Friday, June 11, 2010

Birth Parents

You know, one of these days I'm going to have to tell you about my son. He's hilarious. I mean really funny, and not just to his Poppa and me. Like, other people actually think he's funny, too. It's interesting because thinking about that, has gotten me thinking about the whole nature vs. nurture debate. I used to think who we become was at least 75% nurture. My kid has taught me (among many things) that it's got to be at least 50% nature, if not more. I mean, hubby and I have humorous moments. But this kid is just so funny. I know it's just what he brought to the table, nothing we've ever done. Sure, we laugh at the stuff he comes up with which encourages the funniness, but I have to believe he just was born with a funny bone. It's one of the many things I appreciate about him. It's one of the infinite things I appreciate about his birth parents.

I got a call on a Tuesday at about 11am from one of our social workers saying all our paperwork had been completed and we were "officially waiting". Less than an hour later the other social worker called and I thought, "well, hell. What do they need from us now?!". I was shocked when she said we'd been picked by birth parents who wanted to meet with us that weekend. When I called hubby, all I could get out was "baby, baby, BABY!!!", and I was crying. He said, "what?! That's not funny". He thought I was teasing and it took a few tries and some big breaths to calm down enough to explain everything the social worker had just told me.

We met with our son's first parents that Sunday, Superbowl Sunday; he was born the following Thursday. We had very little time to process what was happening, but throughout it all I remember being so appreciative of his birth family. I won't go into the details of their situation, because that is my son's information, his story to tell; it isn't my mine to share. But I will tell you how I feel about them, L and D, the woman who gave birth to our son, and the man who was first his father.

I am so thankful to them for choosing us to raise their child. I can't express the depth of my gratitude to L for allowing us to be present in the room when she gave birth. I felt protective of her when she wasn't treated well by the hospital staff. My heart broke when she held our son and said "goodbye" before leaving the hospital. I think about L and D and their other children daily, wondering how they are.

However, I am also angry with L and D. We were clear from the beginning that an open relationship with them was extremely important to us; they agreed, though were a little hesitant. We haven't seen them in over a year and I'm angry that we can't ask them specific health questions (there's a possibility that the kid may have asthma - it would be very helpful to know if there's any family history). Mostly I'm angry that our kid won't have access to them as he gets older.

I struggle with this for two reasons. First, I feel guilty for being angry with them when they gave us so much. Secondly because I want the best for them and recognize that the separation from us may well be what they needed to do in order to take care of themselves and their family. But it makes me really sad for my son. I want for him to be able to look at L and D's children himself and see how much he looks like them. I want for him to be able to ask them "why?" and for them to answer in whatever way they can. I wonder if this, too, is why they've disappeared - they don't know how, or just don't want to answer this question. I'm sad that we may never know. I'm sad that I never thought to ask them myself when I had the opportunity.

Today's lesson I learned I don't know when exactly, though somewhere along our adoption journey. Birth parents are generally not teenage girls "in trouble". More often they're in their 20's or even 30's and just aren't in a position to parent this child. Birth parents don't "give up" their babies; they make adoption plans. They are still parents, whether or not they're actively parenting their children. They are not saints, nor are they horrible; they're people, doing the best they can in the circumstances in which they find themselves. I am grateful beyond belief for the choice my son's birth parents made and I hope that they know how much our son is loved. I pray, too, that they are at peace with their decision.

No comments: