belly. I’ll never-ever- forget that moment when I could actually FEEL the life inside of me. The connection I felt to what was once a “dancing bear on a screen” was now “my baby”.
Birth mom, was that the moment you chose to give me life? Is that the feeling that helped you fight through the adversity? Because as a mom, that moment thus far, is the most magical thing I have ever experienced. My baby has become real. My love for him deepens and everyday I’m reminded of the awesome gift I have, when he kicks my belly or rolls over after I eat. I feel such an intense love for something I haven’t even seen yet and my anticipation grows stronger every day.
Pregnancy has given me a new found respect and gratitude for you; but at the same time, a level of sadness too. I look forward to not just seeing my baby, but to holding my son. I’ll get to spend special moments bonding and feeding my son. I’ll take him on walks and give him baths. I’ll be able to cheer him on from the bleachers and watch him grow into an awesome young man of God.
But you didn’t have any of that to look forward to. You were going through all the struggles, highs and lows, again—by yourself—and knew you were forfeiting all of the memories that would be created.
Through the process of being pregnant, I’ve realized one of the most eye-opening things…You didn’t give me up because you didn’t love me, it’s because you loved me so much that you chose to give me a better a life. And my life has been great indeed.
As a child, I thought you didn’t love me and that’s why you chose to give me away. But God has allowed me to see that it is because you loved me, that you made the greatest sacrifice. That you did give me a better chance at life.
Wherever you are Birth Mom, I want you to know I think about you often. Especially now. Your sacrifice was worth it. And I now believe, you think of me just as often. With this pregnancy not only has God blessed me with a beautiful baby, He has blessed me with the gift of healing.
I look forward to the day I can share this with you in person and give you a glimpse of the life that you so richly, contributed to. Thank you for choosing to love me the way that you did and blessing me with the gift of adoption.
Do you have an adoption story? Have you met your biological parents? Are you a biological parent who gave their child up for adoption? I’d love to hear your story. Please feel free to comment below! Share this with others who you think can relate. And remember to subscribe!
Liz is a forever optimistic, creative, & intelligent woman. She credits her Christian faith for so much joy in her life. She loves her family and is excited about creating a family of her own with her husband (biological and otherwise). Liz is also a NY Giants fan and award winning ice-cream eating champion!