Refinement: The improvement or clarification of something by the making of small changes.
After February 7, 2017, I had to refine my life. February 7 changed me because that was the day I became a mom, a birth mom to be specific. I’m not here to tell my story, but I’m here to tell you about my life a little over a year into this journey of open adoption. Being a birth mom is a lifelong commitment that you don’t really feel the gravity of at the beginning. I’m going to be vulnerable with you here, and tell you I didn’t realize the gravity of it until about six months in. I went to my son's finalization. I did this because I love him and I support him and his family, no matter how hard it may be for me. Personally, I would rather live through the pain and learn to deal with it than regret not being there. But that's just me. In my journey so far, I’ve learned a lot about myself, my emotions, and adoption.
Before I became a birth mom, I was 21 years old, doing whatever I wanted: working, going to school, going out, and just kind of rolling with the punches. I met a boy, started dating, and the rest is history. I ended up pregnant and not at all ready for the blessing of a baby. It didn’t take too long to come to the decision to place my son for adoption. That was one of the first selfless decisions I had ever made in my whole life. I didn’t know it yet, but that was one of the first lessons that I learned from adoption.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from adoption is grace. Giving and receiving it.
Things aren’t always going to go the way you plan them and you have to learn how to forgive. Before adoption, things always went just the way I planned them because I was able to control most things around me. Post-placement, I’ve learned to compromise and consider what's best for everyone in the triad. It's been a tough thing to learn, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. I've been able to take this lesson and apply it to situations in my everyday life as well. It's been a blessing because its really shaping me into the woman I want to be. Giving myself a little grace for not being exactly where I want to be in life, and knowing that I am so loved by my Heavenly Father and that I’m exactly where I need to be at this moment.
I've learned balance.
I don’t live two lives, everything just sort of intertwines. Adoption can start to consume you and sometimes it's too much. Sometimes I just want to shut off being a “birth mom” and just be me. I've learned how to turn it off for a day or two and just enjoy my life outside of being a birth mom! Some days it feels like being a birth mom is my whole identity but then, I step back and remind myself that its just a part of me and not all that I am. I am so much more than that! I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a lover of Jesus. Hopefully, a future social worker too!
I have felt some things that I never thought I’d feel about a decision that I willingly made. Its okay to be sad and feel heartbroken. My favorite verse is John 10:10:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
It speaks so true! The devil tries to make me feel that I made the wrong decision, and that I deserve to feel these things forever. Its simply not true. It's a reality of my grief though, and I'm allowed to feel this way. At the end of the day, I know why I made the choice to place, I know that it was the best choice for me.
After going through the nine months of carrying a baby, delivery, relinquishments of rights, placing, and then finalization, it would hard, no - impossible, not to come out of all of that unchanged. I know I came out better. My son changed me, my life, my perspective, my everything. This experience brought me back to my faith and helped me understand Jesus’ love for me. He saved me in every way that a person can be saved, and I'll never be able to thank him enough for that. Adoption is beautiful but it's also so hard. I had to find a new 'normal.' I had to learn to make adoption a part of my life, but not let it consume me. I view things in a different light; all the things that used to be important to me, just don’t anymore. I've found that my son and my new life has given me drive to pursue what sets my soul on fire.
In this new life, I'm traveling more, I've decided to change my major, and I'm pursuing my relationship with Jesus more than ever. One day, my son, will come to me and ask questions. I of course want to make him proud, but I also want to make myself proud. So, a year later, I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I used to be. I’ve grown and stretched further than I ever thought I could - physically, mentally and most important, spiritually. I had to refine my life, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Being a birth mom is one of the best things that could’ve happened to me.