When the sun would shine, it felt like it wasn’t shining for me. It was shining for all the mothers who still held their babies. But I chose adoption, and it was something admirable to many, so I was told to pretend the sun was for me too. I was told that this was a good decision, the best decision under the circumstances. I wanted to remain hopeful that the grief I held would pass and the sun would shine brighter as the years went on, that my pain would become less and all would be as it should be. After all I made this choice, so regret definitely couldn’t be a part of the equation.
Just this month alone, I’ve spent several days with my daughter, holding her, and loving on her. I cannot imagine my life without her and her family. I love them, all of them. But not every day as a birth mom has consisted of the sun shining brightly, and not every day has been filled with complete contentment within the choice I made six years ago. I’ve struggled to understand how thoughts of questioning my decision can even exist when I am sitting here laughing with my dear friend and the amazing soul that we both call daughter. I struggle to feel guilt for questioning what is so good, something that I know is in fact a rarity. I recognize that my relationship with my daughter and her adoptive family is not the norm. We truly have something special.
So how can I regret any of it? Why should regrets be held within my mind at all? Why should I even talk about them now instead of dismissing them as if they are lies? Because there is a small voice inside of me that hasn’t gone away and it’s been saying that I am not the only one struggling through regrets within adoption and yet feeling shame for the presence of them. I’ve processed through my regrets surrounding adoption and I’ve learned that there is a difference between regretting choosing adoption and regretting the reality of adoption. One wishes I never chose adoption at all. The other doesn’t regret the decision but rather holds regrets connected to the depth and layers of what adoption holds. That might sound confusing so I will explain.
When I chose to move forward with placing my daughter for adoption, I knew it would be the hardest decision I had ever made. I also knew it was the right decision at the time. This is the beginning of the tension and weighted scales that exist within adoption. On one end, there is goodness. On the other end, there is pain. On one end, there is sorrow. On the other end, there is joy. Holding my newborn baby for the first time — so much joy. Placing my baby into the arms of another two days later — intense sorrow, the other side of the scale. And so it has been with my adoption story. I chose what I knew was good; what I felt was best. Now, I sit here six years later and I know for a fact there is goodness within my open adoption because I am living it out. We play together, read books together. We laugh. We hug. We cry. There is goodness and it is rich and deep and ever growing and even though what we have isn’t normal to others, it is our normal, and I wouldn’t trade it. We love hard, and we love well. We fight for what is best for the little soul that is at the core.
But there are still days when the rain pours down. Sometimes it’s a long storm filled week of isolation, and even stepping outside doesn’t seem possible. It is within these days, that thoughts of regret may come up. Regretting that adoption is my reality — my heart and my body doubting that adoption was the best thing for her, but my mind reminding me otherwise. I start to imagine what life would have been like, just the two of us. I think about what it would feel like to be called mommy. I think about what it would be like to be the one who tucks her into bed at night instead of the one who is always saying goodbye. I process through this regret — what should have been, in a perfect world, and what will never be.