This is a new rule that I have set for myself. No more adoption books before bed. Last night, as I was trying to unwind from my second full day back at school, I decided to pick up one of our adoption books and read a bit before I fell asleep. Carla was next to me on her iPad. Before I knew it, tears were running down my face and Carla was asking if I was going to be okay.
I don't know what exactly happens, but no matter what I seem to read about adoption, I somehow end up crying. Sometimes they are tears of sadness, sometimes they are tears of joy, sometimes they are tears of fear, and most often they are a mix of all three.
This particular night, I was reading about the moment when an adoptive couple watches a birth mother say goodbye to her baby. This is not something that I had thought much about, but something that I am so thankful that I read. While the description broke my heart and the thought of actually experiencing such a moment ourselves was almost too much to bear, I am unbelievably thankful that I am at least aware of what is going to happen. I cannot imagine what it must be like to find yourself in such a moment without at least being aware of what is about to happen. The fact that I was thankful to have this information, made it no easier to get control of myself and my tears. So there I was, crying in bed, totally unsure if I really was emotionally strong enough to handle the road that is ahead of me.
While I found the description of this moment difficult to handle, it also gave me a new found respect for birthmothers and a new found respect for the concept of an open adoption. The description of this powerful moment led me to a new understanding of the incredible sacrifice that a birthmother makes for her child. She is selflessly thinking about what is best for her child and putting aside the intense emotional trauma that this act is causing for her. What an amazing thing. These women deserve our utmost respect and they also deserve to know about what happens after their children leave the hospital. An open adoption allows a birthmother to continue that connection with her child and I now understand why that is so important. Ultimately, I believe it is the best thing for the child himself, but I also can now see the true benefits to everyone involved.
As I go along this journey, as I gather more information, I often find myself asking, "Am I really ready for this? Can I really handle all this?" Reading about this moment really did leave me unsure of the answers to these questions. But, when I put the books down, when I let myself fall asleep in the arms of the person I love, and when I woke up in the morning, more well-rested, I knew the answer was yes. While the road ahead is going to be hard, yes, we are ready for this and yes we can really handle all of this. The answers always seem more clear in the morning and that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly why I have imposed the "no more adoption books before bed" rule.