Showing gratitude in an adoption can be tricky business. How do you say thank you to the people who created the baby that becomes your son or daughter?
The moment I laid eyes on our daughter I was in love. I was immensely grateful to the couple who were making it possible for me to be her mom. How could I possibly express my gratitude to her birth parents?
While we all marveled at the new baby I saw the pride and love they had for her. And I saw their pain too. I saw them struggling with the thought of not parenting the baby they had created. I saw them hurting in ways I could only begin to imagine.
Logically I knew I wasn’t responsible for their pain or their struggle. I wasn’t responsible to fix their hurt. But emotionally I wasn’t convinced.
My gratitude didn’t feel like enough. They were making a sacrifice I would never make. Their loss was my gain. Therefore, I decided their emotional needs were more important than mine.
I felt I needed to make sure I never forgot their sacrifice. I wanted to find a way to ensure they understood how grateful I was for the tremendous gift they gave our family. If I was successful maybe it would ease their pain, make the struggle a little easier and help them heal. Maybe I could stop feeling responsible for their hurt.
So, I figured I needed to find a way to acknowledge and respond to their hurt whenever they asked me to. When they called I needed to answer. When they asked for pictures I needed to ask how many. When they told me they wished they never chose me to raise their daughter, I needed to accept it and absorb the pain.
Thankfully seven years of hindsight has brought a deeper understanding of my experience. I did not cause our daughter’s birthmother’s pregnancy. I did not make her chose adoption. I am not responsible for her healing.
I have shown gratitude toward our daughter’s birth parents. I have said thank you many times and each time I did I meant it. And I show my gratitude, for both my children, every day by continuing to be the best parent I can be.