Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Son's Birthmom

My son Tyler's birthmom died two weeks ago, from an apparent drug overdose.  My husband called me while I was at a doctor's appointment to give me the news.  I cried for an hour straight.  Luckily noone else was in the office at the time except the office manager and she just kept supplying me with tissues.  I cried every day for a week after that and have been in kind of a funk ever since.  I just feel so badly.  She was a beautiful, strong girl who had been given very little in this life and was obviously troubled.  But I never imagined she would end up dead. 

She had two abortions before she decided to have Tyler and place him for adoption.  She has had two little boys since (from different fathers) and she kept them.  They are now being raised by the father's mother.  I can't even imagine my son in their shoes.  How did he, the one son of five, end up at our house?  My heart aches for them, and for Bonnie, and for my son Tyler.  When do you tell your son that his birthmom died?  He is only 7.  

The strange thing is that although we have not told him yet, he has been talking about her and his adoption all of a sudden.  Todd and I have been reading this book about a man who had a near death experience and he describes how our relatives who have died can come visit us on occasion for special reasons.  It makes me wonder if she has been allowed to come see him and impress upon him some things.  I do know that our relatives that are beyond the veil can come and help us in our time of need.  I believe that Tyler, more than any of my children has suffered attachment issues.  It makes me wonder if she is at least getting him to open up to us about his adoption.  Maybe not, but it does seem like a strange coincidence.  I have wondered where she is, and if she is suffering or if she is at peace.  If she has been here, I am grateful that she at least has been able to get him to open up and talk. 

We talked tonight at length.  He feels badly that Bonnie didn't keep him.  He wondered what she is like.  I told him that she was an amazing person, who was troubled.  She couldn't keep him, but she loved him very much and has never stopped loving him.  I told him his adoption story - I thought he already knew!  He said that he has felt "since he was four" that he belonged in our house.  He said it was like "someone or something" brought him here, "like the eagles in Narnia, who carried Prince Caspian and his friends to war."  He said he has always felt like he belonged here and that he was feeling that at the very moment we were talking.  He feels that way even though he misses her.

I need to learn more about adoption and attachment and the bonding process.  I think there is more to the bond a baby has with the mother who gave him life than we realize.  Although it saddens me, I am grateful that Tyler is mine and that Bonnie had the courage and determination to give him up.  Although I have been terribly conflicted about birthmoms and their place in my life, I love her and look forward to seeing her on the other side.  I hope she will be pleased with how I have raised her son.     


  1. Stephanie,

    You are amazing! For you to have so much love for someone you don't really know. I believe we agree before this life to take on hard things to help further God's love. Surly Tyler agreed to this little discomfort of adoption as to help so many in your family and his own biological family. And surly as share love you have for his biological mother he will learn compassion that will bless him far beyond any attachment issues. ... that's what I think anyway.

  2. Stephanie,

    I took an online class about adoption and the grieving process. Coincidentally, our FSA also did a class on it. What was interesting to me was the concept that all adoptive children grieve the loss throughout their entire lives. I think I always thought that my child would know no different because he only knows me as his mother and that was his "normal." He does, however, know that he's adopted and that he didn't come from my tummy and that creates a loss for him. I remember he fell apart one day while looking out my bathroom window at the river he is building in our backyard. He asked me if I thought his Grandpa Layne (my dad who died 4 years ago) could see it from Heaven? We talked about it and how G. Layne could indeed see it. He then started bawling about his birth mom and how he doesn't want to be adopted anymore. It was so out of the blue for me. So, I talked to the psychologists who presented for FSA and their opinion was that the feeling of grief was the same for his deceased grandpa as it was for his biological family and thinking about grandpa triggered it. I had never really thought about it before. But I do think we all mourn different things in our lives. I think life is kind of a continual mourning process of things we wished we had like: dreams never realized, the perfect family, the ideal job, etc. So, why wouldn't it apply to my 5 year old? He wishes he came from Heaven to my tummy and he grieves it. He doesn't want to be different, so that creates something to mourn even though he knows he's supposed to be a part of our family and he knows how much we love him. It's still a loss to him. Much like I continue to mourn the loss of my dad. It really helped me to see things and approach things differently as I thought about the concept that adopted children continually mourn what I think is essentially being "normal" or born to us. I mourned my infertility pretty hard, so I don't know why it didn't dawn on me that my adopted child wouldn't mourn coming to me the way that everyone thinks they'll come to their parents. I just simply hadn't thought about it. Okay, I've written so much and now I'm pretty sure that it has nothing to do with your initial post:) This may not make any sense either. LOL Sorry!

  3. Mikell,

    I didn't even know there were classes out there! You are lucky because we were never told to expect anything! I assumed the same thing as you - that they would not ever know the difference. And that the fact that they were adopted would be an intellectual idea that they thought about, much like "I have four siblings" or "my hair is brown." But I think that we cannot, no matter how much we would like, discount their biological connection. I am definitively going to be doing some more research! My heart aches for your Carter, and for my children. I hope the joy that they feel in our families will outweigh the loss that they feel over their birth families. Thanks for reading Mikell, and hope to see you and your cute family soon.