“A Mother’s love for her child is like no other love. To be able to put that feeling aside because you want the best for your child is the most unselfish thing I know.”
I was born in September 1977 and put into foster care immediately after the birth. Exactly 3 weeks after my birth, my parents met with my biological Mother at her apartment where foster care had brought me, for the purpose of having her physically hand me over to my parents. They were so excited, nervous, and joyful that they were both unsure who should carry me down the stairs when they left because they feared their knees would buckle.
My parents had not shared with anybody but the members of their church about the ongoing adoption process, not even with family. The church threw them a baby shower prior to my arrival since it had been 9 years since their last child. When my parents left my birth Mother’s apartment, they drove to where my Dad’s Mother worked to surprise her. They had her paged several times, announcing for her to “come meet her grandson.” My parents had raised dogs over the years, so her first thought was “Oh great, they got another dog,” and she didn’t answer any of the pages. After about 3 or 4 attempts to coax her out, she finally came to the front desk, shocked at what she saw. It was then her opportunity to show off, as she paraded me around her workplace displaying me to everybody.
In another attempt to surprise the family, my parents took me to my Grandparent’s house, where they sat me up in my Grandfather’s chair - a chair nobody else sat in other than him. My Grandmother called for him to come into the room, and upon seeing me propped up, his first thought was that I was a doll - until I moved. He was overjoyed at the revelation, relishing at all the details of the news.
Afterward, my Aunt and Uncle were called over to share in the surprise. I always knew I was adopted growing up, in fact, I don’t ever remember not knowing. A book my parents gave me, The Chosen Baby by Valentina P. Wasson, spelled out the entire adoption process in easy-to-understand terms for a child. Inscribed inside the cover, “To our Little Brian to help you to know how you came to be our very special “Chosen Baby!” Love, Mommy & Daddy” as well as “A son at last!!” This became a book that I read often in my childhood years, primarily because it made me feel good. It emphasized that I was chosen by my parents, not that I was unwanted by my biological Mother - a feeling I never felt, as a matter of fact.
I always believed that I was given up because she didn’t think she could give me the life I deserved, so she gave me to people she believed could. I always felt wanted and loved by my parents and family, always made to feel special because of the circumstances of how I came to be a family member. It probably helped that I was the only boy, further cementing my “special” status.
As an adult who has dealt with depression, I have engaged in reflective self-awareness to figure out if I ever put unwarranted pressure on myself as a child to be “more” because I was adopted. Did I feel that my parents wanted a “perfect child,” so that’s what I tried to be for them? They never made me feel less than, or that they wanted me to be more than I was to them; however, there was an instance in my childhood when I wrote a letter with a “plan” to run away because I felt that nobody wanted me.
Was it possible that despite what I thought I felt, somewhere in my subconscious was a belief that I really was unwanted because I was given up by my biological Mother? Was this the cause of my depression? For my lack of self-love and feeling that I was undeserving or unworthy of anything?
My childhood was a typical 1980’s suburban upbringing. I had great relationships with my parents, my older sisters, as well as friends at school and in the neighborhood. I played sports, had plenty of toys, took vacations, engaged in activities, and aside from your stereotypical excessive childhood wants, I was never without that which I needed. I didn’t give much thought to the question “Why am I the way that I am?” I didn’t look at my friends and their family’s identifying commonalities while looking at mine noticing differences. I was just a kid, and you just don’t give consideration to that kind of thing when you’re so young.
My Grandparents and my biological Grandparents lived in that same small town. On occasional trips there for Thanksgiving or Christmas, my parents would drive down the street that my biological Grandparents lived on, and would point out their house telling me, “If you EVER want to know about, or want to attempt to meet your biological family, this is where your grandparents live.” I was always encouraged to seek out the information I might someday want or need, even if at that age it was nothing that interested me. It was something I always kept tucked away in the back of my mind, and would ultimately use one day, when I was ready.