Saturday, December 8, 2012

No One Right Answer

A friend recently told me about the episode of Private Practice that highlighted the subject of adoption. Watching it, I had flashbacks of our adoption and my heart broke as both the adoptive mom and birth mom struggled with their relationship and setting boundaries. It was heartbreaking to watch and at times is even more heartbreaking to live through it. I bonded with Emily's birth mother immediately. The first time I spoke with her was over the phone on our way to Ohio. Emily had just been born and she wanted to learn more about our family. We chatted and laughed like we'd known each other forever. The last time I saw her was the day we left the hospital. We hugged and promised to stay in touch. I cried. It was harder than I expected to leave her. I think about her often although I have not heard from her since. I've sent pictures but no response. Part of me didn't expect her to write back but part of me worries and wonders how she is doing. I think another tiny part of me wonders if we will ever hear from her. And after all that time of not talking, what will our relationship be like? Will we pick up where we left off? Will she still think she make the right decision? Will she be proud of Emily and happy about the life she's living with us? Until the day comes when we have those answers, I will continue to send pictures and write in the baby book she asked me to put together for her.

Earlier this week, I saw on the Today Show a story about two friends who met and found out they are actually brothers! Through a series of events, the two had been living with different families and connected at camp. In the story, one of the boys (12) did not know he wad adopted and when he asked his adopted mom, both broke down in tears. The adoptive mom shared she knew she had to tell him but didn't know when or how. When I first heard this story, I was so touched and so happy for both these boys! How cool to find out you have a brother and he's your best friend. My second thought was one of puzzlement. I wondered why the adoptive mom had not told her son the truth about his life. And to be honest, it was upsetting to me for him to find out this way. Even before we adopted Emily, I knew I wanted my child to know from the start that they were adopted. After meeting Emily's birth family, I wanted that even more. I want her to know about them and not live with unanswered questions or incorrect assumptions about them. I want her to be proud to be adopted because it's something that makes her special! We read adoption books to her now and when the time comes, we will talk about the family that brought her into the world, the family that she's a part of now and how extremely important are.

These two scenarios are not uncommon in the world of adoption. It's so easy to pick sides and decide who's right and who's wrong. But no one is right or wrong. How could you blame a woman who wants to be in the life of the child she gave birth to? And how could you fault the adoptive mom who's fearful of how that relationship will impact the one she has with her child?  Who's to say when or how parents should talk to their child about their adoption? There is no right or easy answer. We can't be so quick to judge when we hear these stories on tv or in real life. And for those of us living in these scenarios, we must go easy on ourselves. As long as we are doing what's in the best interest of our little one, we're doing just fine and we are going to be ok.