When you are going through the hardest thing in your life – you never, ever think that one day you might be able to support someone else because of going through that hardest thing. You never, ever think that you will even come out on the other side of that hardest thing, when you are going through it, and even sometimes, for years and years after. For me, the hardest thing I have ever done is place my daughter LeeAnn for adoption when I was 19 years old. I made the choice. No one forced me. But, it was the hardest choice I ever made.
A few months ago, when I saw that my good friend Ashley was in the midst of her own adoption journey, I reached out to let her know I was happy to support her or talk with her, as she and her husband, Jonathan were trying to adopt a child and wanted to create an open and mindful experience throughout the process. They had come up against a few obstacles along their path – but were now connected to an amazing woman, who was pregnant and who wanted to place her child with them. She chose them and they chose her. Ashley and I talked non stop for almost two hours during our first call. We found that even though she was on the “other side” of the experience, it was still so important to her to know all of my feelings and also as many details as I could recount of the reunion between my daughter and I, and also the amazing relationship I now have with her mother. Ashley and I ended the call with me telling her I would be happy to connect with the birth mother, if she felt that she wanted to talk with me.
We first talked about 10 days before she gave birth to Risden. It was incredible to have the honor of speaking to the amazing woman, who was getting ready to also, face one of the hardest choices she would ever have to make. What struck me about her was that she was so GRATEFUL for Ashley and Jonathan. That was her attitude. One of complete and total gratitude. Ashley and Jonathan were her birthing team. Ashley took her to yoga, to get pedicures and massages. They became her family. They all talked at length about the choices they were making, together. And, as much as Ashley and Jonathan were thankful to find her, she could not believe she had found these amazing people to raise her son. They were all in love with what they were creating together – a world for Risden, a sense of completeness for Ashley and Jonathan and their desire and dream to parent a child and the chance for her to lead the life she planned – and then one day, when she was ready, to start her own family – one that Risden would be a part of.
I spoke to her in the hospital. It was a scary moment. It was THE moment. The one they all planned and prepared for – but could never know that for all of them – it was going to be the hardest thing. They leaned on love and the promises they made to this precious new life.
I am still in contact with the birth mom. In fact, she came to visit me and is planning another trip in a few weeks. We have an instant bond and connection and meeting her and being a part of her life and journey has been more healing to me than I ever imagined possible. We all have scars – and she is choosing to honor hers by boldly and bravely looking into the future to live a life full of possibility. She and Ashley and Jonathan are also still in communication, daily. Ashley sends her pictures, she has already come to visit and they have future visits planned.
When I met my daughter my own mom gave me this amazing and wonderful advice to some of the fears I had around all of the “what ifs”. She said, “Love is not like a pie. You don’t just cut it up into slices and once you give it away it is all gone. The more love you give, the more there is to give. Love just keeps growing.”
I think sometimes “the hardest things” when done with because of love, with love and for love can open us up to more love than we ever thought possible.
The image above is me with Ashley and Risden.