Adoption by Robin Gorman Newman
My son has always known he’s adopted. Way before he was old enough to remotely comprehend, we advised him. We wanted to make it a non-issue.
We met him at the hospital on day three of his life, and he’s been with us ever since. It was a domestic adoption. We met the birthmother, but she would never reveal the birthfather. We took photos of her and video. We even went to the downtown area near where he was born, and shot video, so that one day, if/when the time came, we could make it available. He would know his place of birth.
Seth is 8, and over the years, we’ve read fiction picture books about adopted animals, etc. It’s never been a big deal. It’s just his story, and we shared the story of others. He never thought much of it.
I anticipated one day that he might show some curiosity, but in my mind, I couldn’t predict when that might be.
Last week was the time…out of the blue, as I was driving the car..to be exact…with him in the back seat. In between rounds of Pokemon on his Game Boy, he splurted out how he’s the only adopted kid on the school bus.
I asked how he knew?
He said the other kids were talking about it. That somehow it had come up.
It’s always been hard to get a straight answer out of him at times…so I didn’t quite comprehend how the subject of adoption was broached to begin with. Why would the kids initiate such a discussion? Were they all talking about where they were born?
Seth knows he came from Illinois.
So…before I had a car accident, due to the shock of the discussion, I pulled over and attempted to calmly share.
I asked if it bothered him that he was adopted?
He said no.
I explained that not all parents tell kids they’re adopted…for whatever reason. So, perhaps some of the kids actually are adopted and don’t know it.
He said..why wouldn’t they tell them? Because the parents think the kid might be sad?
I said that some parents might want to wait until a child is older to explain.
I asked are you sad?
He said, well it is kinda sad….to be given up.
I could see his point.
I said we met your birthmother. She was a nice lady, but couldn’t take care of you. She had three other children from another relationship, and couldn’t afford another child. She had no phone. No car. Barely a place to live. We had given her some money for expenses. She gave you up out of love. She wanted you to have a better life than what she could provide. She knew you deserved to live fully and was confident that your father and I would provide a loving, secure home.
We love you high as the sky, and always have.
I ran off a list of other adopted children we know…some of whom are friends of his…so that he could see he was in good company and perhaps didn’t realize it.
Then I asked, after taking a deep breath…would you like to meet your birthmother one day?
And, he said yes.
I know he doesn’t mean at this point in his life…but for the first time, it truly sunk in, that that day might come. For now, we don’t know where she is. It was not an open adoption. But, we remain in touch with the adoption agency and each year send photos there for her, but we’ve been advised that she hasn’t gotten them in recent years. They surmise she has moved and didn’t provide a forwarding address. Was it on purpose? Or was it an oversight on her part? We don’t know, but I do know that if we have to track her down one day, we will do our best to find her, if it’s important to Seth.
This discussion got me wondering what else Seth thinks about with regard to his becoming part of our family. For the moment, I felt badly. I didn’t want him to feel sad and unwanted. That was certainly far from the truth.
I told him that adoption is an act of love on the part of the family adopting and the birthmother giving of her child to strangers who she is trusting with her precious baby.
Perhaps some birthmothers don’t love their children? I do believe that Seth was loved by her, and from that love sprung what I’m sure was not an easy decision, but something that she deemed necessary.
I tried to explain that to Seth.
I think he got it.
Time will tell.
But, what I do know is that I couldn’t love him any more than I do. And, I hope he feels the same about us…and in my heart, I believe that to be true.