Wednesday, December 24, 2014

THEY adopted ME

I placed a baby boy for adoption in May of 1996, at the age of 18. I selected my son's family from paper profiles and met with them in person once, about a week before he was born. An hour and a half was miraculously enough to know with a surety that hey were good people, that they were my son's family, and I loved them instantly. We were not allowed to exchange names or any other identifying information. Very limited correspondence was facilitated by the agency for 5 yrs. I lived from one letter to the next. They were so full of genuine generosity. I was always so surprised at their outpouring of gratitude. I owed THEM the thanks! They knew me for the best thing I'd ever done and they saw me only as good. 
After correspondence was discontinued per agency policy, I began to have nightmares. The setting and circumstance varied but always, our paths would cross and they wouldn't want me. I was a threat or a nuisance. I knew it went against everything I knew of them yet I was haunted.
When the boy was 15 and a half, after having searched for years, I found contact information. I determined to write his parents. I'd tell them that while I missed them all terribly, my greatest concern was still for what was best for our boy, that as his parents, they knew what that was and that I trusted them. That I wished only to make myself available and be a resource if, when, and to whatever degree they felt best. That while I'd be disappointed if it were a no, I wouldn't be offended, that I was ever loyal to them. 
But my fear paralyzed me. Though I thought of it everyday, I waited over a year to act.
His dad's reply had me KICKING myself for letting fear drive! He said how good it was to hear from me, gave me a brief update, and asked why didn't I just go head and contact the boy directly? "I'm sure he'd love it". Fear is a thief.
I was again afraid, but this time only let it take 3 weeks from us. In our first conversation, I felt I was talking to an old friend. he said to me "Thank you for what you did for me. It was such a generous choice"! 
We kept up with each other pretty well. I wanted so badly to see them in person but didn't want to push. When, out of the blue, I was offered an amazing job in CA an hour and a half away from them, they said that of course I had to come over and even insisted it be on his 18th birthday about a week after moving! This was my dream come true and my prayer answered! So WHY was I terrified?! I prayed for courage and put myself on autopilot. His father opened the door, there was my old friend. I was immediately at ease. The boy came down the stairs and and said hello like it was the most natural thing in the world. We hugged and joked and I totally held it together. Then his dear mother, suffering physical and cognitive affects from a stroke 12 years earlier, made her way around the corner. I. LOST IT. I trembled, uncontrollably, from my head to my feet-shaking- like my legs would give out underneath me. I wept as she held and kissed me just as I always imagined she would. "Debbie, I'm shaking" I said. She pulled back for a moment and said "don't be scared Tamra, you did the right thing." All these years I'd longed to thank her and she had been waiting to comfort and reassure. 
The next time I came to visit, I asked the boy's dad "People keep asking me if y'all feel threatened, insecure, or displaced at all. If ever you do, please let me know, I never want that." He sighed and almost rolled his eyes, "don't you know by now that you are family. You were never far from us. The door is always open, you don't hafta call."
On our next visit, much of my family were in town and so we all got together for a picnic. Debbie wasn't able to sit on the ground with the rest of us. I got up and sat next to her. She hugged and kissed me and said "Thank you so much for giving him to me".
"Oh Debbie, he was yours".
"But he's yours too. We'll share him in heaven".
I thought my heart would explode. The words of love and inclusion from those 3 have been the sweetest I've ever heard. They have healed my heart. 

I work in the field of post-adoption search and reunion, I have seen too many stories go so very and tragically differently than ours. While more are positive than not, I have certainly seen many parents who could not embrace their child's birthmom. I imagine that the boy's parents have had some of those same feelings of fear and maybe even jealousy. While they had had his whole life, all of his firsts, things I would never have- he had my biology, something they'd never been able to give a child. They could have been insecure about their imperfections and difficulties and hid from me. But if they have grappled with these things, they've won the struggle, or set it aside enough that there is room for me.
I will never know the words, until the other side, to say what their love has been for me. They didn't have to do any of it and nobody would have faulted them. It may have been easier for them to forget me and pretend they were no different than all of the other families. they could have spoken ill of me or not have spoken of me at all. they could have allowed the boy to know me but declined to be included, or to have ignored my petition all together. I THANK GOD AND I THANK THEM to the ends of the universe! If I couldn't give my love to them it would hurt so so very badly. We all grew our hearts for eachother! What's more family but a blessing?!
I didn't know if my heart would be whole again in this life. The missing piece is back and more layered on top! I hope that I can give that sort of selfless love and brave inclusion to others in my life. I am the luckiest girl!


  1. Tamra, you are an inspiration. I love your story.

  2. "We all grew our hearts for each other. What's more family but a blessing?" I love that. Isn't this what's at the core of exercising humanity? And--I love everything you've taught me about having more humanity.

  3. Tamra, I'm so happy to hear how your story is going! I very often forget my children's birth-families in the daily grind and I so appreciate your reminder that my babies aren't just mine. I'm so glad you've gotten to reconnect with your adoptive family! Best to you always!

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