The Mentor

10 Jan

Around the time you were born, I didn’t know any other birth mothers. The closest I had gotten to one was a friend who considered adoption, but then decided to parent. I still have yet to meet very many — I think I’ve only met three in my entire life.

But the first one I met — who I will very aptly name “The Mentor” — was such a huge help to me when I was going through my ten-day interim period, and in the many months after.

Ironically enough, we still have yet to physically “meet.” She was a college friend of one of my best friends, Miss Manhattan. Now, Miss Manhattan had told me about The Mentor and her story, but I had never thought to ask for her information. The Mentor had better foresight — she found me on Facebook and sent me a message a few days after you were born. Our relationship remains Facebook-based, but we follow each others lives (and sons!) like close friends would do.

The very first thing she ever told me was that I was a wonderful mother.

She went on to tell me her story about placing her son, and her feelings about her decision. She didn’t sugar coat anything but she wasn’t harsh either. She was honest. She told me about the days when you feel like you made the right choice and she told me about the days where you feel like you’re signing the papers and watching your son go home with someone else all over again. She was very open with me about her post-adoption experience (which was and continues to be a good one!).

We messaged back and forth a few times. I was able to relate to her in a way that I hadn’t been able to with anyone else. So much of what she said she went through was exactly what I was feeling at the time. She knew what it felt like to know you made the right choice, but to still feel broken over it. She knew what it was like to hate being away from your child but to find peace in knowing that he would know you some day. She knew about the sometimes awkward dichotomy of feeling like a mother but not feeling like a parent. It was so refreshing to know that I was not alone — a saying that J and I ended up building our relationship on.

Her son is almost three years older than you, so she had some comforting messages to relay — like how her son kissed and hugged and loved on her. She talked about when her son started to recognize her and how incredible that makes you feel to know that you are known. She said the older her son gets, the more he understands, and that is the way it would probably be with you too. So far, she’s right about that :)

We talked on and off over the next year or so, but whenever I had trouble adjusting to certain aspects of “adoptionhood” I would message her. I messaged her when you started calling J “mom” instead of me (definitely anticipated, but still a kicker at first). She told me how she got through that period and how she spent quality time with her son. She was able to relate, but she also gave me advice.

It was just so…wonderful to be able to tell someone about my conflicting feelings towards motherhood and have them say, “I know exactly what that is like and you’ll be okay.” Our adoptions were fairly similar, actually. Both of our adoptions were open and are with families who want us “up front and center,” as we called it. The B’s have always wanted me involved in your life (and theirs) and The Mentor’s adoptive family was no different. We both lucked out in that department.

But one thing I will always remember is that at the end of her very first e-mail to me, she told me this: “Just know you are not the only one, and know that I think you are an amazing and strong woman for your choice.”

It was that one line from The Mentor that partly inspired this blog. Though I mostly started it for you, so that someday you could know anything you wanted to about your adoption and growing up, I also started it because other birth mothers deserve to have a mentor too. Having someone to talk to — someone to truly relate to —  can make all the difference in the world for a birth mother.

Though I had many (many, many) supporters — The B’s being a huge one — The Mentor helped to pull me off of the ground and onto my own two feet after your adoption was finalized. She helped to feel not alone. Her help has been more than appreciated over the past couple years, though I don’t think I’ve ever told her enough.

And as I watch (ahem, Facebook stalk) her and her son, I see all of the beautiful things you and I have to look forward to.

It looks like fun :)

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4 Responses to “The Mentor”

  1. infertilityawakening January 10, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    And what a wise and wonderful mentor you are – to birthmothers and adoptive families!

  2. Instant Mama January 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    I’m so glad that you had someone who had been there. Thank you for this blog. I imagine it is very helpful to other mothers like yourself to see your story and to know they are not alone. But as a future adoptive mother I find your insights and story very helpful as well. Though adopting older children from foster care is very different from your story, I think that every mother whose children are being parented by someone else, at her core, can at least relate to some of what you say. I want to, as much as is safe or feasible, keep the lines of communication open. I do believe that normally this will be in the best interest of the child. So thanks again for sharing!

    • Letters to Little Man January 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

      Thank you! I’m definitely hoping to reach adoptive parents as well — in my experience, birth mothers can be a little “scary” to potential adoptive parents, so hopefully it’s nice for them to see where we’re coming from :) I love your stories too! Older kids need homes just as much as babies do!

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