Tag Archives: how to move on

My Son Was Adopted…Now What?

15 Jan

After a baby is adopted, a birth mother doesn’t just go home and pick up where she left off. Everything is different then. Nothing is “normal” anymore. The bed where you slept so comfortably is now the place where you spent your first few minutes of labor. The porch where you like to sit on summer days is now the place where you took all of your maternity pictures. All of your Facebook friends with babies seem like they’re rubbing your face in their motherhood. The sun streaming in through the kitchen windows doesn’t make you smile anymore. Everything feels…off.

That’s how I felt. I felt like I was coming home, but I didn’t belong there anymore. I didn’t fit anymore. Everyone was going about their business but my entire perspective had shifted. My world was different from everybody else’s but I was still expected to live in their world with them. My sense of belonging wasn’t the same. I think that’s because I felt like I belonged with you.

After you went home with The B’s, I made a lot of changes. Not because I planned them, but because I realized I had to. I had to change. I had to do something. Anything to distract myself. Anything to keep moving forward, because if I didn’t, I might get stuck in that sad place forever.

Though I planned to keep living with my parents while I “recovered,” I moved onto campus. Since I lived with them while I was pregnant (my first semester at The University), I had yet to get involved in campus-type stuff. Suddenly I realized that I wanted that college experience (and I do mean suddenly). I decided that I wanted to be the college student that everyone else got to be. So that weekend (yes, that suddenly), I moved out of my parent’s three bedroom, two story house into a single room I shared with one girl and a bathroom that I shared with three.

I became a workaholic. I worked at a restaurant as a server at the time, and I dove into it. I picked up shifts, worked late even if I didn’t have to and went out after my shifts with my co-workers just to make it last longer.

I started running. I ran around campus, and once I discovered the university gym, I ran there. Sometimes, I kept a workout journal to log my miles. Sometimes, I just put on my running shoes and took off and didn’t bother to count.

I joined clubs and went to campus concerts and took up snowboarding (and fell down a lot) and signed up to go to Greece the following summer and declared my major and went on midnight trips to Cookout and basically said ‘yes’ to everything. Except drugs of course. Nancy Reagan need not be ashamed.

You know that saying, “You can sleep when you’re dead”? I took that saying to heart. If I was already in bed and someone called asking me to come out, I got up.

I don’t know if this sounds good or bad, but part of the reason why I became so “do or die” that year was because I figured since I gave you up — since I was going to have to live without you — I might as well live. I was going to live as fully as I could. I owed that to you, but I also owed to to me. I owed it to myself to live a wonderful life.

I hated missing you. It always hurt so bad and since I missed you everyday, I hurt everyday. So whenever I would miss you, I tried to think of how happy you were, growing up with your family. Then, I tried to think about me…I would think about me and how I could be happy too.

For quite a while, I felt guilty for giving you up. I felt like I was being selfish and that if I was less selfish, I would have given everything up to raise you myself. But even then — even thinking that — I still knew I loved you. I loved you so much. And the reason I could never bring myself to give everything up to keep you was because it still wouldn’t have been enough. It wouldn’t have been enough to give you the childhood I had, the life you deserved.

But placing you for adoption didn’t give me “freedom.” It was a sacrifice. It hurt. And while the pain has lessened through the years and through my incredible relationship with The B’s (who I truly owe for taking that pain away), I still miss you. Every day.

But instead of hurting when I miss you, I can smile now.

I can smile because I have updated pictures. I can smile because I can think about how I saw you last weekend. I can smile because I can write to you. I can smile because somehow, missing you gave me new life. You went to a loving family to live a beautiful life and though I felt broken and left behind, I was able to put a new me back together. Someone you can be proud of; Someone who will be able to tell you amazing stories of her Grecian adventures or funny stories about her midnight Cookout runs with her dorm buddies.

And at the end of the day, I want to be able to tell you that all of those stories — of adventure or triumphs or just plain silliness — were thanks to you, and my desire to be someone you take pride in. I’m already proud of you. It’s only fair that it goes both ways :)

Recovery happens. Sadness ends. Time heals. Birth mothers get better and adoptive parents can help them. New life is created…in the form of you and, now, in the form of me. That’s why I have hope. That’s why I have never regretted my decision. Because you are happy — and because of that, so am I. We’re survivors, you and me, and we have our whole lives ahead of us to be incredible. I know you will be. So…now what? :)

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The Boyfriend, The Baby and Being In Love

8 Jan

Dear Little Man,

I got this picture during our giant family Thanksgiving get together a couple months ago. The Boyfriend was carrying you to the dirt flats (you can see them off to the left) and there was no way I was going to miss that. Dirt + Toddler = Super Cute (Messy) Photo Shoot.

It didn’t get too messy (aside from the one time you pitched a handful of dirt at me, and yes, I forgive you) but I can’t tell you how gooey and melty I get on the inside when I see you with The Boyfriend. I love how the two of you get along — you always have fun together and he always makes you smile.

You and The Boyfriend get along on that “boy level” that I — with my two X chromosomes — will never be able to understand intuitively. Playing in dirt? Not the first idea any girl is going to come up with when taking care of a toddler. But The Boyfriend? He just knows things like that. He knows what you’ll have fun doing and he doesn’t care if he’s going to get dirty (or soaked or cold or uncomfortable) in the process.

He is great with you. He makes time for you when you come into town and he always offers to drive with me when I mention going to visit you. If we have a road trip planned, he suggests swinging by to say hello to The B’s and he reads your letters whenever I write one. He cares about you, and for that, I love him even more that I already do.

Falling in love was always something to look forward to when I was younger. Then it was exciting when it first happened. Then it was devastating when it ended. Then it was a non-issue for a while. Then, after enough time, the hope sparked again and it started all over. None of us can give up for long.

The Boyfriend is the first man I have been in love with since your dad. I don’t take love lightly — I never have. It’s not a word I throw around. I don’t think it should be used when you want something from someone or when you’re simply having fun with someone. To me, loving someone means for better or for worse. It means no matter what. It means when you’re mad at me and when you’re more successful than me and when you disappoint me. It’s not “for now” or “until you make me angry.” It’s for good.

I’ve been called naïve for thinking of love that way. I’ve been proved naïve for thinking that way. Not because my thinking was faulty, but because I failed to realize that not everyone you fall in love with is going to see love the way you do. You may think it means “no matter what” but if they think if means “for now,” you’re out of luck. It was a clarification I failed to make the first time. And I don’t make the same mistakes twice.

I wasn’t looking for love when I found The Boyfriend. I’ve always been a very happy single woman — “looking for love” is not my thing. When I met The Boyfriend in our university library, he was just a new friend of a friend. I think I jokingly challenged him to a fight, though I forget why. But I like that it started out that way. I feel like the best love stories are always the unexpected, almost accidental kind.

Even after the L-word was said (and felt) I think it was a while before either of us let go of the fear and dared to believe it was true. I remember giving him my speech on what love meant to me. I told him what mistake I would never make again. I gave him the do-you-know-what-you’re-getting-yourself-into speech and the don’t-say-it-if-you-don’t-mean-it speech. As brave as I like to think I am, I was scared. I wrote this letter to you when I realized how fearful I really was of the L-word. But as the trust grew, the fear diminished. The feelings grew deeper and our relationship became stronger than any other one I’d ever had.

But most importantly, The Boyfriend is the first guy I have ever introduced to you. He is the first guy I ever brought over to meet The B’s. You and your family are the most important part of my life and though I am not raising you, who I bring into your life…well, they aren’t just “anybody.” Neither is The Boyfriend — he drove up to meet you on your second birthday.

In a few days, I will have been with The Boyfriend longer than I’ve ever been with anyone else. Our relationship is solid — “No matter what” is my saying with him, just like “You are not alone” is my saying with J. And we live by it, he and I. We love each other no matter how frustrated or aggravated or angry or sad or upset we make one another (which isn’t very often, don’t worry). Our friends and family think we’re nauseating because we’re so in love. One of the The Boyfriend’s brothers told me that we act like we’re still in our first week of dating. I don’t mind. I hope we’re still that nauseating years from now.

Out of the many, many reasons why I love The Boyfriend, the fact that he loves you ranks at the top. And oh, how I love him. For so many reasons, in so many different ways, for as long as I can…and he feels the same. It’s incredible. He makes me happy, and someday, I hope that will make you happy.

And just like Dirt + Toddler = Super Cute (Messy) Photo Shoot…

Your Love + The Boyfriend’s Love = The Luckiest Girl in the Whole World.

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