Cold and Sharp as Razors

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.

6 thoughts on “Cold and Sharp as Razors

  1. Mei Ling

    “The rough fact that I would not have had my daughters if I had kept my son is a Judas kiss.”

    That just… wow, I don’t know what to say.

    I wonder if my mother ever feels that way about me and my sister.

    Reply
  2. Chris P-M

    Denise, your honesty about your experience is wonderful. I would give anything to be able to have my daughter (and I) meet her birthmother. I know it is highly unlikely with China, but I hope that someday we will be able to. My daughter is only 5 now and is just beginning to understand (her teacher is pregnant, which has been a good conversation starter.) We are starting to talk about how our daughter probably looks like her birthmom….same looking hair, eyes, skin, etc. and that he mother must have been beautiful.

    The situation in China is a sad one…politically and otherwise, including the one child policy. It is amazing how our adoption experience has awakened me to so many other issues of injustice. There is always pain and suffering that somehow gets dropped from the equation.

    Reply
  3. Campbell

    “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.”

    First time I’ve read this and just wanted to comment to say it makes sense to me.

    Reply

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