Today I am thankful for the mothers who walked the adoption journey before me, some before I was ever born. While our experiences differ from birth mother to birth mother, down generations and circumstances, without their pioneering ways, I may not be as lucky as I am today in openess and healing.
I am thankful for many different kinds of birth mothers. I am thankful for those who speak candidly about their situations, either in positive or negative manners. Without telling their stories, I may not have been able to understand and accept that every adoption is different. With the varying stories of both success and defeat, I have been able to find myself in the middle and find support for both my good days and my bad.
I am thankful for the birth mothers who have confronted me in various ways, even if they did it in less than an appropriate manner. They have all taught me something about myself, human nature and the world of adoption. I have learned how to deal with confrontational people either by engaging them or completely ignoring their insults. I have learned how to educate others by speaking calmly, intelligently and with confidence. I have learned how to reach out to another mother who is visibly hurting by her words and actions and offer my support even if that is not what the conversation initially started out to do. I have learned how to deal with my own anger in an appropriate manner so that I don’t pass it off onto other people in an unwarranted manner.
I am thankful for the birth mothers that have reached out in compassion during my darkest of times. I am thankful for those who have listened to me cry and complain about the ins and outs of our adoption and adoption in the general sense. I have learned, by their example, how true support can really help a person step towards healing. I have witnessed how a simple word or gesture can brighten someone’s entire outlook on life in general. I have come out of my darkness and despair a peaceful and more confident woman and mother. I have been able to help others by following the example of those who have helped me.
I am thankful for the birth mothers who have endured closed adoptions; not because of their pain, shame or anger but because of the way that they have shaped how adoption has and continues to change. Without their voices, or sometimes, lack of voice, no one would have made a move to open adoptions. Without their demand of respect and honesty within adoption, things would be much more grim than they are today. (Though, don’t get me wrong; it’s not perfect out there.) Without their stories of pain, I don’t think I would truly be able to understand my own. While different, they have the same basic roots in grief and loss. Without their stories of reunion and difficulties in relationship, I would have nothing to base my own relationship with the Munchkin on and how I want to treat it as she grows to hopefully avoid certain problems.
I am thankful for the birth mothers who came before me that have entered open adoptions. I have learned so much. Some of these amazing mothers have taken me under their wings and guided me, by example, in how to effectively communicate within our adoption. I am thankful for their pioneering footsteps in this previously uncharted territory. I am thankful for their stories, both happy and sad, that have given me living examples of what to and not to do. For the advice they have given, I can never give enough thanks. For the way they feel able to share their story, my whole family and group of friends have benefitted as it has taught me not to fear sharing my own personal experience.
Every birth mother that I have come in contact with has taught me something. Sometimes it’s a postive learning experience. Sometimes it’s a lesson in what not to do, what not to say or how not to act. Always, it’s an experience that I take with me and attempt to put into my frame of reference when dealing with adoptees, adoptive parents, other birth mothers, the population untouched by adoption and those involved in our own unique family.
I am thankful for their uniqueness. I am thankful for their sameness. I am thankful for everything they have done for and meant to me… and how they will continue to influence other mothers in the same and different manners.