We met with our birthmother recently. This was not our first visit together, it was actually our second. This is a significant event in our adoption story, and the fact that you did not hear about the first visit was significant as well.
I’ve thought often about how to write about our birthparents in this blog. They are important to our story, but I rarely mention them. It may seem that I ignore them, but the reality is that I don’t want to cross any boundaries. Their story is their own, and maybe they don’t want the details of their difficult decision broadcast to the world, so I will talk about them today without divulging too much.
Let me go back to our first visit. It was about 3 months after Eva’s birth. Our agreement is set up for two visits a year, so 6 months is the logical time between, but we felt that would be too long. We met at a restaurant one Saturday lunch. She brought Eva’s sister, and was there when we arrived.
This was our first visit since the hospital, and it was awkward. Let’s address the first thing, which you might have noticed in the previous paragraph. Birthfather was not there. They had broken up in the time between the hospital and then. He was invited, but did not come.
We didn’t know what to expect from her. Would she be sad? Would she be happy? Had she changed her mind on how she felt about us? How would we feel? This was our first meeting when she wasn’t carrying Eva. What is our relationship? It’s like when you get married. When I got married, I had a new brother and two new parents. That relationship didn’t just materialize with the wedding, but had to be cultivated over time.
We met, and birthmother held Eva. Her sister wanted to play with Eva, but she was still too young at that point. When I say play, I mean play with her like she would her doll. She wanted to hold her and change her clothes. For the past 3 months, Eva was an image and a story to her. She saw the picture that her mom had shown her, and the stories that mom would tell her, but she was not a living human to her yet. Just an image. Sure, she had seen and held her at the hospital, but that was months ago.
Birthmother looked to be doing well. She was happy to see us, and really happy to see Eva. There were things that made it awkward though. We originally scheduled for 11:30, she texted that morning to move it to 12:00, and texted again at 11:30 to say she was there. We showed up 20 minutes later, prepared for 12:00, but not 11:30. After holding Eva, she gave her back as soon as she started to fuss. Then, they had to leave because her sister’s food was at home.
I can’t tell you what she was feeling, but maybe it was harder than she had let on, which is understandable. It left us wondering how the relationship would be from then on.
Texting continued in the months afterward, so we were still in communication with her, and she seemed to be fine with everything. Perhaps we overreacted to the last meeting. In fact, as soon as summer approached, she was already talking about our next meeting.
Perhaps selfishly, we had planned on meeting with her after the finalization court date. She was really excited to see Eva again, and was pushing for June. Not pushy as in “or else”, but more in the sense of your parents asking when you’re coming back home. So, we agreed to meet in June.
We agreed to meet at a restaurant with a play area so that her sister would have a place to play when we were talking (ah, so boring!). Birthmother told us that she was bringing her new boyfriend for the visit. I didn’t know what to think of it. Sure, he was probably nice, but would it be awkward?
We arrived a little before they did, so we ordered drinks and waited. They arrived not too much later, and sat down. Her sister was immediately torn between seeing Eva and playing in that play area. Ah, to be two again, when everything was exciting.
Birthmother looked good, and we asked how things were going. Things are going really well for her. She has a job, and has already been promoted. She has a steady boyfriend, and has reestablished relations with some of her family. She has shed the drags on her life, and now things are looking up.
She was extremely happy to see Eva, and held her as much as she could. Eva, who had recently been cold to strangers, warmed up to her almost immediately. There was much joy in that room.
She tells us that she loves the pictures we send, and has many of them up at work with pictures of Eva’s sister. She’s never been shy about the adoption, and seems to be open with it at work as well.
One of the secret fears of an adoptive parent, and this sounds absolutely horrible, is that birthparents get their lives together. One couple in our classes admitted this, that they worried that their birthmother would clean herself up and want her child back. Many birthparents choose adoption because of the circumstances in their lives.
We are incredibly blessed. She made the adoption commitment, and (at least to us) she has never wavered. She’s always acknowledged us as Eva’s parents, and that hasn’t changed yet.
With such a wonderful birthmother, it is vitally important that we keep up our end of the bargain. We must never let Eva forget her birthparents, and the sacrifice that they made. We must continue to send pictures, and to keep meeting with her. We must be wonderful parents for Eva.
After a quick couple of hours, we said goodbye to Eva’s sister, her birthmother and her boyfriend (who was very nice, and is very good with both of them). Six months in, and our relationship is strong with birthmother. Let’s hope that continues.