“Michelle, are you available today to assist a young woman with Birth Mom Support Services? She is at the hospital now and in active labor. She has been matched with a family through a mutual friend, but that happened very recently and they are coming from out of state. There is nobody with her at the hospital and other than some paperwork, she has not prepared for this adoption.” Everybody has a story that brings them to life changing events. I wondered what brought this young woman to this chapter of adoption in her life story.
The thought of somebody being alone, and in labor, grabs me every time. Of course, I can help. Who? When? Where? And so, off I went. A few hours later I arrive at the hospital and am greeted with a – “Michelle, is that you?” when I walked into her labor room. She expected me to be there, even though we had never even spoken. We immediately hugged and I sat on her bed, held her hand and placed my hand on her belly. This was just one of those situations where I knew that not only were my actions not presumptuous or weird, but they were welcome and comforting. She did not want to go through this by herself.
In the next several hours of her labor, I learned that she had lost her mother just three years prior. This was the first baby that she was having without her mom right there with her. I learned that she had a past that she did not seem ashamed of, but that she was not proud of either. She no longer wanted to be that person from her past. This was a new beginning for her and placing her baby for adoption not only blessed another family, it was in the best interest of her soon to be born baby AND the other children that she was working so hard to regain custody of.
It was a quick crash course of what brought her to this chapter of adoption in her life story. Because she had an epidural, she was able to share and I could, in turn, prepare her for some of the emotions she would be feeling after baby was born. She took it all in. She had not met Adoptive Parents in person yet, but felt like she knew them from the several weeks of contact they had shared. For the first six months of her pregnancy, she thought she might be able to parent her baby. As time went on, she realized that her goals of maintaining sobriety, gaining stability and earning the income that would help her to get her other children back would be difficult and unfair. She is a mom, with the hardest decision of her life to make. She chose adoption.
When she shared her plan of adoption with some of her friends, one responded with a cruel, “Not even a dog gives it’s babies away.” I just looked into her tear filled eyes and held her hand. Adoption is not giving your baby away. It is choosing stability and the legacy of family for your child, when you are not able to provide that. It is the greatest sacrifice of love and is one of the most responsible decisions that a mom in her circumstances can make. It takes the full force of a mother’s love. She is not weak or irresponsible. She is one of the strongest women I know.
Adoption is a defining moment in any Birth Mom’s life. It does not define her life. This chapter of adoption in her life story will be one that she can reflect upon in the future with peace, because that future peace is a continuation of the peace and confidence she has had. As she placed her baby with the family at the hospital, she shed tears. She explained that they were tears of relief and joy for her daughter. After we left the hospital, I took her to get lunch. She looked at me and said,
I have never felt better about anything that I have ever done in my life, than I feel right now.
She then asked me if I thought that was weird. No. Not weird at all. Others outside of the adoption world may not understand. They do not need to. Every Birth Mom has her own set of circumstances that she looks at realistically and logically in order to come to her own decision. Her life story has many chapters, this chapter of adoption happens to be a beautifully unselfish one.
From my heart and home to yours,
Every Birth Mom has her own set of circumstances that she looks at realistically and logically in order to come to her own decision. Her life story has many chapters, this chapter of adoption happens to be a beautifully unselfish one.
~ Michelle Dettman