I really love hearing adoption stories from adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents. I love my own adoption story! Most of the stories I have heard from others, the placement occurred many years ago. Those stories are always, always stories of joy, love, and peace. Though I placed my son only just over a year and half ago, my adoption story is also one of joy, love, and peace. However, it was not always like that. The adoption process is emotionally frustrating for birth parents and adoptive parents alike. It is emotionally tumultuous and straining. It is challenging and heart-wrenching.
The moment I decided to place my son for adoption, I was relieved. Compared to the alternative I was considering, I felt like a weight had been lifted. Contrary to that, I was emotionally distraught. Physically, I could not eat anything. I could not sleep. In general, I was scared. On top of dealing with the normal physical and emotional changes that come with pregnancy, I was dealing with the fact that at the end of my pregnancy, I will not have a baby at home with me. I have two boys I get to call my own, so I knew what I would be missing. It is a difficult thing to feel a baby grow inside you, to feel him and to love him, and to know that you will not have him in your life in the way that you want.
The staff at Act of Love did everything they could to help prepare me for placement. They talked to me about the emotions I would feel after birth and what I would feel after signing papers to relinquish my rights. Truly, nothing can fully prepare a birth parent for that moment. It is a moment of momentous loss and tremendous heartache. It is pain that hurts your entire being. Leaving the hospital and going home without a baby really sucked. The first six months were the most difficult. During that time, my body was still adjusting to giving birth. Even with counseling and medication I was an emotional wreck. I cried every day. I hurt every day.
A year ago my adoption story was one of anger, resentment, and shame. I am not sure how many other birth parents felt that way in the beginning, but it seems that would be a logical reaction. The adoption specialists at Act of Love constantly told me that it gets better every day. It really did not feel like that the first six months. Eventually, it did start getting better day by day, little by little. Today, I can go a few weeks without crying. I can talk about my adoption journey without crying. When I think about my son and his family, I smile. There are still fluctuations in how I feel. I may go through periods where I cry every day for weeks. I may have a day every once in a while where I cry all day long. And that is okay. In some ways, the decision itself to place my son for adoption was easy. The follow through is much harder. Adoption is not easy. At first, it is ugly and terrible, but that does not last long at all. Those feelings of anger and shame go away. That feeling of loss may always be there, but it lessens over time. I am at peace with the decision I made to place my son for adoption.
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