There’s one birthmother in my group therapy, a woman older than my mother, who is in reunion with her placed son and has never met his mother. She seems very angry at the adoptive mother, and says that she wouldn’t agree to meet her if asked. While I can’t condemn her for her pain, I’ve always been uncomfortable with her position; her son’s mother hasn’t done anything wrong, she just adopted a baby and mothered him. That’s a good thing. Yes, her gain was the birthmother’s loss, but that wasn’t the adoptive mother’s fault. I’ve heard prospective adoptive mothers say that they can’t reconcile themselves to the idea of causing the kind of grief they see in birthmothers, and my answer to that is pragmatic and maybe not great: If she’s going to place anyway and you’ve done everything in your power to facilitate an ethical adoption, maybe it’s better that you parent her child than someone who doesn’t give a hoot for her rights or her pain. I know there are problems with that answer, believe me, but it’s the best one I’ve got.
And. Sometimes, recently, I think I want him back, and I feel angry for a second. It doesn’t last, I don’t have any impulse to call a lawyer or hassle his moms. But at the moment, they are the people preventing me from seeing him. If that’s a source of my groupmate’s anger, I think I can understand. I don’t want to make the (in my opinion) mistake of going on to actually blame Ruth or Nora for my feelings, but I miss my son, and they have him. That’s hard. In my case, I also feel that I have to guard against resenting their control over me. They could make sure that I didn’t see Cricket again for seventeen years, and it wouldn’t even be difficult. I wish we had the kind of relationship where I didn’t think about that. I think I was working toward that when I asked whether I could talk about hard things: if I tell you that it’s really hard sometimes, or that I cry about him still, and you don’t close the adoption, you’ve just relieved me of a major worry. I am slightly paranoid about what I should and shouldn’t say. He still smells like my baby, which is the strangest thing, but I think hearing that would offend them. Can any birthmothers tell me when that stops? Because it is weird and hard, and I didn’t expect it.
When we were leaving at the end of our December visit, Ruth said that she’d send an email soon setting up the next one. I asked if we could sketch out the next few (which is what she did earlier this year), and she said that she liked that idea. Well, we’ve emailed a couple of times and visits have not been mentioned. And you know what? I’m not going to mention them. For the second half of this year, they asked for a visit each month; I don’t know what they’re thinking now. I don’t know long it would take before I asked about another visit. Maybe I never would.