Through My Eyes
This is the third of three essays which an adoptive mom wrote about the adoption of her son and his meeting his birth mom 18 years later. The birth mom wrote the this essay. All are well written, moving, and a tribute to the love and devotion two mothers share for their child.
Through My Eyes… A Birth Mother’s Perspective
By Bobbie Jo Martin-Hughley
I wrote a letter February 18, 2008, to Attorney Steven Kirsh regarding the adoption of my son he handled 18 years ago. I was not really able to speculate the outcome and I half expected no results at all, but I asked if he could possibly arrange a meeting and or written correspondence with my son and his family.
To my surprise, by son’s adoptive mother called me just two days later. I was speechless and wanted to cry but I held my composure. I’m often at a loss for words. She asked if she could meet with me first. “Yes, certainly,” I said. We arranged a meeting at Starbucks for the following Saturday. The rest of the week I was a nervous wreck. I wanted them to like me. I wanted them to know that I simply would like to meet my baby now grown up, and to possibly get to know him a little. Nothing more.
Saturday came. I wondered what to wear. I even wondered if I should buy the coffee. I was so nervous, my husband prayed with me before I left the house. As I got closer to the coffee shop, I was so excited and anticipated I might be a bit emotional. After all, I thought, I am meeting the parents of the baby I gave up 18 years ago. I hoped that I would not say something silly. As I walked into Starbucks, they stood and greeted me with hugs and tears.
They handed me an envelope of pictures they had gathered for me. As I stared at first picture I was totally speechless and finally the only thing that came out of my mouth was a tearful, “I could never have raised him as you have.”
The two people sitting in front of me were warm, patient, funny, and intelligent. I saw then the kind of love my baby had grown up with. I desperately wanted them to know that I would never want to interfere with that. After an hour or so of an emotional first meeting, I left totally filled with a sense of peace. But I still wondered if my son would in fact want to meet me and his sisters.
A few days later – it seemed like forever – I received a phone call from his mom saying that he did in fact want to meet us. We agreed to meet for dinner at a restaurant called The Journey on Friday, February 29, at 5:30pm. I was elated with the news and could barely finish working the rest of the day. I arranged to get off work early so I could prepare for my meeting with him. I called my husband and everyone else I could think of to spread the wonderful news, then and only then was I able to finish my work.
As we approach the restaurant I begin to nearly hyperventilate. What will he think of me? Will he be disappointed? Will he be embarrassed? All these thoughts go through my head as we walk towards the entrance of the restaurant. I suck it up and go in. I search for them, and I see his mom walking towards us. My son is sitting next to his dad. Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! This is it! This is really it! I am really meeting my son! A lump swells in the back of my throat and I swallow hard. He stands up with a big smile on his face as I walk toward the table. I stand speechless with my hand to my mouth. No words can express that moment which is forever engraved in me. He spreads his arms and embraces me as I embrace him with tears of joy and pain. My pain finally has closure. I can heal now. I can move past all my wrongs and replace them with the comfort of knowing I made a good decision for real, for once in my life.
My daughter hit it off very well with her brother right away, which does not surprise me at all as she is very outgoing and self confident. The two of them made connections with their musical interests and abilities as well as their possible career choices. Although they look more alike in early pictures, they are clearly brother and sister possessing the very same genes as their birth mother and birth father. This moment blessed me richly.
The evening went very well. He was able to ask me two questions which evoked emotional answers. I was so happy to be answering these questions and I want to answer more. I felt at the end of the evening that there was more he wanted to ask but was not able to. As we parted we all hugged.
Feeling anxious, I went home and after pacing for a few minutes with millions of thoughts running through my head, I went to my bedroom and cried. These were tears of joy, pain, old memories, years of wondering, and envy. I wanted, no I needed to talk, but my husband was at work and my younger girls just don’t understand the intensity of my feelings about this. So instead I internalized it and remained a quiet mess through the night.
Then a few weeks later on March 22, we again met for dinner, this time at my home, which as it turns out is just 20 minutes from where my son grew up. My husband and younger girls were happy to finally meet him – the girls had really wanted to meet him right away. My parents and my oldest daughter were there along with my son, his parents, and his 15 year old brother. It was a real houseful. All five kids between 15 and 20 sat at the kitchen table and talked and laughed and teased one another like old friends. We shared more photos and stories, and watched March Madness college basketball on TV.
The evening was over too quickly. In hindsight, it felt more like a regular family gathering than the momentous occasion it really was.