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Being An Involved Birth Mother

20 votes, average: 3.50 out of 520 votes, average: 3.50 out of 520 votes, average: 3.50 out of 520 votes, average: 3.50 out of 520 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5 (20 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)
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By Terri Rimmer

wrotomg contest finalistIt’s been seven years since I placed my only child for adoption in August 2000, the hardest and smartest thing I ever did. In that time my daughter McKenna has become a happy memory and I understood only a few years ago for the first time in my heart what one birth mom told me a long time ago – that it would get to be like I have a child out there somewhere and that she was happy but I wouldn’t get sad every time I thought of her and that she would be like a long lost relative. It was a weird feeling back in 2001 and one that I never thought I would get to. I didn’t believe out of all the birth moms who had placed seven, ten years ago or more that I would ever feel the way they assured me I would. I imagined myself telling new birth moms that the first year was the hardest and how I hated hearing that when I was new at this, too. I had begun feeling what felt like a little closure as McKenna’s first birthday crept up on me in 2001. It was coming soon and fast. I have a semi-open adoption which means I get letters, videos, pictures, cards, gifts, emails, and I send the same. I made a scrapbook for McKenna before she was born about my life and I write her letters on significant holidays and birthdays each year and send them. Luckily, I also get to see her twice a year – highly unusual in adoption cases. Unheard of in closed ones. When I used to go to a post-adoption support group I tried not to bring this good stuff up to the other birth moms who I knew didn’t get any or not many pictures or videos, emails; etc. I didn’t want to make them feel bad. And I felt bad for them. My best friend Stephanie who was my labor coach and with me through the whole thing once was surprised to hear that I was so privileged. She said she just assumed that all the birth moms got the same information. It used to be that the sound of a bunch of little girls’ laughter would echo as I left a store and I would wonder if I’d ever get through a day when that sound or the sight a little girl didn’t jerk at my numb heart or threaten to stir up tears. At the time I told myself I’d moved beyond it but I knew better. Then it became just like a sore with a scab. It had hardened in time but it was still there, just waiting to be scratched or poked. Now when I hear a little girl’s laughter or voice that is the same age as McKenna I smile inside and wonder what she’s doing today. People don’t understand why I send McKenna gifts or why I wanted to set aside some money for her. “She’s got everything she needs,” they’d say. I do it because I am her mom, because I love her. It isn’t about McKenna having plenty of toys or books. It is about me being her birth mother.

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