One of the reasons I chose international adoption was because I didn’t want the type of open adoption that is so common in the United States. I didn’t want the extra stress of having the biological mother in my life. I particularly didn’t want another woman that is likely not to share my values having an influence over my child. I was under the mistaken impression that going halfway around the world would keep this other woman out of my life. The truth is that although we’ll never meet she is a part of my life. Like it or not, I am sure she will have an influence over my son to be.
Several days ago was my son to be’s legal fifth birthday. I say legal birthday, because the truth is no one really knows the true date of his birth. He was abandoned outside of a hospital as an infant. It is illegal to relinquish children in China so there was no note left with information that could possibly lead the police back to his biological family. As my heart was aching for this child I suddenly thought about his biological mother. After all she knew his exact birthdate. Where is she now? Does she think of him each year on his birthday? Does she wonder how he’s doing or if he received the eye surgery she couldn’t / wouldn’t provide?
Suddenly and unexpectedly I started to have a heart for this other woman. As a biological mother myself I wanted so much to reach out to her. I wanted her to know that he did receive a sight saving surgery. That he is relatively healthy and happy. I wanted her to know that he would be joining our family in America. That he has the chance to grow up in a close loving family with lots of siblings. That his tummy would never be truly hungry again, or that he would never be too cold to sleep. I wanted to look her in the eye and tell her how much I love the child she carried, and what good care I will give him. Of course there is no way for me or the orphanage staff to contact her. All I can do is pray that she has found peace with the decision she made to abandon her son.
i have to admit when I first began my adoption journey I saw most birth parents as selfish cruel people who just threw away their children. I didn’t see them as individuals facing tough decisions. I thought of them more like a group of faceless people who were just taking the easy way out. I now realize that this assessment is overly simplistic, and unduly harsh. These mothers are faced with very difficult pressures like extreme poverty, lack of healthcare, one child laws, and pressures from older generations of family members to get rid of the ” unlucky one”. Conditions in an orphanage aren’t great, but it does mean at least some healthcare, food, and education for these children. My son to be can see now because of the cataract surgery he received on both eyes. Leaving him on that hospital road was an act of hope, and love not selfishness or disgust.
I feel a cosmic connection to the woman who carried my son, and gave him life. How much more must he be thinking of her? I am sure in the years to come there will be lots of tearful conversations regarding this other woman. It breaks my heart that I won’t be able to answer his questions about his biological family. Still, I am starting to realize that no matter how far around the world I go My life will forever be linked to this other woman. After all we will both be loving mothers to the same little boy soon I hope.