Lori’s (CAC Adoption Advocate & Birth Mother) husband has written a very special post to share with us today. Although this letter is written to a Birth Mother, we believe this speaks to all parties of the adoption triad. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to share Matthew’s words with you.
To the Birth Mom who needs to hear this:
I met my wife at a mall. Yep, you read that right. I met her nearly 25 years ago when I walked into a mall in Kansas City while in town for an interview. I saw her standing in a department store and I walked right up to her. I asked her out. She declined. I asked again and she came up with a reason that she was unavailable. So, naturally, I asked one more time. This time she agreed to meet for dinner the next night.
I missed my return flight to Chicago so I could be in town for that dinner. And at that dinner my life changed forever. There were a lot of things that drew me to her, for starters she ordered a cheeseburger (that never happened on a first date)! But what really sucked me in, what really made me curious, what really impressed me is that halfway through our first date she shared with me that she was a birth mom.
As she told her story and helped me understand what an open adoption was, something happened to me. Sure, there was a flutter in my heart – I was already in love (side note: we got married less than six months after the date), but something else was whispering in my ear. I was drawn to her honesty, compassion, vulnerability and bravery.
The night that my wife told me about her son was the night that I realized one of the greatest attributes a life partner can have is that of sacrifice. Her story made me understand true love, willingness to do for others and how humility can create and develop a warrior.
My wife is a Birth Mom. A bona fide hero. She put herself second in order to create a better life for her would-be son. It’s not that she would not have been a great mom at the time. I believe she would have been spectacular, but the time wasn’t right. Not then anyway.
The ensuing months and years have given me the blessing of getting to know him. I watched him walk down the aisle in our wedding as he delivered the ring, I tossed balls to him in the front yard and I saw him eat too much cake at birthdays. I witnessed him go through a disturbing and unhealthy Thomas the Train addiction. I’ve seen him graduate from junior high, high school and university. He has spent the night at our home in numerous states and I’ve even held falcons and owls with him on the coast of Ireland. And for a real emotional home run, I have watched him walk down a beach with our two college-aged daughters sharing stories and making memories.
I text with him. We joke about things. We share movie and music tips. I razz him about falling asleep after an overnight flight despite his promise to watch an important soccer match with me (one day I will forgive him for that). I pray for him anyway.
In short, I have watched him grow up. I will never be his father because he’s got a dad. I will never be his biological father because that’s covered too. But what I at least hope to give him is a nice third alternative. When I married a birth mom I adopted him into my heart. There’s no workshop for that, no support group and no dotted line to sign on. It’s just something that happened. I never thought twice about it. I love his birth mom, so I love him. Period. End of story. I’m like some kind of weird backup dad and I am proud to be waiting in the wings.
Sometimes I think back to the days of dating and laugh at how foolish I was. The things I was looking for in a partner. The things I thought were requirements. What I didn’t know until it hit me in the face is that what I really needed in a life partner was someone who was unapologetically and aggressively honest and loving.
Sometimes my wife talks to me about the struggles of birth moms. I hear specific stories from time to time about doubts and fears. I believe that choosing to place a child in an adoption is a terrifying, emotional and difficult decision (and those are just some of the words) that I will never be able to fully comprehend.
If you’re reading this and you’re a birth mom please let me tell you something: YOU ARE APPRECIATED, VALUED and RESPECTED.
It’s true, ya know? It is. Don’t push back or reject it. You deserve to be loved, hugged and cherished. I cannot think of one greater thing that a person can do to make the world a better place. It’s the sacrifice and gift of time, love, caring, planning and compassion. The best gift I ever received was probably an iPad or something. Think about how silly that sounds when compared to the gift you have given or are considering giving?
And for us guys? For us back-up, third string, alt-dads? Well, we will be here waiting. Some of us will be waiting to love a kid who comes into our life like mine did. Others will be looking forward to parenting their child through adoption. And many men, just like me, don’t know how hard they’re going to fall for the birth mom that tells them their story. On a first date. Over a cheeseburger. After they missed a flight