My mother was asked by someone fairly close to her, if she still thought about me after all this time. The title was the immediate answer. Stop and think about what that means to a mother. To me, it means that not only did she think about me, she would have wondered if I was okay, healthy, happy, sad, even if I was alive. I can only begin to imagine the level of pain she lived with, because without knowledge, I doubt that she would think only good thoughts, not have any worries about the life I was living, rather, they would include if I was living, what my new family was like, was I loved, was I okay. I compare her words with the length of time I thought of my son every single day – before I had days, and then, weeks go by without thinking about my son after he passed. That transition happened long before the first decade had passed and having lived through that, I can’t imagine the pain that stretched decades, day in, day out, no relief, no forgetting. It’s incomprehensible, and makes tears roll down my face just thinking about it.
That’s the ugly side of adoption. The grief, the loss, the never-ending pain. If her truth had been she thought of me from time to time, around my birthday, holidays, that would have been accepted by me without question or judgement, but because of their relationship, a relationship that allowed complete honesty, instead she said – every single day.
How can anyone expect the child, the adult adoptee in the center of that – to only see the positive side of adoption. To not want to see family preservation when possible? To not feel the pain? To not see how, to a greater or lesser degree, that pain extends to every member of the family; the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and the circle that spirals out to encompass the entire family, that lost one of their own.
Adoption has its place: to find a good home for a child who needs a home, but there is a price, and that price should never be levied unless it truly needs to be.
2020: To any adoptive parents reading this post, whether you have some version of an open adoption or even a closed adoption but you could make contact – please consider reaching out and letting your child’s or children’s parents by birth know all is well, that they are well. My heart hurts just thinking of all the parents by birth who don’t know if their child is healthy during this troubled time, please, if possible, keep them in the loop, make your relationship better, stronger, do it for your child, do it because it’s the right thing to do.