I’m not surprised anymore when someone surfaces above the murky waters of adoption. Ever since I came out of the closet as a birthmother almost twenty years ago there’s been a parade of conversations where it’s been revealed that someone I know has also given up a child for adoption–or is an adoptee. There’s sometimes a deep and instant connection when we share our stories. And sometimes pain. I’m at a loss when an adoptee tells me he/she has searched for a birthparent, and the parent has refused contact. Usually it’s the birthmother. It’s the shame, I want to tell the adoptee. And the fear of revisiting the grief.
Losing a child through adoption is its own brand of grief. The death of a child, while the profoundest of tragedies, is beyond a mother’s volition. Giving up a child for adoption is a choice–albeit a “Sophie’s Choice” sort of choice. No doubt the death of a child continues to haunt and hurt, but unless the mother was directly responsible, the knowledge that the child is now beyond harm is perhaps some sort of balm.
I could have kept my son. That’s a truth. A truth without emollient. The rough fact that I would not have had my daughters if I had kept my son is a Judas kiss. My lips feel cold and sharp as razors when I think of it.