You didn’t “give him up for adoption”; he was taken from you by child protective services. You had a chance to get him back, but you couldn’t seem to do what it would take to get to keep him, so you lost him like you lost five other siblings of my son at an earlier time.
Yet, I know you loved him. You were so abused yourself in your youth, and when you grew up, the things that you suffered as a child caused you to make poor choices in your adult life. You never have seemed to be able to make a go of much of anything.
I only saw you with my son once. You did act like a loving mother that day, you held him, smiled and cooed at him, and seemed entirely comfortable. I felt bad for you when we told you it was time to leave, and you dropped your head on his chest and rocked him frantically. But after we had left the building, and were driving away, I turned and looked at you through the glass window, and you were cleaning up party supplies like nothing had happened. I wondered about that. Was that your way of dealing with having to turn your baby over yet again? Cleaning up, trying to put order into what had to be the chaos of your thoughts, as we walked out the door with your child? I don't know how you bore it. I felt bad as we drove away, leaving you there.
Finally, your rights were terminated. After that, I thought he would easily become my son, since his social worker, attorney and CASA worker had chosen us as his adoptive family. But there was one worker who was determined to place him with another family simply because they had adopted his handicapped brother a few years before, even though they had turned him down twice already. I guess I knew a little bit of how you felt during that time: this worker had a lot of power, and she could have taken him from me. It could only have been God that day when the judge overruled and awarded him to us. But I remember thinking, often, I could have stood it if I had lost him because he went back to you, his birth mother, but I didn’t know if I could stand losing him to another adoptive family, especially one who was only taking him because they had been “talked into it” and not because they loved him.
So now that he is my son, and has been for four years, you rarely come to my mind. When you do, it surprises me, because I feel such a bond with you. Today, for example…
Today, my son was playing with his sister. They had been building a house, they said. Just after lunch, though, I heard screaming. Before I could get to the door, my son came in with blood all over his face. His sister was right behind him, screaming as loud as he was, just as thoroughly frightened as I was. I rushed over and pulled his hand off his face, and one look at the gash on his head told me we were in for a trip to the emergency room. As I tried to get us out the door, his sister explained what happened: he had told her to watch him skate board, and took a flying leap on one of the boards, catching just the end with his feet. The board flipped into the air, and came down on his little forehead, gashing it open.
I finally got us out the door, strapped him into his car seat, and we were off. I kept looking over my shoulder at him, because once he had calmed down a bit; he began to fall asleep, which almost worried me more than his screams. I prayed as I drove, and once, as I looked back at his little face, I suddenly thought of you.
“Somewhere, his birth mother is out there, and she doesn’t know I’m rushing our son to the hospital.” I don’t know exactly why the thought bothered me so much. Except that I do…I’m a biological mother as well as an adoptive mother. How can a mother’s bond ever really be broken? Do you think of him often? Do you cry for him sometimes? You’ve lost so many children, but still, it couldn’t be something you don’t think about! I know you have had another child since he became my son, but she didn’t replace him, did she?
He has the world’s most wonderful smile, everyone says so. It absolutely melts my heart. Where did he get that? He has the sweetest spirit a child was ever born with. I got to know two other of your children a long time ago, and one of them had the same spirit. Is that hereditary?
I am so grateful he’s my son. But sometimes, some days, like today, I think about what you lost. I’ve spent time trying to figure out how I feel should feel about all that. And the only conclusion I can come too is that it wasn’t my fault in any way he was lost to you, that someone needed to raise him when you couldn’t, and I was the very blessed lady who was entrusted with that task.
I held him in the hospital today, and we watched people’s shoes under the curtain and laughed about how different they all were, especially the very shiny shoes we saw – those were our favorite! After yet one more person came in and tried to get him to answer questions, which he was very reluctant to do, he curled up in my arms and begged me to answer the questions for him so he wouldn’t have to talk. He’s not much of a talker, but I guess you couldn’t know that. His face is so expressional; he usually doesn’t need to talk. I decided it was a teachable moment, so I explained that he didn’t have to make a lot of conversation with these doctors and nurses that were in and out, but he needed to just simply answer whatever question they were asking him. It wouldn’t be scary, I told him. Just answer their questions, and yes, he needed to do that. Then I watched, as he did it, and did just fine.
His forehead was stitched up, and he is going to be alright. The doctor says there will be a scar, but it will blend in with the other lines in his forehead. I’m sure my thoughts of you today will fade into the background again as life gets busy and I continue to raise this wonderful little boy along with the rest of the children in our large family. But today, while I’m thinking about you, I just want to purpose again in my heart to raise our son the best I can. Someday, maybe the two of you will be reunited. That’s okay with me if that happens, the lady who gave him life IS important. And when that day comes, I want us both to be proud of the wonderful man he turned out to be.
He’s such a wonderful blessing!