I’m reading a fabulous book entitled Proof of Heaven by Ebin Alexander, M.D. It’s the true story of a neurosurgeon who, due to the sudden onset of an undiagnosed medical illness, goes into a coma for seven days and isn’t expected to live. In telling the story, Dr. Alexander shared about being adopted and the search for his birth parents when his son shows an interest in meeting them. He received word his birth parents were married after putting him up for adoption, but weren’t interested in meeting him. He entered a very dark period in life, were he was forced to face feelings of abandonment and insecurity. Up until that time, he never experienced any of those feelings; it took his immediate family to help him identify what he was feeling and help him work through the pain.
I’m also watching a television show, I’m too embarrassed to mention by name, where a young man is forced to interact with his birth father who abandoned him and his mom after learning she was pregnant. The birth father shares, with his then high school aged son, when he learned his high school girlfriend was pregnant, he wanted her to have an abortion. The son, standing right in front of his birth father, is forced to face the reality that his father wanted him dead before he was even born.
Being adopted myself, I remember a discussion I had with my mom when I was in elementary school. We were in her sewing room, and for the first time in my life, I verbalized out loud that someone gave birth to me; and gave me away. I was too young to know the words abandoned or unwanted, or what they meant . I simply stated I hated “that” woman. As an adult woman and mother, I now realize the impact my mom’s response would have on the rest of my life and the pressure she must have felt in that moment. One of the many reasons I adored my mom was due to her wisdom, honesty and sincere love for me and her Savior, Jesus Christ. I was incredibly blessed to have a Christian mother who modeled the true meaning of love and selflessness every day of her life.
Before my mom responded to my statement, she confirmed I was speaking of my birth mother (when I had articulated “that” woman), which I did, and she began verbalizing how she felt as a woman unable to bear children. She told me how thankful she and my dad were that my birth mother LOVED me enough to give me away. She explained, without saying everything she really meant, that my birth mother had choices – which, as a child, I understood to be keep me as her own or give me up for adoption. As I grew older, I realized my birth mother had additional choices – she could have aborted me and extinguished my life. I can honestly say, at that moment, in my mom’s sewing room, I KNEW I was not abandoned or unwanted, I was deeply loved and treasured. I am so thankful for my mom and dad AND the love of my Savior, who my mom introduced me to the day I entered their home.
In April of 2014, I shared in a blog post, I spoke with my birth mother for the first time. The reason I made the decision to locate her wasn’t for me to meet her or to form a relationship with her; it was for her (my birth mother). As a mom, I knew if I ever had a child I was forced to give away (for whatever reason), I would always wonder about that child’s life and if they were loved and happy. As it turned out, I met my two half-sisters and my birth mother later that year – face to face. We had an opportunity to talk about how my life came to be and the decision my birth mother made. Afterward, I made the decision to walk away. There were several reasons for my decision, but honestly, I realized for the very first time in my life, I felt abandoned.