October 16, 2013

A First Mother (Birthmother) Rocked My World

"One person can do unbelievable things. All it takes is that one person who's willing to risk everything to make it happen.”  
~ Sam Childers, Another Man's War

A first mom just rocked my world.  

I began my recent leave of absence, with an intense time of grieving.  My natural mom had just died. She made the devastating choice of keeping the secret of my natural father's identity -- taking it to the grave, and never giving me the one thing I desperately needed from her.

Photo Credit: Wwooton1, Flickr

I would wake up in the morning, crying before I even stepped out of bed. 

Brushing my teeth was a major event.

 The feelings of loss were unexplainable. One day I said, “God, my greatest prayer is that nobody ever has to face this pain that I’m experiencing right now. What can I do? How can I help others?”
The situation with finding my natural father felt hopeless and sometimes still feels like a lost cause, even though I have a great search team.

 Asking for Insight

On many days I’ve said, “It’s a wash for me. Finding my natural father seems hopeless, but God…how can I change things for others?”

At first I thought maybe He would lead me to some type of legal action, getting involved in politics or some other avenue to fight for change. I was open, to anything God wanted me to do. But I just didn’t know what to do.  And I didn't want to make a move without praying it through.

I sat in the silence, walked, worshipped, prayed and pleaded...“God, show me.”

Recently, He asked me a question. 

It's one of the hardest questions I’ve ever been asked.

He asked me if I was willing to be a sacrifice.

Did He Really Just Ask Me That???

I knew exactly what he meant. 

And I wasn't happy.

A work had already started in my heart along those lines, although a part of me didn’t want to face it.

I didn’t answer right away. I wanted to set the rules for God, and I know that never, ever works. 

What he was specifically asking me was…could I agree to sacrifice what my heart longs for, in order for others to have what they need? 

Could I be okay if I never know my natural father, in order to use my situation to bring greater awareness and hopefully – make it so that others don’t have to face this?

Seriously, God???

I didn't want to hear that!!!

It gets old...going through stuff so that others can be helped.
This isn't my first rodeo with that.

With so many situations in life, I've apparently encountered them in order to help others. Every time I go through a challenge, there have been older and wiser believers who have said, "Just think of all the people you're going to help!" 

I've cried out at the altar, "God, I don't want to help any more people!!!! Why don't you send somebody to help ME??? Did you ever think of THAT, God?"
Right away I wanted to set stipulations. 

"God you need to do this...God you need to do that..."
 Things went so much better when I resigned as General Manager of the Universe.

So after reflection I said, "Well, maybe. I'll think about it,  but my first reaction is...no. I don't want to sacrifice for one person. Maybe for thousands. This is some seriously bad pain. It's worse than listening to Justin Bieber all night on repeat. It's hell. I don't want to do this for one person.  Please, let this be huge. If I'm a sacrifice, make me the biggest, most freaking enormous sacrifice, EVER. "

And then I realized, for even one person….it’s gigantic.
This pain is unexplainable, even for one. 

I am just one.

And if anyone did this for me, I'd be eternally grateful.

Letting it Percolate in My Spirit

I prayed about it a few days and said, “I’m not sure you’re asking me to actually do that, or if you’re just asking me if I’m willing. You asked Abraham to lay Issac down but you didn’t really expect him to go through with it, you just wanted to know if he was willing. Maybe you’re literally asking me to. Then again, maybe you’re not but you just want to see my heart.  I know you well enough to know that you see clearly through to my heart and know if I’m bull crapping you or not.  So I needed to pray through this and be able to give you an honest yes or no. And after all that, I can't even believe I'm saying this, but...my answer is, yes. Although it hurts... yes.”

Photo Credit: USFS Region 5, Flickr
I had no idea what a yes would mean.

How in the world could I be instrumental to affect a change in someone's life in this regard? I can't even locate my own natural father, but God may want to use me to help find somebody else's?

When God asked me about my willingness to be used in this way, I didn't know how I would possibly be helpful.

 After a Yes, Comes A Miracle...

A few days later after having this conversation with the Lord, my family was riding down the road on our way to a special dinner to celebrate our son Jordan's recent promotion. 

My husband was driving and I was checking mail on my phone. Seeing the contents of an email from a first mother (known as birthmother to some), I was overwhelmed with emotion. 

My family thought something was wrong. Through a broken, faltering voice I said, "It's good..." so they wouldn't be alarmed. My tears were happy ones, though I could not speak for a while. 

The first mother who wrote shared with me that she has been reading my blog for quite a while. On many days it has left her unsettled. She hasn’t agreed with me on a lot of things. But the past few months, reading my story of what happened with my natural mom’s decision to not tell me about my natural father's identity, really affected her. 

You see, this first mom has never shared with anyone – not her parents, siblings, nor her adult son, Seth* who she relinquished for adoption and is now in reunion with -- about his father. 

Seth has asked for his father's name, and she has refused.  She has shared with him the story of his conception/birth but has never agreed to give him the name of his father. 

Like many adoptees, Seth has life controlling issues. Reading my posts of overwhelming grief and how my natural mother's decisions have affected me, his natural mother realized the pain her secret is causing.

Photo Credit: IRIS Remembers, Flickr

Releasing the Secret

Although she will not be sharing the information of Seth's father's identity with the rest of her family, she has come to realize that she and Seth are the rightful co-owners of the information of who his father is. She shared with me a letter she had written to Seth, which included his father’s name, address, phone number and a photo. She also validated his pain and suffering brought about by relinquishment and adoption, and expressed her love for him.

I know what this will mean for Seth.

We’ve never met personally, but he’s worth it.
He’s so worth it.

Courage to Tell Our Stories

I have come to realize that had my mother not made the decision to treat me as she did, I would not have had opportunity to write about this.

The same thing that has happened to me has occurred to other adoptees. 

But everyone doesn't have the courage to write publicly about it. 

I am not sure why everything has happened like it has. 
I probably will not know until heaven.
I do know this...
My natural mom made a wrong choice and it hurt me terribly. 

Then, I had a choice as to what to do with that experience. 

I’ve chosen to  forgive, but I’ve also made a decision to go public. I refused to keep my pain private in order to appease my natural mother, or anybody. 

I didn’t realize it at the time but writing so publicly about what occurred and how I processed it is one way to bring huge change in people’s lives. 

 When we hide our pain, nobody else can benefit from it.  

All of the changes don’t happen in politics, on a legislative floor or in a courtroom.
Sometimes change comes by someone reading a blog and having it touch their heart and make a different decision than they were making before. 

Tonight a man named Seth has answers he has waited on for a long time. 

I don’t even know what Seth looks like but I have imagined him opening the letter and gazing at his natural father’s name and face for the first time. 

I think about what it will feel like for Seth to look upon a face that looks like his. 

I know what it means for him. 

My heart is so happy for Seth. 

What about you?

Lots of first mothers read here. (I'm honored.)  If you are a first mother and you have made the devastating choice of withholding your son or daughter’s personal information from them concerning their father, I beg you to reconsider.

If your son or daughter is still alive…please, please...I beg you to do the right thing.  
Don't wait any longer.
Do it now.
Do it today. 

And if you do it, will you let me know, even anonymously? Pretty please, with sugar and post-adoption sprinkles on top.

I promise to never share your name. Just knowing that you have made this decision and someone else in this world will not ever have to go through what I've been through, gives purpose to my pain and makes a difference.

Thank you.

*Not his real name