I wonder what she is doing right now. Is her sweet mama holding her, kissing her cheeks and telling her how much she is loved? Is her daddy blowing raspberries on her tummy and grinning at the sweet sound that comes from her perfect mouth. Is her big brother, laying on the floor beside her swing, telling her a story? Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what she’s doing. I know that she is loved, and that’s all that matters.
My name is Lydia and I placed my perfect little girl for adoption 2 days after she was born. The raw and painful memories of that day are still so very real for me. But, the absolute joy I got from looking at the faces of her parents radiating with pure love and adoration for that perfect baby girl was all I needed to reassure me that I was doing the absolute best and right thing for her. She had a family. One that had been waiting for her for far too long.
Rewind back 4 months......
I was 23, a full-time college student, about 5 months pregnant, and facing the most difficult decision of my life. The father of my child and I were not together. We knew that the life we would give to her was not one that we wanted. A life of constantly going back and forth, missing holidays, losing precious time with the other parent. It wasn’t the life we had envisioned for our sweet baby and we knew we could do better for her. She DESERVED better.
So, we settled on adoption.
I contacted an agency in my state. I was totally out of my element. I was adopted as an infant. Even though I was adopted by wonderful people, who loved me unconditionally, I had always wondered how someone could willingly be parted from their child. But, it’s easy to point fingers when you have no idea what you’re talking about. The adoption coordinator Amy, was the first to contact me. The amount of support that she gave me from the very first moment was absolutely amazing.
She let me know that what I was doing was a brave and noble thing.
Not something to be ashamed of. Amy and a birth mom advocate named Sara drove 6 hours just to meet me for dinner. They listened to me talk, walked me through the process, and most of all; reassured me that I was NOT ALONE.
I began the process of choosing a family not long after that dinner. I remember asking Amy and Sarah how in the world I was supposed to choose. How does one decide who they will entrust their most precious possession to based solely on a few pages full of words and pictures? All they could tell me was that many birth moms had said: “when you see them, you’ll just know.” So, with that in mind, I began to look at profile books. I had poured over each and every one that I had received from the agency. Nothing was standing out to me. Sure, every couple and family I read about was wonderful, and so deserving in their own very special way. Yet, I was so discouraged. Where was that feeling? The one where I just knew? Where were her parents?
And then, there they were. 2nd to the last profile book. The first thing that caught me was her beautiful smile. It was so bright. And like the sun, made you feel warm from the inside, out. She was absolutely beautiful.
Her husband had the look of a man you just knew you could trust. He had kind and loving eyes. At the moment, I felt it. That feeling they told me I would get. And, I just knew. These were her parents. The little girl, growing in my belly would come to know these wonderful people as “mommy and daddy.” Their profile book pages were filled with pictures of them and their sweet son in all sorts of settings. Having breakfast, delivering meals for charity, on vacation, swimming with dolphins. Everything I wanted in in life for my baby girl was right here. A mom, a dad, a big brother. A good life. I immediately let my adoption coordinator know that I had chosen the family for my daughter.
The next evening, I was on the phone with them. Discussing all of our hopes and dreams for my baby. Within a month, they had driven 2 days to meet me, get to know me, and explore the place that I so lovingly called home. Over the 4 months that we were matched, Her mom and I communicated almost every day. Getting to know each other. Knowing that we would forever be bound together by the perfect human growing inside of me. I asked her if she would be present with me while I labored and hold my hand when I brought our little girl into the world. They promised that they would speak of me to her every day. That they would never forget me or let her forget me. That they would tell her of my unending love for her and how much she was wanted.
When the time came, and our daughter was born, they did everything they promised. They never pushed me or made me feel as if I was in the way. They so graciously agreed to let me pump breast milk for her, and while they were waiting to get cleared to leave with her, let me bring it to her every morning. They never hesitated to put her into my arms whenever I wanted and let me hold her for as long as I wanted.
The night before they left, I went to their hotel room. I sat on the couch and held her tightly in my arms. I wept silently, unable to stop my tears from rolling down my face and onto her tiny sleeping body and willed every ounce of love I had for her to flow through my body and into her heart so that as she grows, she will never doubt that she is and forever will be so so loved by me. And when the time came for me to go, I stood up, walked across the room, kissed her tiny forehead, lips, and nose just one last time and placed her into her mommy’s waiting arms. Her mom wrapped us in her arms and hugged me tightly, promising to tell her that I love her every day. And as I turned to leave the room, I looked back just once more at my beautiful baby girl and her spectacular parents. They both smiled at me, tears falling from their eyes, reassuring me once more that it was okay to go, that she would be loved and cared for. That I made the right decision.
The love I have for my daughter is a brave love. She is my world. And although I know that I made the right decision, there are days when I just don’t feel like getting out of bed. There is a giant hole, in the shape of my daughter that will never be filled. But knowing that she is loved. Knowing that she will grow up in a home with a mother and father who love her more than anything is all I need to be okay.
I will stand to the side. I will watch her grow. I will cheer her on and be her biggest supporter. And on days when I feel as if I’m falling apart without her, I will remember that I am strong. I am brave. I am good. I am proud. I am a Birth Mom.
Lydia's Story is A BraveLove Resource. The mission of BraveLove is to change the perception of adoption through honest, informative, and hopeful communication that conveys the heroism and bravery a birth mother displays when she places her child with a loving family through adoption. For more information visit www.bravelove.org.