A little more than eight years have passed since that life-changing visit with my Birth Mother, Robin. I’ve spent many hours processing our time together and pondering how we fit into one another’s lives. Relationships are complicated. Adoption is also complicated. My perspective on life and on myself has changed a lot since our first meeting. Some of that evolution relates to how I’ve come to understand the story of my adoption and some is simply the result of my being a twenty-something newlywed.
“Relationships are complicated. Adoption is also complicated. My perspective on life and on myself has changed a lot since our first meeting.”
Robin and I have had two more visits since then. I even got the chance to meet my two half-brothers, Antonio and Victor. Antonio and I share striking similarities, which kind of blows my mind. Three years ago, Robin happily accepted my invitation to read scripture at my wedding. To stand at the altar next to my groom, with my mom and my Birth Mom both just a few feet away, was incredible.
Just before Robin left to go home after our first visit, she sat me down in our living room and handed me a journal. The outside of the journal was decorated with red and blue flowers and the inside was full of hand-written, heartfelt, soul-bearing pages. Robin had started the journal during her pregnancy with the intention of one day giving it to me.
During the past eight years, I’ve poured over each of its pages many, many times and never without tears. Those pages told me a story I never knew. Robin was 26 when she found out she was pregnant. She was overwhelmed and confused and didn’t know which direction to turn. My Birth Father wasn’t really in the picture after his family found out that Robin was pregnant, so she was left on her own. Not knowing where else to turn, she got in her car and drove to California from Louisiana to be near her mom.
Robin spent the next few months weighing her options and contemplating life as a single mother. She knew in her gut that despite how loudly her emotions were screaming, she couldn’t provide me with what she believed I deserved. She wanted to break the generational cycles of fatherlessness and instability that had defined her past. It wasn’t about money or material things but about giving me a loving, supportive family – a mom and a dad who loved each other and who could provide for my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. She deeply desired to be enough for me but selflessly chose to put my needs first.
That precious, flowery journal has provided insight into what Robin went through as she first made the decision against abortion and then later, for adoption. Though painful to read, those pages have helped me understand just how difficult, yet intentional her decision was. She wanted her enormous love to be enough for me, but she forced herself to face the reality of her situation. Her journal entry from Sept. 23rd, 1990 read: “I feel very angry that I don’t have the resources to keep her. I mean, if we could live off love, we would be very rich, but that is not the case.”
Reading Robin’s journal didn’t change the narrative for me. Her recorded version of the events mirrored what my parents had always told me growing up: “Your birth mom loved you and wanted the best for you.” But after reading her own words, in her own handwriting and hearing the intensity of her emotion in those pages, I realized for the first time how much Robin’s decision devastated her. And this realization, thus devastated me as well.
Sacrificial Love. Adoption is stone-cold sacrifice. It is the definition of love in action. Robin’s act of giving me life, placing me in the arms of my parents and then walking out of that hospital as she struggled with each step, epitomizes maternal love.
“Sacrificial Love. Adoption is stone-cold sacrifice.”
I do understand that this is just my story. I know that adoption impacts people in a myriad of ways. Regardless, this is my story. Thank you, Robin, for choosing to put me first, despite the cost to yourself. Thank you for having the courage to say “no,” to popular culture and for instead quieting your heart and refusing to be swayed.
You are my hero.
Your actions have caused me to ponder the question of what it means to love, even when it requires deep personal sacrifice. That is a rare kind of love, the kind that points me right back to the author of it all, my Heavenly Father.