Friday, June 18, 2010

A Very Big Decision

I represent two parts of the adoption triad. I am an adoptee and I am an adoptive parent. The part of the triad that I cannot know about – have not a clue how they must feel – is the birthparent. What an agonizing choice that must be to give up your child… their own personal “Sophie’s Choice”.

For some it may be an easier choice. They know that they are unable to raise this child – and they choose adoption. For others, probably most, the choice is agonizing. While their heart may be telling them to keep this precious baby, their heads tell them it is not possible. These parents make the selfless choice to give their child up for adoption, and then they hope for the best. I would imagine for the rest of their life, unless it is an open adoption, they wonder how their baby is. They think about that child on their birthday and pray that they are OK, well loved and cared for and happily adjusted.

My adoption was in 1959. There was no such thing as “open adoption” back then. In fact, in many cases the child might not have even been told they were adopted. I was a very lucky baby. I was sent to the most perfect parents. I have always felt that I was born to be with the family that raised me. I am very artistic like my Mom and have her sense of humor. I have my Dad’s work ethic and sense of right and wrong. They did an amazing job of raising me and making me feel special and loved and very very wanted.

Many adoptees choose to seek out their birth family. It may be out of curiosity. It may be that they want to know more about their medical history. Perhaps, although they were loved and happy in their adoptive family, they have always felt there was something missing and they need answers to questions they have always had. This has not been my personal experience. I’ve never desired to seek my birth parents out. I’ve always said that I love them for making the choice they made and I thank them for that choice. However, if I was ever contacted by one of them I would welcome them and thank them in person.

Last year, while doing genealogy on my adoptive family I discovered the maiden name of my birth mother. My husband has played off and on through Google to see if he could find her. This week Richard found my birth mother. At least we’re pretty sure, probably about 99% sure. It seems I have a half sister, a couple of nieces and some uncles.

When I talk about my Mom and Dad, they are John and Sylvia Porter. The people that raised me, cried when I was hurt, laughed when I was happy and loved me unconditionally. They made sure I was taken care of and enjoyed some of the better experiences in life. They were my real parents.  Our family was made out of love, rather than by blood.

I am faced with a serious a choice of my own. Do I contact the woman that gave birth to me and chose my happiness and well-being over her own? She is 70 now. There may not be too many years left for me to get in touch with her. Does her family know about me? The last thing I would ever want to do is disrupt her life and force her to explain an event that happened almost 51 years ago. If I do contact her, what do I hope to gain from this connection? Or maybe I’m being selfish in wondering “what’s in it for me”? Perhaps I should be looking at this from a different angle. What can I do for her? Has she wondered about me all these years? Does she hope and pray that she made the right decision? Should I let her know how much I appreciate the choice she made all those years ago?

After writing all of this, you probably think I’ve already made up my mind. One minute I say I am going to write her a letter; the next I say I am going to leave it alone. I wish there was a clear cut path and I had a guarantee that I was making the right choice. But, instead I waffle back and forth.

So, here I sit with my own “Sophie’s Choice”; a momentous decision.


Laura said...

I can't even imagine all the emotions you are going through. Whatever you decide, you are supported.
Love you.

Mama Mia! Mama Mia! said...

Cindy - you ARE faced with a tough choice, my friend. I'm going to pretend we're having a lunch chat and give you my "humble opinion of one".

This woman is 70 years old. I can only imagine it would bring her peace to know that you are the wonderful person that you are...maybe to even meet you after all of these years. Write her the letter! If she doesn't want to share this news with her family, she may not, and you can't fault her for that. Adoption was very private back then - they may not even know she gave a child up for adoption. Write her the letter! Cindy, if you don't, you will always wonder. That space in your heart has opened up to let her in, and if you don't try, that hole will always be there. Write her the letter!

That is my thought - do with it what you will. Ultimately, this is YOUR decision - make it with your heart - it's a BIG one!

Kathy B.

5Youngers said...

What a tough decision for you to make. You are a strong wonderful woman and I'm sure you will make the right choice for you as well as her.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy,

Your situation is close to my heart because I have experienced somthing similar. Unfortunately for me, by the time I located my birth mother, she had already passed. It broke my heart. I so wanted to be able to talk to her and know about her life. To tell her about the wonderful parents who raised and loved me. I too have siblings and I met my half sister and niece. My suggestion to you is to have someone else contact her and just ask her if she would like to make contact. If she says no, then no harm done. If her answer is yes, then you can decide how and when. I would love to talk to you about this. Let me know a good time and I'll call you if you like and tell you more about my experience.


Mary Jo

Brenda said...

Oh Cindy, reading your words I feel the emotions rising up in myself... what should Cindy do, what would I do? What a jumble of emotions to sift through.
I would write the letter. Tell her what a wonderful life you have been given and what wonderful parents you had who chose you. Give her the peace to know she did a good thing for you those 50+ years ago.
I'm praying for you girl! You possess all the wisdom and courage you'll need whatever YOUR decision is.
I look forward to hearing your story however it progresses.
Love you! Brenda

neffie said...

This is a very big decision. And I can't say "write her" or "don't write her" because I have no idea what you're going through. I just know it's very emotional and tough for you, but you have a lot of good people supporting you.

What I can offer is, what I do whenever I face a tough and/or emotional decision. I pray that I will be guided to make the right choice. Then I think about my choices again. I have found after I pray I'm usually pulled toward a certain decision as I think about them. Once I make the decision my "going back and forth feelings" are gone and I feel at peace. Once I feel at peace with my decision I know I made the right one. Sometimes this process is quick for me but sometimes it's not. :-)

Good luck!

Jason, as himself said...

What a tremendously tough decision to make! We adopted our son, too. I'm sure he will probably go through the same thing you're experiencing. I wonder if there is any kind of statistic about adoptees who contact their birth parents and what kind of a reaction, positive or negative, they get from the them.

I look forward to hearing the outcome if you do decide to send that letter and make contact.

Good luck to you!

Megan said...

Cindy we love you and have faith in your judgment. Whatever you decide is the right thing to do. XOXOXO

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