Updated: Dec 19, 2019
Adoption is one of those words that people associate with joy. They talk about the giving of life, the gift of family, the blessing. They don't talk about the ugly parts. The depressed, broken woman sitting in a waiting room of the women's clinic holding a pamphlet for adoption with her parents sitting on either side of her. They don't talk about the stacks of "prospective parents" that get shoved in your lap before you sit down in the social workers office. They don't talk about the grief. The horrifying, overwhelming, all consuming, undeniable (but deny it, deny it until you're dead damn it!) grief. I could write a book about the truths of adoption, but this part is just about telling my story, so I will save that for a later blog.
All I can say for sure is my whole world was falling apart. All the amazing plans that I had made (in my own power) to secure my happiness and make sure I would never again feel crippling loneliness were crashing down around me. I felt lonelier than ever. I was abandoned. I was being forced to make a decision I didn't want to make, but Ah! A light. A hope for the future I was envisioning. The social workers at the women's clinic. Certainly they would understand my coded messages. Certainly they would realize that even as I repeated the words I had been told to say, "I am considering adoption and would like some additional information", that what I was really saying was, "I want this baby, prayed for this baby, this baby is growing in my womb, my child, MY CHILD, and I want this child so desperately, please help me keep my child!". Unfortunately, I didn't know anything about "the adoption industry." I was naive to the world. I didn't realize that (at the time) the adoption industry was a $3 billion business. I didn't realize that my child had a dollar sign hanging above their head, and with those words it turned from a negative number into a number in the hundreds of thousands for this agency. I didn't know that those words "considering adoption" were flagged in this social workers employee manual and the resulting tidal wave was going to steam roll me into giving up my child for adoption, damn the consequences to me or anyone else. This is a hot topic and one that really deserves further exploration, so I will write about it in detail in a future post.
For now I will say that my life changed walking through those clinic doors that day. I was swept away into a blur of adoption jargon, potential birth parent profiles, and warring agencies fighting for the rights to adopt away my child (YES, this LITERALLY happened). My parents had never done anything like this and were clueless. They couldn't have stopped the steamroller if they had wanted to.
Ultimately my boyfriend, Dan (yes, my now husband of 10 years Dan), and I were able to choose a nice enough looking couple (from a photo book). They were Christians and seemed to share the values that I felt were most important. Dan (then 16 years old) appreciated the way the husband looked, he said he reminded him of Peter Griffin (which is what is important when you are 16 and deciding your child's future parents). As for me I appreciated their taste in travel, their appreciation for education, and their financial status seemed like they would provide this child with a life of luxury that he or she would not be getting from two unwed unholy sinner parents.
We were able to meet the parents in the person, once. They seemed nice enough. Everyone talked kindly. There was a lot of laughter (although looking back, I wasn't doing any of it). Some joking and talking fondly about baby showers and wondering what the gender is and (now this I remember vividly) at the news that I myself am a twin and it runs in our family "Oh! Maybe we will have twins! Wouldn't that be wonderful!". (Nausea) The whole thing makes me very angry looking back. To think that people could be so unsympathetic to a poor, sad, grieving, young girl whose world is being turned on it's head.
The agency made sure I understood just how important it was to respect their privacy. I wasn't to over step my bounds. I needed to respect that they would be this child's parents, not me. Of course I could do that, I was respectful. I was raised right. For all that could be said of me, no one could say that I was not a woman of my word! That said, the agency emphasized to me the importance of the contract we would be signing. All the terms in this contract would be met by Robert and Louanne (the potential adoptive parents). Promises were made, this child will have constant contact with you, you will be in their life. You will know them intimately and they will know you, you will be a cherished member of their family. You will receive regular updates from the family about the child including photos, videos, invitations to important events like graduations and minor events like birthdays and soccer games. You will be known by this child and loved by this child as if you were an aunt or a close family friend. HA! Now this is an important topic, so I will discuss it more in my future blog about the legality involved with adoptions, all I'm going to say about it right now is LIAR LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE! (but seriously, more later).
Promises made, hands shook, deals done, tears shed. The baby was born October 6th, and on October 9th, 2005 Robert and Louanne went home with a beautiful baby girl. The End
Lol, Just kidding.
The world really likes you to hear that side of the story huh, but they don't really like to talk about the other end of it. October 9th, 2005, Michelle and Dan went home to an empty house, broken dreams, and the deepest of depressions that I have ever felt in my life.
Ask my mother (I wish you would) about the days following me leaving the hospital. I doubt she remembers it. I imagine she blocked it from her memory because it was too painful to see her loved child suffering the way I did. As I sit here penning it, I can still hear the guttural sobs coming from my bedroom. The darkness of that room had no match to the darkness of my heart. I was broken, shattered beyond repair. I felt death creep over me. I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't drink. I had to have a c-section, and I wouldn't clean the wound, or care for myself in any way. I'm in tears now as I write about my poor broken 19 year old self. She didn't deserve that. I wish I could leap through time and scoop her up and comfort her, and let her know I know, I know because I was there once. I know because I was her once. I know the debilitating, unfathomable and indescribable pain and heartache she is feeling. I know because I was you once.
I stayed there. I lived there. I let that darkness consume my heart. Even as I write these words I feel that darkness coming back to me, like an old friend. She wants to hold me in comfort. I got very comfortable being sad. I got very comfortable being bitter. They say time heals all wounds. That's bullshit. When you are bound and determined to allow bitterness to swallow you up, time actually sinks you deeper into your despair. Bitterness became my friend. My parent's couldn't help me, they were the cause of the problem. And with that knowledge I gained an ounce of power over my parents. An ounce of power that I lorded over my parents for ten years from there. But that is another chapter, so I will end it here.