It’s birth mother’s day today. It’s a day in adoption-land where everyone talks about and honors the birth parents who placed their children for adoption. Allow me a moment for that.
Joey’s birth mom is pure awesomeness. She is quirky, fun, and loving. We have a great relationship with her and her family. She did a good thing for Joey when she chose us 10 years ago. I like to think she did a good thing for herself too. I wish her that kind of happiness. I love her.
When she placed Joey, 2-days-old into our arms, I thought my heart would crack right in half for her. I think. I think it really did. Half my heart walked out with her and the other half held little Joey tight. I caught an unauthorized glimpse of her crumpling on the sidewalk as she left the building without him. I will always have that visceral, visual image of her pain and it will be with me to defend her if my guy ever spouts off any nonsense about how she didn’t love him.
Our experience with private adoption was sweet from the moment we were selected to today. Joey’s birth mom has been a wonderful, respectful addition to our lives and things have been smooth from the beginning. She healed. She has an amazing life with her husband, three beautiful boys, and a thriving photography business.
With our other little guy, there is no smoothness. We still love the birth parents. They did the very best they could and they love him. They did not, would not ever, choose us. They don’t understand why we are in their lives, their business. They suspect us of all manner of awfulness. No matter. We love and wish them happiness too.
Their pain is filled with suspicion, and yes, a bit of hatred, of us. That is hard. Still. We want goodness for them. They are at the mercy of something that is bigger than them and though it looks the opposite, this is how we help.
We love adoption-land and the birth mothers of our sons. But now I’m going to say a different thing, an unpopular thing. Sometimes, in adoption-land we put birth moms on pedestals. And on a pedestal is no place to be. Yes. They are amazing. And yes. Their sacrifice is big. Yes. They deserve a day too and we should say nice things on that day. But, let’s not go too far. People are imperfect and they do the best they can. No one can stand on a pedestal for long and the responsibility for the inevitable fall lies squarely with the one who put them up there in the first place.
We need each other: adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents. Let us be kind and loving without overlaying idealism, perfectionism, and misplaced worship. Perhaps I have gone too far but if you live in adoption-land, you know what I’m talking about. If we truly love and honor, let’s do it in a less damaging way, shall we?
Birth moms, just like mom moms choose what they think is best. That they ever choose adoption is a miracle. Their babies are a miracle and the whole experience is special and sacred. And that’s where the worship belongs – on the sacred, not on the people.
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