Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Grief Felt By Birthparents in Giving Children In Adoption

I've been thinking a lot about Solomon's birthparents lately...we do not yet know his situation and whether or not his parents are still living, nor the circumstances surrounding why he is available for adoption. Many birthparents in areas such as Ghana simply have too many children to provide for, and make the heart-wrenching decision to make one or more of their children available for adoption. What follows is an excerpt of a letter written by a birthmother that was in such a position. This was a piece included in the book 'Adoption Parenting' that we read as part of our training. It is very moving and offers a unique perpective that displays the grief felt by a mother in this type of situation:

One Birth Mother's Hopes & Fears by Piedad Yamille Agudelo Correa

Before I received the first letter with news of my child I asked myself many times what would be the life of my child. My maternal instinct told me that he was well; but the conscience accuses you and betrays you, causing you to think the worse. I thought of him and I cried for him during the two long years until I received the first letter from his parents, and to learn he did not suffer.

Many times I thought about what my son looked like, if he was healthy and happy....but God is good, He consoled me telling me that he was more than healthy and happy. He was blessed and protected by Him and I felt it. Yet I was also disturbed by my fears of thoughts that maybe he was not adopted and still at the orphanage...and never found a family, or brothers or sisters or parents to love him. I often wondered if he already knew he was adopted, would he want to know me or about me. I also worried that he would hate me and have a thousand questions about why I had to give him away. I worried about how I would answer those questions.

I think of my child often. I think of him at night, in the morning, and in the day. I will think of him during my tomorrows. In my prayers he is always with me and still more, when my other children cry or they laugh or they are happy. I think of what he might be doing at these moments and especially when his brother Andres Felipe does something good or bad; I wonder if Tristan carries himself the same way. Andres Felipe bears a striking resemblance to Tristan, for me they resemble each other a lot physically and in some things in their behavior.

Only once did I think of reclaiming my child. I would have reclaimed him if he were to stay in the orphanage. I went back to the orphanage. I was told that he was adopted and taken far away. Would I want to reclaim him today? To take him back, away from his family? No. I would never want to hurt my child nor his family.

What pains me in my soul is the pain of giving one child in adoption yet parenting other children. I feel sometimes that I do no have valid justification. I know a pain combined with a sense of peace and tranquility because it is so special a family that my son has, because they love him and give him a better life.

I often suffer guilt and remorse. I am alone to think that he is growing up and understands the situation. My hope is that my child understands. I did not receive any understanding or support from my family and I did not count on them when making the decision. I was alone and I know that my mom and siblings did not want a heavier load as more children for such a poor family and home. They questioned me a lot and they caused me a lot of suffering when I was pregnant again. I felt so much alone and my life changed a lot since the moment I decided to relinquish my child for adoption. I was no longer the happy girl and I cried my grief in silence and I still do.

After relinquishment I prayed so to hear the voice of God answering me that my child was well. My pregnancy and relinquishment was not a secret. My family was embarrased. They often spoke badly of me yet they also told me not to bring another child home to them. They asked me what I was to do with the child then did not support me.

I worried a lot about my child. I think all birthmother's do. I worried about the difficulties he might face. I worried that someone would make him suffer and maybe violate him the way some bad people do. I also worried that he would be killed and someone would steal his vital organs like it happens in many parts of the world. This practice can be found in the big cities and it is often mentioned on the news.

Sometimes people try to make me feel bad about my decision then I wonder if my child will love me or hate me. When I think of this and feel badly I wish I could speak my child's language, to be able to speak directly to him, look him in his eyes and really understand his feelings toward me. I want to understand his love or disaffection towards me. In my heart I know that I deserve the good and the bad. I am a realist.

The most difficult parts of the whole birthmother experience was to be pregnant at my house and to endure the fights with my mom, then the decision to give my child in adoption. The hardest by far was the third day after birth to have my child feed from my breast then sign the paperwork and to leave him there. I thought I would die. I so wanted to have him with me and my opponents impeded me.

More than 11 years after the adoption of my child my feelings are like that of any good mother, and I consider myself a good mother. I am full of love and have the best wishes and prayers for my son and my blessing and prayers are directed all to God, asking his protection and the guidance for the best road and that my son obtains everything that he desires in life. My hopes were that in time my child would be adopted by a good family that would give him a good education, to understand when he did a mischief, and did not mistreat him. I hoped they would give him medicine when he was sick, and a lot of love.

Today I feel very well, since I know that my son is with people that have truly accepted my child as their own and they give all the love that parents can give their children. I think that they are excellent people and of assurance my son will always be in good hands and he will be the same as born to them. For birthmothers who were young or single and can not have their children with them they can consider adoption. Adoption is a good option. Adoption is a better choice than abandonment or abortion. I want my boy to know that I love him and always wanted what was best for him and that is why I chose adoption and not to kill him in my womb to to throw him away. To me this is the decision of a good mother. I am here if and when he needs me. Your first mother will never forget you.

This was written by a birthmother from Columbia who has since been able to re-unite with her child for a visit.

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