Written by: Amanda Hadfield
I remember quite vividly the first moments after placing my birth daughter into her parent’s arms. I hugged her one last time, told them to take care of her for me, and left, not knowing if I’d ever see her again. My heart was broken that day.
I knew that choosing to place her for adoption was the right thing to do, and I undoubtedly knew that her parents were always meant to be, but that confidence didn’t take away the sorrow that had overcome me. I felt as though I wasn’t allowed to be happy. I had just brought a baby into this world, I had given her life, given her love, and gave her a forever home, but I couldn’t bring myself to be happy. It was as if I laughed or smiled, a sound barrier would be broken and some unspoken rule shattered. I didn’t know how to wrap my mind around what I was feeling.
I was in a daze for weeks. I’m told I walked around with a sort of glaze over my eyes, and carried the blanket I held her in at the hospital with me everywhere I went. I never knew my heart could feel so much pain. One morning I woke up and knew that I had to recognize what I did know. I had made the right choice for my baby, and drowning myself in the pain was not the best choice for me. I had to find happiness.
It’s a remarkable feeling to open your eyes to the goodness around you. Quite frankly, it’s everywhere. Finding joy in every situation doesn’t mean there will be nothing but happiness in your life, but it sure makes the hard times easier. I found joy in the pictures her adoptive parents would send me. I found joy in their smiles; I found joy in hers. I knew that regardless of the pain I was feeling, that she was happy, and THAT overpowered all the heartache in the world. I found joy in knowing she was being well taken care of, and that her parents loved her in a way I never could. Her happiness, brought me happiness. Their love, gave me love.
It’s been 9 years since I placed my sweet T into the arms of her parents. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of her, and not a month goes by where I don’t cry. I cry both tears of pain, and tears of joy. So often people tell me that I just need to move on; for me it’s not a matter of moving on but a matter of growing stronger. I will never move on from the little girl I placed 9 years ago. I will always love her. I will always long to hold her in my arms, but my struggle is small compared to how it once felt. My heart is stronger now.
I went through a period of time where how I once felt afraid to be happy, I now felt afraid to be sad. It was as if once an allotted amount of time had passed I needed to stop letting it affect me. I was foolish for feeling that way. Just as I was allowed to laugh, I was also allowed to cry. There is healing in crying. Holding back on our bad days isn’t good for anyone. We tend to bottle it all up and then one day it’s triggered and our emotions explode and we find ourselves saying, “I didn’t know I still felt this way. “
There are positives and negatives to every adoption story. I will not pretend as if my bad days aren’t BAD but I also won’t deny that when I have my good days, sometimes they really are just that good. I’ve allowed myself to heal. I’ve allowed myself to be happy too, and I’ve learned that quite often tears accompany joy.
There is no reason to not find happiness in each of our stories. At the end of the day, there is happiness somewhere. While our hearts might still ache for the children we placed for adoption, the hearts of their adoptive parents are singing. While our lives might feel empty at times, the lives of our birth children are filled with love. I could easily dwell on the negatives of my own adoption story, and pick apart the things my birth daughters parents have done, but that won’t bring me anywhere. I cannot change what I can’t control and the only person I can control is me.
Don’t be afraid to let yourself cry, but when you shed that last tear, open your eyes and find the good in your story. It’s there. It may be hiding, and often times harder to find than not, but it is there. I promise. Open your eyes and look for the good, and then allow yourself to cry again.
You can read more from Amanda on her personal blog: www.cryinggetsthesadout.blogspot.com