Tuesday, November 16, 2010

guest blogger: an adoptive fathers love for birthmothers

todays guest blogger is shane, husband of megan, and therefore part of the arizona experiment. this wonderful couple asked me to guest blog for them last year  (2009) for ntl adoption month so i was quite excited to return the offer this year! i have had the privilege to get to know them better this past year via facebook, they do so many wonderful things for adoption, including a yeehaw fantastic southwest regional families supporting adoption conference last month, they are such a fantastic example of openness, love and acceptance towards all birthparents. they are mighty adoption warriors and a strong voice for adoption advocacy and education. i specifically asked shane to share his thoughts because we so often in bloggy land hear from females, i thought a lil testosterone to balance the scale would be a nice touch. thanks shane, all of us at birthmothers4adoption are so very grateful for [adoptive] fathers like you. adoption luvs, desha 
halloween 2010 shane with children ruby and carter
Megan and I found out early on in our marriage that her heart condition made pregnancy far too risky an option to build our family.  We decided soon thereafter that we wanted to build our family through adoption after prayerfully and carefully considering our options.  Adoption was not foreign to us at the time.  My father was adopted as a young man, which allowed him to transition from an unfavorable family situation into a strong and loving family that welcomed him as their own.  We were also fortunate to see Megan’s sister go through an international adoption experience to complete her family.  After being married and planning to adopt for almost five years, and attending three rounds of adoption workshops, I felt like I had a good understanding of adoption going into our first placement.  I had heard the adoption experiences of many birth mothers, adoptive parents, as well as those of many adults and children that were adopted.  Megan and I had laughed with them and cried with them as they shared the assortment of emotions that accompanied each of their unique adoption journeys.
family of four, soon to be family of 5 any day now! 
Now, as an adoptive father of two (possibly three by the time you read this), I look back and realize that I had only scratched the surface of understanding those adoption experiences.  Before adopting Carter, I respected birth mothers for making a difficult choice, but I think I had more of a self-focused view that I had a loving home to provide for a child and feeling of entitlement to be a parent because I had been through a long period of wanting a child and not being able to have one.  I felt more that I was giving the gift of fatherhood to a woman who didn’t have a father to offer her child.  Looking back at that mindset just makes me groan inside.

While I am still miles from perfect, I can now begin to understand how short-sighted I was.  I never could have imagined the love that I could feel for the women that carried my children from Heaven to my arms.  It is a special relationship that few get the opportunity to experience.  It’s different from the love I feel for my closest friends.  It’s different from the love I feel for my wife, my mother, or my sisters.  But, I think the love I feel for Carter and Ruby’s birth mothers draws a portion from each of those relationships, and at the same time is a type of love that I feel only for them.  I met Ruby’s birth mother for just a few minutes, but regardless of her personal decision to not have contact with us after placement, I still feel this same great love for her.  The love for my children’s birth mothers seems to automatically extend to some degree to any woman I meet that made the same selfless decision to place her child for adoption.  At times I even feel mildly guilty that others I meet have to earn my trust and respect, when they have it the moment I meet them.  While it breaks my heart to hear anyone be critical of the personal and sacred decision to place, I have to step back and remember the magnitude of the experiences it took me to become less judgmental today than I used to be.  If those critics could only begin to understand the pain and emptiness that a birth mother voluntarily experiences in placing their child for adoption, they might also begin to understand that nothing could cause someone to make and follow through with that decision, except that they love that child more than they even love themselves.

I can’t finish talking about birth mothers without mentioning birth fathers.  I am grateful and amazed by those birth fathers who choose to be involved and supportive in the placement of their child, and those that choose to have an open relationship with that child.  Because of the limited association that I have personally been able to experience with birth fathers, I lack the perspective to understand the internal struggle of those who appear resistant or apathetic to the placement of their child must feel.  In general, they seem to keep those emotions closely guarded, but that doesn’t make them any less real.  My heart goes out to these birth fathers and I hope that as time goes on I can become more sympathetic and understand that there is an element of love that is entwined in any of these actions.

One thing I have learned from my experiences as an adoptive father is that birth mothers are not caring and selfless women because they placed their child for adoption.  They placed their child for adoption because they are caring and selfless.  I am a better person than I would otherwise be because I have met and associated with these women, and hope that their lives can be equally blessed by others.  I know that Carter and Ruby were meant to come to our family, and our Father sent them to their birth mothers because He knew they could make the difficult decision that would bring them to us.  I am humbled by this prospect. 

Every adoptive parent has to answer the question to themselves of whether they can love a child they adopt as much as a child that shares their DNA.  I can only offer the perspective of an adoptive father, but I feel I have an even greater responsibility to love my children and give them every opportunity I can because I have been entrusted with them not only by God, but also by women who broke her own hearts to give me that same trust.

carter and his birthmother


Katie BQ said...

Oh my gosh, you have me in tears, Shane. Thank you so much for your words! I love hearing from your viewpoint.

Jessalynn Speight said...

Shane is seriously one of the most kind and loving people I have ever met. He and Megan are so service oriented and willing to help anyone! You guys rock!!

Kelsey Stewart, Author said...

"I have an even greater responsibility to love my children and give them every opportunity I can because I have been entrusted with them not only by God, but also by women who broke her own hearts to give me that same trust."

What an amazing man you are Shane, and I am pretty sure there are a few women jealous of Megan right now to have such a compassionate man by her side. Thank you not just for this post, but for just being you! And a BIG THANK you from all of us birth mothers who only wish others understood our journey as well as you do! God Bless Ya!

Jewls said...

What an amazing post! The love we feel for our son's birth mom is definitely hard for people to understand, but we would never trade our experiences and having her in our life for anything!

Love your blog!!

Unknown said...

Wow! Wonderful post. Thank you so much. I am tired and worn out as I have struggled to defend and explain my daughters open adoption to people that "know" it is a "bad" decision. They don't understand the connection we all feel for each other. I know her son's adoptive family loves her every bit as I do. Thank you for bouying me up with your blog.

Frizzy said...

I wish we lived close to one another because I know you and my husband would be fast friends. You share the same thoughts and feelings he does about our own birthmother. Thank you! I'm glad to have found your blog.

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