Thursday, June 16, 2011

Moving on...?

Once you place a child people have so much advice for you. Some of it is helpful, but most of it is subjective. Things like "let yourself grieve" and "learn to let go" were pretty common sentiments shortly after I placed my son. People wanted me to try to move on and move past the hurt and the sadness. There was a problem with this; I didnt want to. I felt like if I left my grief behind I would be leaving my love for my son behind too. For about a year after I placed him I grieved and felt the emptiness, failure and depression. I was a wreck, I couldnt read any of the letters from his family. Couldnt talk about the placement, couldnt do anything but feel alone. I relived my 3 days with him over and over until I felt like I would burst. I was inconsolable.

Something happened shortly after my Dawson's first birthday. I had a visit with him and got a chance to see him interact with his family. He was happy and healthy and whole. I felt like the sunlight had pierced my dark corner for the first time in a long time. The truth that I found during that visit was astounding: I didnt have to grieve forever for my loss. I could be happy because he was happy. I knew I would never forget and never stop loving that little boy, but in order to love him I did not have to suffer. I wasnt really moving on... but I was able to move forward.

I have thought about this many times over the years since then. There are still days that I feel that same crushing sensation in my chest, whether on his birthday or mothers day or a special occasion. Most of the time it is fleeting now. I have learned that the sadness is almost always followed by peace, and the peace is followed by happiness. I am happier now than I can ever remember being. Sometimes I feel guilty about that and I'm sure that's pretty common. People seem to think that becasue I have a child of my own now it makes it easier to deal with the feelings for my son. If anything the opposite is true. I worry that he will think I favored her, or that I loved him less, when that is not even possible. My daughter brings me the joys of being a true mother, and she makes me so happy, but no child will ever be my son's replacement. Unfortunately emotions are messy and often hard to explain. I try to move forward every day knowing that one day he will be able to be proud of me and of where he came from. I suppose most of the good things I have done in my adult life have been to prove that I am worthy of being in his life.

So I guess this is me, purging some things I dont get to say often, moving forward but never moving on...


Lisa said...

I just read your adoption story, and it was beautiful and absolutely broke my heart. I'm so happy that seeing him with his family was able to bring you a little bit of closure.

Jen said...

I remember when you were getting ready to see him for the first time and how worried I was that it would be hard for you. I was so happy when it helped you so much. It really opened my eyes and heart to the possibility of being more open in our future adoption.