I haven't written, spoke or thought of the pain of my adoption process in months. Not because I hurt, or it's too much to handle but because I've taken time and steps to heal.
Four days from now marks my daughters first birthday. It marks a year of life passing by since I let go. A year since I signed legally binding documents stating I was giving up my rights to parent her. I was giving up my place as her mom, her support, her cheerleader. I was giving that role to someone else.
With every initial, every signature on those documents I denied the right to be there for her first step, her first word. She will grow and learn and become a beautiful little girl with dreams and goals and I won't be there. She will crush on her first boy and experience disappointments and heartbreaks and I won't be there to brush her hair and tell her she is beautiful. She will win the spelling bee and score a run in T ball and look to her awesome parents for their proud smiles. Life will go on as it has for the past year and she will know someone else as mom. She will know someone else as her comforter and hero.
As hard as all of that is. It's okay. I'm okay.
When I left the hospital after such a huge life changing experience I promised myself a year from that day I would be the woman I wasn't. I would be the mom I wasn't and I would change myself and my life into what I wished I had had for that baby girl. I foresaw me going back to school, starting my own business and possibly buying a place of my own.
Well here we are and I have done none of those things. I am no more fit to parent than I was a year ago. I have no more of a savings or education than I had a year ago and I have every reason to feel discouraged and disappointed. I could feel like this huge event really changed nothing. I could look at the lack of change and be angry with myself. But I don't.
Instead, I am proud of myself. I took the last year and made no big changes. I took opportunities and knew to wait. Even if I wanted to go for something I would normally just jump into, I grounded myself and I took time. There is a healing that comes with stability. I had never given myself that time before and I believe that was a contributing factor to the behavior that got me there in the first place.
Knowing your limits will make the difference between healing completely and a temporary bandaid. I may not have become a changed, 180° version of myself but the last year has made the difference in me moving forward. It has helped me feel okay that my little girl is a perfect one year old with her family. I am blessed to get to see her thriving and be able to work on thriving myself.
No, every day is not rainbows but I feel what I need to feel and allow myself time and grace to work through it.
If I were to offer healing advice to fellow birth mothers I would say three simple words a good friend of mine tells me. Give yourself Grace.
Nothing comes overnight and if you are working your butt off to become the woman your baby can be proud of, don't get discouraged by the amount of time it takes to be okay. You did one of the hardest, bravest things you could have possibly done. Now surround yourself with people and things you love and grace will do the rest! Life is long and the time to conquer your fears and weaknesses will come and you will be better equipped to do so if you have taken the steps to heal.
Whether you are an open or closed adoption, you deserve to grieve and process in your own way. Allow yourself to do that! Find resources if you hit a wall. Remind yourself why you made that selfless decision and fight for yourself in the same way.
My heart is with you and I admire your sacrifice. Each mother heals in their own way and like we should give ourselves, give all people grace.