Though I felt big anxiety and a bit of dread going into it, the best day of 2017 was the Friday three weeks ago when I became an Amma again. We met with the adoptive parents of our birth son for accounting and mediation after two years of separation and discovered we didn’t need mediation once accounting was complete. We all felt heard and validated in our hurts. We confirmed that our conflict was based in avoidance of vulnerability around our deepest fears and pain rather than malice. We returned to love, a transformed friendship, and a realistic openness for our relationship with our birth son.
It was the day we all acknowledged the elephant in the room – that there is adoption pain among us despite the whole arrangement being based in deep love.
It was eight hours of being more real and emotionally intimate with a circle of Beloveds than I have ever been before. I finally told my truth about the only time I considered trying to take him back. It was the first night I drove away after birthing him and then spending two weeks as a co-caregiver, as well as his primary source of nourishment through nursing. Leaving him hurt my body in ways I never anticipated. It felt like my cells were screaming for him. I don’t know if I would have actually left the hotel to try to take him back (especially since legally it was already too late) because I ate a cannabis cookie a friend gave me that made me so high it was impossible to drive. It’s an unexpected gift that cannabis saved me from potentially causing more pain for everyone.
I also finally spoke my fear out loud that despite being present in his life as Amma, he will wonder why I sacrificed everything to raise his brother and sister on my own but chose to “give him away.” I usually phrase it that I shared him through adoption, but my fear is he may not see it that way when he is able to understand it since the reality is that I chose my freedom over raising him.
It was the day I finally understood how deep the adoptive Mama’s fears run around the potential of him feeling more drawn to us due to the biological bond or liking us better because we aren’t the ones doing the hard work of daily raising him and setting his boundaries. During my dissociation and grief I did not see how much she was struggling to give us the intimacy with him that we long for, that sharing him is really hard for her, too. I now have a better understanding of why adoptive mothers are afraid of open adoption and might go back on promises made to someone they hardly know (though doing so is not ok). I hope our story will help other adoption triads know what is possible.
It was the day we all learned that we had different understandings of the original agreement to adopt with the condition we could have an intimate relationship with him. I used the relationship between my other two children and my sister as an example and adoptive Mama didn’t realize that I saw my sister as the closest thing to a co-parent my kids had, even after she moved across the country and we stopped talking soon after my mom died. She maintained a closeness with them that existed separate from me.
It was the day that 10 months of doing the hardest, deepest (and most frustrating!) self development work I’ve done in 25 years came to fruition; though it had already proven effective by transforming how we deal with conflict in our marriage. It helped me learn how to get ahead of triggered trauma states and relate in the present rather than from old hurts. It taught me how to practice transformative justice in interpersonal relationships and now I have a passion for sharing this with others through my work in liberated relationships and community building.
It was a day that transformed my life once more: returning my birth son to me so that I am an Amma again, and restoring my chosen family. It was the day a vital sense of belonging was returned to me.