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Adoption: My Son Finds His Birth Mother
Obviously I have no concept of what it must feel like to give birth. Talking to mothers cannot begin to enlighten one regarding those feelings. How do you describe carrying a living being inside of you for nine months? Words are inadequate at best, for emotions like that were not meant to be captured by words.
Carrying a child and giving birth are love at its most basic form. It is the simplest form of humanness and the most complicated. It reaches far beyond the mere physical act for it is, in essence, a relinquishing of one’s self, a forfeiture of who you once were, and a forming of a bond that will last a lifetime.
The anxiety, the fear, and the physical pain leading up to birth are then replaced by anxiety, fear and emotional pain after birth. Still, there is happiness, the kind of which has never been known, and joy for a job well-done and a lifetime of memories still to live.
For some mothers, the birth of their child is the end of the road that they travel together. For whatever reason, some birth mothers choose to give up their child after birth and place that child into the adoption system. The reasons why that decision is made are too numerous to mention in this article. Whatever the reason, I have no doubt it is a painful process. How could it not be? The bond of which I spoke is so strong, that giving up a child must be akin to cutting off one’s limb and forfeiting a very real part of oneself.
I make no judgment about mothers who choose to do this; it would, in fact, be the ultimate in hypocrisy for me to do so, because you see, I was placed in the adoption system in 1948. My birth mother made a decision she believed to be the correct one, and because of her decision I was given a chance to be adopted by an incredibly loving pair of people, Dale and Evelyn Holland. My life has been a non-stop love fest in part because my birth mother made her decision.
THEN THE TORCH WAS PASSED ON
In turn, when I was thirty-six years of age, my wife and I adopted a child. On October 23, 1984 our son, Tyler, was born to a woman who had no choice at the time but to give him up for adoption.
It was a match made in heaven, my son and I, because I understood things about him that no one else but an adoptee could understand. I understood the hole that is left in an adopted child, always questioning, always wondering, always missing a link so basic….the “who am I” link. That questioning, that wondering, is as natural as breathing to an adopted child. Even though raised in a loving family, there is always something missing; there is always personal information about the core of that child that cannot be known.
It is, in a very real sense, an open sore that will not heal; a nagging itch that cannot be scratched, and it remains well into adulthood.
So it was for my son until two weeks ago. At that point, a miracle happened!
SETTING THE SCENE
My son and I have talked often about my adoption and his; it is only natural and healthy that we do so. Questions are inevitable and I have always tried to answer those questions truthfully, as my parents did for me. Who else could he ask? I was the one person who understood and the one person who had any sort of answers to questions about his birth mother.
What I knew of her was very little. I knew my son was born in Edmunds, Washington. I had met his birth mother once before the birth, and when my son was six months of age we had sent a picture of him to his birth mother upon her request. Other than that I really knew very little.
My son had shown signs the past few years of being interested in finding his birth mother, and I have no doubt that if the miracle had not happened he would have eventually made a full-court press to find her. However, the miracle did, indeed, happen.
For the past six months I have written a series of articles about adoption, and in several of them I have mentioned that my son was adopted and when he was adopted. Through the miracle of the internet, one of my articles was noticed by a young lady in Washington who had been helping her mother find her birth child, a child born on October 23, 1984.
A couple weeks ago I received an email from that young lady, asking me where my son was born. I thought it a rather personal question from a stranger but I nonetheless answered truthfully. I then received another email, asking when he was born. Again I answered, and again and again as more questions were fired in my direction. Finally this young woman asked me if she could send me a photo of a child, a photo sent to her mother when the child was six-months old.
How was I feeling at that moment? I would be dishonest if I did not tell you I was feeling unsettled. I was not angry by any means, nor was I afraid. I was simply knocked off of my stride, as though the Earth had suddenly tilted and I hadn’t set my feet properly for balance.
The photo arrived and as soon as I saw that six-month old child I knew that life had suddenly taken a detour, that the road my son and I had been traveling on was no longer recognizable. I could turn around and see where we had come from, but once I gazed ahead I had no clear vision. The son I had sung to sleep….the son whose diapers I had changed….the son I had nurtured, praised, disciplined and loved for twenty-seven years, had found his birth mother.
THE STORY CONTINUES
I of course spoke to the birth mother on the phone and it was, to say the least, a tearful reunion. She was beyond elated for she had been looking for her son for years. She had, in fact, held a birthday party for him each year for twenty-seven years, a party attended by my son’s two sisters and other relatives he never knew.
I was in tears for the simple reason that I knew how important this was; I, better than anyone else, knew the impact this would have on my son, and I was overcome with happiness for him. I did not feel threatened at all; I knew my son loved me and that would never change. I was, and am, truly ecstatic for him.
Last week my son met his birth mother and two sisters for the first time. It was a joyous occasion, filled with tears, hugs, laughter and, I suspect, closure. A gaping hole in the hearts of my son and his birth mother had been repaired. Haunting questions and unfulfilled hopes had been laid to rest. It was a celebration of life and love, equal to any ever held, and this is one story that very definitely has a happy ending.
Do I love my son? More than life itself! Am I happy for him? The word “happy” does not even begin to describe how I feel for him at this moment. You see, I have a very real appreciation for what this means for my son. I have a very real understanding of what has been missing in his life all these years. I am an adopted child and for sixty-three years I have had that hole in my heart as a constant companion.
Life, at times, does indeed come full circle! We go about our daily routines, busy with the business of living, and suddenly, out of nowhere, an incredible event rocks our very foundation. This was one of those moments for my son. As I write this I have tears in my eyes. They are tears of happiness for sure, and they are tears of longing. Perhaps my birth mother is dead. Perhaps she is still alive. Perhaps I should make the attempt to find out.
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
To read my other adoption articles, see the following:
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