If this post seems one-sided, it is. It is written from my perspective–just one of several perspectives in our adoption story. It’s important to me that I share only my story here on this blog. Johnny’s birthparents have their own perspective and their own story–and those stories are theirs to tell, not mine.
Johnny’s birthmother and I did speak together about his adoption last year at That’s What She Said. Our talk, “And Then We Were Mothers–From the Eyes of the Birthmother + Adoptive Mother” is available to view here.
. . .
I remember counting the mile markers on the way down to the hospital–chanting Hail Marys to myself under shallow breaths as we drove.
There was an infant car seat in the back of our SUV–its installation checked and double checked by a husband who had more faith than me. There were three bags at my feet–two packed with our clothes and a diaper bag packed with his.
I’d been so nervous to buy anything for him in the weeks leading up to his birth–just diapers and a can of formula. And a set of the tiniest newborn clothes.
The receipts for those purchases were tucked in my wallet, just in case.
My girlfriends had faith too. One gave us a set of receiving blankets. Another gave us a changing table, a swing and a bassinet. I remember texting them our garage code that day from the road.
That baby stuff needed to be gone–out of our house if we came home empty handed.
. . .
We drove home a few days later. I sat next to him in the back seat. I remember trying to straighten his head over and over again because I was worried he’d hurt his neck. But he kept insisting. I snapped this picture when we merged onto I-57.
He was wearing his tiny newborn clothes. And he was wrapped in his receiving blankets. And we were going home.
I took a deep breath–and exhaled. And I cried.
. . .
It’s hard to put into words the emotions an adoptive parent feels on the way home from the hospital. I’m sure it depends on the circumstances surrounding the birth and the agreed-upon adoption plan.
I remember feeling overwhelmed with responsibility. Responsibility to our son–but also to his birthparents. I knew an open-adoption could be hard–even in the best of circumstances. And I worried about maintaining a good relationship with them just as much as I worried about raising Johnny.
We’d promised regular correspondence and visits. But they had no way of knowing if we were being honest–if we’d actually keep in-touch. They had no way of knowing if we’d really keep our home–and our hearts–open to them after Johnny’s adoption was finalized.
Talk about faith. That kind of faith–the faith they had in us–brings me to tears.
. . .
Last week we made that old, familiar drive down for a visit with Johnny’s birthmother.
It’s been almost five years and I still struggle to breathe between those mile markers.
It’s an anxiety any adoptive mother knows before a visit with your child’s birthparents–an anxiety that probably stays with us forever.
What if they think I’m not doing it right. What if they think I’m not the mother I promised I’d be. What if I do or say something this visit that will make them regret choosing me. What if they can’t tell how much I love him.
What if they can’t tell how much I love them.
And then we get there–and it’s fine. It’s always fine.
They know I’m doing the best I can–and it’s plenty good enough. I am who I am and they don’t seem to mind. Ha.
I’m proud of Johnny’s birthparents–they’ve made it easy to maintain our open-adoption relationship. I’m proud of all of us.
And we all feel the love when we visit–especially Johnny.
I don’t now if we’re doing open-adoption right or wrong–or who’s to say either way. But I have faith in us–and there’s a lot of love here. And I’m learning sometimes a little faith–and a lot of love–is all you really need.