By: Stacey Ellis
I watched the young woman cry and say it was the worst decision of her life. She is a birth mother, who gave birth to a little girl and gave her up for adoption to her aunt and uncle. She was 16 at the time, 17 now, and was being featured on the 16&Pregnant Adoption Special on MTV. I was mesmerized.
Ten months ago this week we adopted our beautiful baby girl. Ten months. Where did the time go? She’s crawling, walking while holding our hands, smiling, giggling, clapping, and eating anything and everything she can get her little hands on. She’s happy and healthy and we think we are providing the best possible life for her with love, stability, and lots of kisses.
I think about her all day at work and look at her pictures all over my office and on my cell phone. I’ll talk about her to anyone who asks (or doesn’t ask). But I don’t just think about her and her well being; my mind continues to drift to her birthmother. How often does she think about our daughter? Is she okay? She originally said she didn’t want any contact with us at all after giving her daughter to us but the state law requires us to send photos and a letter once every three months for the first year. We are nearing the last letter to be sent on her first birthday and a letter just doesn’t feel like enough. (I say final letter, but of course if she wants more letters in the years to come, we’re happy to send them.)
While watching the Adoption Special, I also saw another couple who gave half a charm to the birth mother and the adoptive mother kept the other half, to give to the baby girl they shared between them when she was old enough. That seemed nice. But is that too much? Will that “shove” in our birth mother’s face every day that I am raising her daughter? Or is she thinking about her every day anyway and this charm will give her something tangible to see when her mind drifts as well? I can’t imagine that she doesn’t think about our little girl every day. But what if she doesn’t?
One of the things that struck me on this Special was Dr. Drew kept saying to the one birth mother who was still grieving her loss, “When are you going to move on?” MOVE ON? Even I was offended and appalled. How can he possibly expect the birth mother to “move on”? I mean, she can accept the reality of the situation – that she is not raising her daughter – but “move on”? Can a birth mother really “move on”? I am not sure any birthmother ever moves on, but what if our birth mom has?
So, I scoured the internet for a gift. I found bracelets that have various sayings like, “Adoption is Love”. I particularly liked the one that said “In my heart”. Again, I don’t want to be presumptuous that our daughter is still in her heart. I found sterling silver heart necklaces which can be engraved, but is that too much? I found memory boxes which can be engraved. Then that made me think – our daughter has a biological brother – do I have both of their names engraved on a gift? I continued to look for the next hour.
Then I found it…a sterling silver charm on a chain that says, “Many Hearts One Beat”. I read the story behind the charm. The woman who created it met so many people along the way to adopting her son, people who all played a role in bringing her and her son together, she wanted a charm that would symbolize their journey. Wow. This was it. I feel like across the miles, this gift will touch her soul as it has touched mine.
I am not ready to “move on” and I am sure my heart beats the same as the birth mother’s who I believe has not “moved on” either. At least I hope she hasn’t, as I may just buy three charms, one for the birth mother, one for me and one for my daughter to wear when she is old enough. That way our daughter knows we are all here for the same purpose – to give her the best life possible.