Friday, March 16, 2012

Whose baby is it?

This post is something I have wanted to write for a really long time.  My lack of experience with situations made it impossible to do so.  HOWEVER a friend of mine has experience with this current topic.  Adoption is a beautifully bitter thing at times.  It can be heart breaking if it works and if it doesn't work.  I can only imagine the pain that hopeful adoptive couples must deal with after a failed placement.  


These are her words, said perfectly how I imagined they should be.

Before I knew that there was a possibility for our family to include, through adoption, a daughter, then a son, and another son, there were other women who knew these children and loved these children as much as I ever could. These women were these children’s FIRST mothers. These women knew and felt the life of their child growing inside of them before I ever knew that my potential children existed. Before I knew they existed, these women were thinking, praying, and loving their babies as they made the decision to give them life and did their best to make decisions about what their best life would look like. When I met each of these three women I felt a special connection to these women who were the first to mother and love these children. I was so honored when each of them selected us to parent their child and asked me to share motherhood with them. I had a very special relationship with each expectant mother and I along with each one of them felt “it was meant to be.” We talked about our similarities, our hopes and dreams for the baby, our love for each other, and how everything just seemed right.

Needless to say, we were crushed, as was our first expectant mother, when we discovered 3 months into the match that she could not live with us raising her daughter in our religion. I know she was as devastated as we were. We loved each other and she felt that the baby was ours, but no matter how she looked at it, she determined that we were no longer a match for her. It was shocking and it was difficult and no matter how much I had felt that the baby was mine, the fact of the matter was the baby was still hers and solely hers. No matter how devastated we were she deserved the respect that a mother deserves as she loves her child and tries to make the best decision for that baby. And because the baby was hers and solely hers, she deserved my continued love and respect. I was sad, but a never made or supported disparaging remarks about her. How could I? She had made a decision that she could live with. I learned that expectant mothers have to live with their choices and I wanted only to support choices that they could live with. I wanted our family to be a choice that they could live with. I also learned that while I wanted to be involved with expectant mothers throughout their pregnancies and I hoped for positive relationships, I knew that I could never forget that these babies were 100% theirs until they signed the papers. I also knew that I wanted the expectant mothers who would choose us to be 100% comfortable that we were the ones that they wanted to place their child with. That they wanted to be a part of our family as much as we wanted them to be a part of our family.

If they were not, I wanted them to be free to go find the match that was perfect for them.

I often think about that sweet little girl that I thought would be mine. I think of our connection and I miss her mother and I miss the fact that I didn’t get to know her. We met our next expectant mother soon after our first did not work out. There were so many similarities between us and I love her so much. We even have the same hands. Weird, right? I really wanted her to know everything about us, good and bad, so that she could make an informed decision that she could live with. I answered every hard question without sugar coating and in a very up front manner. She needed to know if we were what she wanted and hoped for herself and her child. We were so blessed when she decided that we were and shared motherhood with me. Then we were blessed to meet another woman 10 months after placement of our first son. She chose us as well. She is like a sister to me. Throughout her pregnancy, I reminded her whose baby it actually was so that she could make the best decision for her and her son.

We were so blessed that she shared motherhood with me as well. When the legal papers were signed terminating parental rights, most people assume that the baby became mine and my husband’s. When our adoptions finalize I suppose that legally they are ours and only ours. But adoption is much more than legality.

Remember these women loved their children as only a mother does before I knew they existed.  A mother’s love is what led them to the decision to give life, and to place their babies with us. A mother’s love NEVER ends just as my love for our beautiful sons will NEVER end. Without these wonderful women, I would never have even had a sliver of a chance to be a mother. Because of them I get to experience raising two amazing little boys. I love our sons with a love so intense that I didn’t even know it was possible and so do their first mothers. I want the best for my boys and so do their first mothers. I want my boys to have character and integrity and happiness and so do their first mothers. So while legally these beautiful babies are mine, I know that they will never be 100% mine and mine alone and I am more than okay with that. Not only do I have these beautiful boys in my life, I have their wonderful first families who I cannot imagine my life without. So, I guess the answer to whose baby is it is twofold. The baby belongs 100% to the expectant family until papers are signed. Forever after that, the baby belongs to both.

Thank you Cherlyn for sharing your insight with me and all my readers.  Please remember that if you are facing a failed placement your actions and words speak volumes of what you really believe adoption is.  No mother should ever be told by another woman that they are praying or hoping the child will be placed with them after having made the decision to parent.  It is harsh and cruel.


Anonymous said...

it's a hard choice all the way around and either way...guilt tripping, being mean, or anything along those lines is horrible. I would think any mom having to say I changed my mind would be feeling so much guilt, confusion, uncertainty, etc and wouldn't need any other comments :-( life is what it is and it's hard sometimes, being ungracious won't make anything better, ever. Letting things that you can't control go gracefully will work out much better for all in the end it seems to me. Not that you don't have emotions to work through, but those need to be expressed in the appropriate place and to the appropriate people..

Katelyn Krum Shaw said...

couldn't said it better myself. Thank you for your input anon

Anonymous said...

1st anonymous - those are the perfect words of how I feel right now. Perfect words. I don't think anyone has ever put into words they way I feel every morning.