The Adoption Option: One Mom's Decision to Give Up Her Baby
- Friday, February 13, 2009
Editor's Note: In February, blogger Jamey Stegmaier wrote an article for Crosswalk describing his experiences growing up as an adopted child. After a reunion with his biological mother via telephone, Jamey's birthmother, Laurel*, shares her side of the adoption experience with Crosswalk. Click here to read Jamey's story.
The room is dark and quiet, foreboding in a way. The curtains are drawn. I wanted to be alone, to think and to mourn. I didn’t want friends visiting or calling me. Though they meant well and said kind things and brought me simple gifts, for now I just wanted to be alone.
For the last 9 months it’s just been you and me. Us. I was not ever alone. No one really understood how much that time meant to me. I would often stay at home, my feet resting on the small footstool a friend had made for me, listening to music, rocking in my chair, hoping I would always remember the feelings, the thoughts, the time I got to spend with you.
Everything else would be gone. But no one could ever take away the memories, the feelings, the closeness I had with you, the love I would forever hold for you, the moments of time – however short – I had with you.
And yet you were invisible. Just traces of kicks and bumps and wrestling (or so it seemed). And smiles you brought to my face every time I remembered you were there with me.
Nothing but silence and quiet. But I knew in my heart I was doing the right thing. I knew from the moment I left the doctor’s office, grinning in the summer sun, that this was meant to be the answer, the conclusion, the final chapter. I was to come full circle. And the circle would close with my signature – a written confirmation that (for now) we would be going in two different directions. The silence and quiet would become my comfort, my down blanket on this cold winter day.
I cried – no, I sobbed all morning and then my parents came to take me home. I was 26 years old — independent, confident, headstrong. The sorrow and sense of loss was overwhelming. I left the apartment as “us,” but I returned alone. I climbed the stairs slowly, carefully, remembering that the last time I climbed them I had to stop and sit and breathe because you were preparing me for your birth. And now in silence I was back home.
My rule was that you had to leave the hospital the same day I did. My rule was that you would not ever, ever be alone in that hospital, that your Parents would take you to your home the same day I went home. We would be apart, no longer conjoined. To live in two different worlds. A celebration of life and love and family in one home. A sense of dread and mourning and the most profound sense of alone-ness I have ever felt in another. I asked God for Patience and Hope and Peace.
In December I had written a letter in the quiet of my bedroom when you were still with me and in the words made it clear – so very clear – that I loved you. I was educated, employed and content, but not married. And that was what I wanted for you, my child; I wanted you to have a Mother and a Father and that was the one single thing I could not give you. I loved you with all my heart, loved my quiet, peaceful time, loved to imagine that your world would be everything I wanted it to be for you. And wondered if I would ever know how you turned out. I needed Patience and Hope.
The first months were awful. I thought about you constantly, albeit knowing I made the right decision for you, knowing in my heart that you were okay. Knowing I was definitely NOT okay. The first Mother’s Day was terrible - how could I be a Mother with no child in my arms? And yet I knew I had done the right thing – for you. Patience.
Coming Full Circle
I was adopted when I was ten weeks old. My parents were a wonderful, loving couple who had tried to have children for years and were in their mid-30’s when they were lucky enough to find me. Conditioned not to cry by the nuns in the Foundling Hospital so I wouldn’t be much “trouble” to them, I was happy to be in the arms and hearts of parents who attended to my needs. I had a wonderful life, no siblings, but one set of grandparents and a great-uncle.
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