Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dam Overflow

After more than six months of pressure building up like water behind a dam, on Saturday night I burst into a river of uncharacteristic tears. Out poured a tumult of joy, relief, and grief. I had been weakened by a not-very-good-in-my-opinion movie and triggered by the sweet fragrance of my snoozing son.

I explained to M., who woke up to my snuffling in bed, that bubbling up was an odd mix of emotion. Looking at Dylan asleep in his crib, his long lashes fluttering with each exhale, his pudgy hand wrapped around his binky, I felt such a sense of relief. Maybe...probably...almost definitely, I will have the privilege of being his mommy for the rest of my life. It feels foreign to accept that this long-held and hard-won dream really has come true. What a relief!

And I was overwhelmed with happiness. I felt (and feel) so, so fortunate. He is such a beautiful little person; happy, and healthy, and full of smiles. I feel lucky not just to at last be a mom, but that HE is my son.

Mixed with those emotions, however, was some self-pity. Now that I love Dylan so much, it makes me sad that I didn't know him from the very beginning. I am sad that his gestation was more a time of concern and worry than a time of joy. I wish I could have grown him and nurtured him for nine months myself. I know this is kind of weird. After all, if I'd been able to conceive and carry this child, he would not be the Dylan we adore so much now. But the other night, I just felt sad that it was someone else who got to experience those special, earliest connections.

What made me weep hardest, though, was thinking about V., his birth mother. How difficult it must have been to give up* this precious boy. Sure, she didn't know what a special kid he would be. But he was her kid, and I know now how special that alone must make him to her. And sure, she had good reasons for placing him. Never-the-less, as my connection with my son strengthens beyond anything I could have anticipated, I can better recognize what an incredibly difficult and selfless decision she made.

Now I know that in some way, V. took a bullet for me. I've said before that there was an empty spot in my heart that only a child could fill. This child has made my love flow over. V. knew, though, that while I would be healed when she placed Dylan with us, her heart now will always have a hole that can never fully scar over.

The dam has burst and the pressure has been released. I understand more fully, though, that my open adoption will always be a deep reservoir of mixed emotions.

* Stay tuned for a post someday about how my views on the term "given up for adoption" have changed...


Anonymous said...

Oh wow! What a powerful post.

Lisa T. said...

I know what you mean Kristin. Our son's birth mother told me one day that she was no longer telling people that she gave her baby up for adoption...she said, "I learned from you guys that I really did place him with you. I haven't given him up. I see him, I know where he his, I know he is loved." His bm continues to amaze me. I sometimes would get so blue when I'd think about her loss. She taught me that she is really happy to see him grow up happy and that she really isn't sad anymore. She does miss him. :) Foundation of open adoption is honesty. I appreciate the honesty in this post.
Lisa T.