I am joining in the Blog Carnival over at Grown in my Heart today by writing this post on what no one told me about adoption.
No one told me, or rather, I never fully understood that all the joy I am set to experience through this adoption comes solely from another woman’s loss.
Obviously yes, I knew this. How else would there be so many orphans worldwide if there weren’t also so many women who couldn’t (for a MYRIAD of reasons, many beyond their control) parent these children. But to really get it–deep in your bones, that doesn’t happen at the beginning of the process. It is a lot like being pregnant and taking childbirth classes. You hear about labor, your friends tell you a million horror stories, you know that it will hurt. You can read as many books and watch as many episodes of “A Baby Story” as you want, but you do not fully understand the pain of labor until you experience it.
When adopting, you are required to be educated on all sorts of topics, including loss. We’ve read books, taken even more classes than were required. I think I have been as prepared as possible regarding our son’s loss: his biological and foster family, his culture, his language, everything familiar to him. But it wasn’t until I saw his face that I knew it throughout my body: he is only my son because she could not be his mother.
When we were studying Matthew’s picture on the waiting child list and waiting to receive his referral paperwork, the cruelty of the situation really set in. I remember crying one night looking at his picture–this was right around his 2nd birthday. I was wondering aloud if maybe the adoption agency should try to find his mother and explain to her how healthy and wonderful he was. Maybe her situation had changed and she would be in a position to parent him. Suddenly everything was too real. I wanted to be so excited about our “gain”, but it was so tainted by her (and his) very real loss. All I wanted was what was best for him, and how could that NOT be being with his real mother?
I now realize that I am the only one coming out a true winner in this situation. I didn’t have to lose anything to gain my son.
Every year on his birthday as we plan parties and blow out candles, there will be a woman on the other side of the world who remembers the most beautiful and tragic day of her life.
As I walk around showing off his adorable pictures, there is a woman across the Earth who carries a memory of a newborn boy and wonders what he looks like today.
When people ask me how many children I have, I will proudly say, “Two!!”, but when people ask her this, will she pause as a dagger stabs her heart, unsure how to respond?
Yes, I wish I would have known, but then again, you can’t really KNOW until you are right in the middle of it.