Thursday, November 10, 2011

Counting Children...

I love when I read another person's blog and get inspired to write about my feelings. So when I read This Post over at the Birthmom Buds Blog I was inspired to get to writing. Problem is, I sat down to get writing several times and nothing came to me. I found myself struggling to express how this makes me feel.

"How many kids do you have?"
"How old are your kids?"
"How does your son like being a big brother?"

Some of the toughest questions I have to answer are about my relationship to my son. I get alot of compliments on the framed photo on my desk at work. It's a very beautiful picture from our visit in April. Dawson and I are huddled close to each other on a bench and Cookie is partly on my lap and partly on his (picture is below and blurred for the privacy of the family). We are all smiling and leaning into one another. It is one of my favorite pictures, along with one where he is holding Cookie and they are looking at each other and laughing (which is on display as my desktop background at work). These pictures mean the world to me, they are the most precious moments of my life. Knowing that Dawson has the chance to get to know Cookie and seeing how natural he is with her was so far beyond my expectations of what could happen for us. I am always in awe of Dawson's parents for having the strength and caring to give me a chance to be in all of their lives, and for them to accept Cookie into that mix as well was incredible.

Here's the problem. I don't often tell people who don't know me well that I am a birthmom. It's not something I am ashamed of, but I have mentioned before that this is a close and personal subject for me. So usually only those I know fairly well will get the full skinny on my life as a Birthmom. Since putting up these photos more people have asked the hard questions. Some questions I can just nod or say yes to and people are ok with it. They go on about their day never knowing that they didn't get the full story. Others probe deeper, asking alot of questions that I cant answer without disclosing the details. Here's how one such conversation looked recently:

Co-worker (CW): "Those are some beautiful kids you have!" *points to picture* "How old are they?"
Red: "Almost 9 and 19 months"
CW: "Wow, that's quite a gap between them!"
Red: "Yep" *smiling uncomfortably*
CW: "How do they like each other?"
Red: "They get along very well"
CW: "I bet he is a big help with his little sister"

I'm not trying to lie to people here, it's not that I don't want to talk about it, it's just that I don't want to talk about it with EVERYONE. I also don't want to lie or be deliberately dishonest, so at this point I usually say something about my son living in Oregon. Sometimes they walk away and assume that my son lives with his father or some other such arrangement, other times they probe more and I have to tell them a brief synopsis like "He lives with his parents and his sister". I don't like saying things like "I placed him for adoption", for some reason I feel like that makes it all about me. I would rather make it clear that while I do have contact, he was not "taken" from me or anything like that. Either way I always feel like most people walk away from the conversation feeling sorry for me. I hate that.

It's a sticky situation, and sometimes when people do get to know me better and hear the whole story they think I was lying. I don't lie about my situation to anyone, but I do sometimes just nod and smile and let people think what they want to. I just cant get into the adoption conversation with every stray person who walks by my desk. It would be an exhausting waste of my time. I would never be able to convey to them how joyous the whole thing can be, or how even though it causes me sadness I still feel so much more good from it than bad. So I scoot around the subject as much as I can, and I usually only begrudgingly bring up the adoption if someone gets nosy. The people who know me well at work know my story, and that is quite enough for me.

I honestly don't know what the better course of action is. I just don't feel that I can comfortably talk about the adoption in everyday conversation. The only thing I know for sure is that both of my kids COUNT to me. When people ask me how many kids I have I always say 2. Yes, I am not parenting Dawson, but he is a part of me forever and always. That much will never change. I have tried to explain to people before, he will ALWAYS count as my baby boy, forever, but I will never be his Mom. Every time I think of the question of counting kids, it makes me think of my own Mom. Her first baby boy (Mark) died when he was about 4 months old from SIDS. I've never heard my mom say she was only a mother of 6, because it doesn't matter that Mark is not here anymore, he is still her child. I still count him as my sibling, saying I have 6 siblings, not 5. Some people may not understand that, since I never even met Mark, but he was definitely present in our house.

I want my parented kids to COUNT Dawson, and I will always COUNT him.

Most of what I want to get across is that I am not someone to feel sorry for. I see my son, I talk to him, he tells me he loves me. I get the privilege to be in his life, and I am humbled and grateful for that privilege. If you know me at all you know that my children are my greatest joy, both of them make my life brighter and more livable each day. Seeing them together was touching and moving beyond words. I am proud to be related to 2 of the most amazing little people on the planet. Even more proud to know that I did what was best for them both, no matter how hard it was.

1 comment:

Coley said...

So glad that it inspired you!