While in college I had a friend who was adopted. I remember talking to him about his feelings towards adoption, his feeling about his parents and if he had any desire to find his birth parents. He was a great guy, funny, smart, hilarious and a fantastic card player! (we were Rummy and Gin freaks back then! Probably should have been studying...) He lived not too far from where my dorm was and I actually met him through his roommate who was in a Communications class with me. Let's call them Tom and Tim, Tom being the classmate and Tim being the adopted friend. I spent a lot of time with them that year, and am proud to say that I still occasionally talk to them.
When I talked with Tim about his life story, he was never ashamed or afraid to tell people that he was adopted. As a matter of fact, he was the first person that I had ever met that was not totally pissed off about being adopted, remember this was 20 years ago and the general thought about adoption was that it was a taboo subject and unless you were looking for a fight, you just did not bring the topic up with anyone. This is why I found Tim so intriguing, so strong. He talked about it like you would talk about your favorite show. He would smile, he would be happy to tell you the details and he was genuinely comfortable sharing his story with you. He told me that he was always raised knowing he was adopted. He said..."I knew I was German. I knew I had brown eyes. And I knew I was adopted, my parents never hid that from me." It was refreshing to hear that. I had a friend in high school that found out the day he graduated that he was adopted and it had a very negative effect on him. He went into a state of depression, lost interest in college, dropped out and I now have no idea where he is or how he is. Just goes to show that keeping secrets as big as that can have a negative impact on an adoptees life.
Tim and I talked every so often about his story, his life. I was always impressed by his demeanor and honesty when talking about adoption. He said that he was totally comfortable with the fact that he was placed at birth and was thrilled that he would soon be able to find out who his real parents are. (In Missouri you have to wait until you are 21 to start looking for your parents, it is a very conservative state. They are very strict about their privacy laws for birth parents and it makes it hard for adoptees to find their families.) He said that if there was anyting at all that he would change it would be that his adoption be open, not closed. Tim spoke so sweetly about his birth mother, telling me that he understood why some people choose adoption for their children and he had no ill feeling towards his birth parents for making such a bold and brave decission. He told me that he did not know the cirrcumstances, but was very proud of his birth parents for loving him enough to give him a great start in life. I had never met anyone like him. I had never met anyone who was comfortable with their adoption before him.
Fast forward to the day I delivered my daughter. It was a very difficult delivery that lasted almost 24 hours and I was exhausted, sweaty, hungry and so incredibly sad that the pregnancy was over. It took a while for the staff to get me out of the delivery room, mostly because I had gained so much weight and the epidural was still in full effect which did not allow me to move...AT ALL!, but they finally were able to wheel me into recovery where I asked for something to eat. I was feeling very low. I was bigger than I had ever been, I had no self esteem at all at that point, I was already mourning the loss of my baby, I was STARVING and yes, I was still a bit cranky from the trauma of delivering my first child, a child that I knew would not go home with me. I lay there in my bed with my mother by my side, she was doing her best to comfort me but not annoy me at the same time. I told her that I had to eat, I was feeling naucious. She called the nurse and soon I had a bowl of Cheerios in front of me. I tried to eat, but my whole body was shaking because of all the blood loss and lack of sleep that I had had the night before, I could not get the food to my mouth without everything dancing off of the spoon! My sweet mother took the spoon from me and began to feed me the Cheerios. I was balling. Tears in a constant stream, trying to catch my breath balling. Snot bubbles frothing out because I was trying to get something into my shriveled stomach. It was just not a pleasant scene.
Then there was a knock at the door. When it opened, there were Tim and Tom. I was mortified! Oh Lord, I was a mess! I looked terrible, felt even worse and I still could not stop crying. But to look at their faces, you would have thought I was ready for the walk down the red carpet in an amazing De la Renta dress looking FABULOUS! Thier faces were beaming, their body language screamed how happy they were and they spoke in low tones to respect the other patients.
"Why are you here?" I asked. I know it sounds rude, but I really was a little delusional at that point. "I look awful, you should not see me like this." I stated to them. They both smiled. "We are not going to stay long, we just wanted you to know how proud we are of you." They said in so many words. Then Tim leaned in close to me and said..."I just wanted you to know that you are beautiful. You have no idea what an amazingly selfless thing you are doing for this baby. I am here to tell you that you are strong, you are incredibly brave, and as an adoptee....I thank you for being such a great mother. I can only hope that my birth mother is as wonderful as you are."
Yep, I know. I am crying just writing it! He was such a Godsend that day. He and Tom made me feel special, they made me feel appreciated at a time when I did not even appreciate myself. I don't know if they know how much those 5 minutes meant to me, how much it helped to know that they supported me and my decision.Sometimes just a few words can change so many things. Sometimes it is the friends in life that help carry us when we need it most.
Thank you Tim and Tom, your kindness has lived in my heart for many years now. You are two friends that I will never forget!