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Saturday, 16 July 2011

Thoughts of a birth mother

I was asked to write something on a Greek adoption group - as a birth mother looking for my son, the more I wrote I realised it deserved a post on my blog with a link on the group. So here goes and I will apologise if this is long and rambling.

Some twenty years ago, I lived in Greece and found myself pregnant, my circumstances was such that I could not keep my son, deep down I wanted to find a way to remain in Greece and raise him myself, but being a 21 year old foreigner in Greece made that impossible. So, I decided on the next best thing and that was to arrange for him to be adopted into Greek family. At the time, I was told that my son would always be told about me and I hoped that when he turned 18 he might even come looking for me.

Just after he turned 18, I came looking for him, because my life had changed and I wanted it to be easy for him to track me down. I managed to get hold of his parents address and wrote to them with my contact details, asking them to pass on these to my son when he was ready. Now, two years later I still have not heard anything from them, but I can understand their reluctance making contact with me.

You see, if I was in their shoes I might see myself as a threat to them, but far from it, you see in my eyes I'm just the "birth mother" not his mum, that is his adoptive mother. The last thing I want to do is to do anything to destroy my son’s relationship with his parents (his real parents).

The thing is, there is nothing more I want than having a relationship with my son and his parents, and for the record, I cannot thank them enough. From what I have learnt, they have raised a wonderful young man who they should be very proud of (from what I have learnt about him I am very PROUD of him). At the same time, if I found out that they had harmed him in anyway, my claws would be out – still I have no doubt that they raised him with loads of love and affection. My heart tells me that they have done a fantastic job in raising him – I have to admit better than I could have, if I had I kept him and gone back home.

Since then, I have lately learnt that there are so many angry birth mothers out in the world, they think that their babies were stolen, and that birth mothers like me, sorry I’m stealing another blogger’s term here, have allegedly drunk too much Cool Aid.

For me, placing my son for adoption was the right thing to do (for me at the time), I do think that adoption is a good option, but I believe in a fully open adoption (learnt by experience). Closed adoptions should only take place in extreme circumstances. However, had I know what I know today about adoption – would I have made the same choice? Personally, I think I would, under my circumstances back then it was the right choice, also it would have not allowed me to be the person I am today – even with knowing how much the adoption has affected me.

Lately, I came across a book called the Primal Wound – which I have mentioned here on the blog before – and yes, in my personal opinion this book should be obligatory reading for everyone affected by adoption. It is one thing that resonates with me... that is that the best thing for the child is that that all the parents have a solid good relationship with each other – they do not have to be best friends, but without animosity against each other and always acting in the child’s best interest (OK, the adoptee might no longer be a child) and it is not always possible. No, I’m not living in fairly land but even if I hated my sons parents (which I do not) I would like to think that they have his best interest at heart and we together we would look out for his best interest.
You know, adoptive mum and dad should respect the fact that the birth parents (where both are involved) are not the devil incarnate and that they gave them a Gift of a Life, and that the birth parents, especially the birth mother appreciating that (under most circumstances and I do not include the like of Angelina Jolie and Madonna here) the adoptive parents are providing their child with something they were unable to provide at the time.

I have heard about birth mothers who wants to meet the adoptive parents to tear their hair out for stealing their child – yes, a birth mother might have been pressured and not all adoptions are “clean”. But I can only speak from my own experience.

The American’s call it an Adoption triangle, but we often forget that the child does not have a choice at the time, so it cannot be a triangle, it is a linear connection between two group of people who will affect a third party forever.

Another thing I have learnt is that some children would have preferred staying with the birth parents no matter what hand life threw them. Herein lies my only problem with adoption, us parents (both birth and adoptive) wants the best for the child, but since none of us have access to an oracle we have to rely on what we think is right. As a Cool Aid birth mother, I know that at the time despite being told a few lies (by the doctor who facilitated the adoption) it was the right decision – the only person who can tell me otherwise is my son.

Has it affected my life, hell yes, there is not a waking moment I do not think about my son, whether he is happy, how his life is going, is there anything I can do for him. Most of all, what I want most in the world is to give him a big hug and say: “I’m sorry, I could not be there for you and I hope that you know I my decision was made because I love you and not because I did not want you”.

However, since my son turned 18 I decided to be open about the fact that I’m a birth mother, even total strangers know if adoption comes up in a conversation – you will be surprised how often, and you do know what... it was one of one of the best decisions I have made.

So now, I have no shame in proclaiming I’m a birth mother searching for my son, and one of the most powerful moments was when a young lady came up to and whispered “Thank you, you are the first person I can admit I’m a one [birth mother] to, and it is so nice that I finally have someone I will understand what I’m feeling”. For years, I did not have anyone to come to and ask questions about if my feelings were natural, aside from my lovely husband (no longer with us). Actually, I have him to thank for my current feeling about adoption. He forced me to name my son (I had avoided that one...I did not want remember at the time), he was the one who insisted that if we were ever to have children (we never had a chance to have one) they will know about their brother in Greece. My Cool Aid moment comes into play – for years I was in denial – but my husband did force it out of me – forced me to accept that in Greece there is a young man walking about, living his life (hopefully a happy one) because I made a decision which has affected (and in my case) four main players - my son, his parents and me. As my son is at university and in his last year – I will not make any contact before he graduates – I do not want to disrupt his schooling – but another thing I have learnt about adoption is that it is the “long con” sorry about the pun – but going back to my opinion that adoption should always be open. If it is not, it is a con – perpetrated by all parties involved, either intentionally or by circumstance.

So at the end of this long ramble, what can I tell you... no more than this... if you are a birth parent don’t stop searching and please do not doubt you decision – if it felt right at the time, it was the right decision. For you adoptees, please search out your birth parents and meet them once (at least). Your birth mother (and birth father) made a choice based on what they thought was the best for you at the time. After that, it is the adoptees choice, us parents (we do not have a choice on this... we made that choice long time ago – despite what we hope for). For your adoptees, I’m not saying this because what I want – you should realise what I want. You need to find out, for you medical history, your (sometimes) sense of belonging, for peace of mind. I know that, when my son finds out about me, he might not like me or want any contact with me – but at least twenty years down the line he will have a choice in wanting to know me or not without fear of me rejecting him.

PS. For those who wonder – yes his is MY SON – and his adoptive parents son – even my late husband son – who was not biologically his father but still his son – in my case his biological father will be hard to trace, but if he wants to find him, I will move heaven and hell to help my son to find him – even if he [the father] is the last person on the planet I would ever see again. My son has a lot for parents, but HE ALONE can decide who he wants in his life as his parents I cannot make that choice for him – and I’m not planning to make that choice for him, if he don’t want me in his life it is a decision I will respect.

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