I received an interesting email a few months ago. I meant to respond to it, but I actually forgot about the email until I began cleaning out my inbox this week. So here's the gist of what it said (most sentences have been edited for grammar purposes):
"I was following your blog you sound so brave and full of life. I am glad that everything turned out well for you and your daughter. But one thing strikes me. I did not find any answers to "why " you chose adoption. Was it not possible for you to keep your daughter? Don't you have any regrets? If the choice is between closed adoption or open adoption, open adoption seems best, but I think you will get many messages from birthmothers which will tell you you make things sound too rosey, too pinkish. I know two women who committed suicide after their promised open adoption was closed by the adoptive mother; they felt betrayed. I know someone who was hospitalized after having her second child for depression. There are so many not allowed to form a bond with their children and they visit like distant relatives. So that is the thing adoption is about loss first. Yes, you save a baby, but sometimes you give up the mother. And I think you underestimate this. In a way, you advertise adoption. And that is what I do not like about your site. This is the rosey open adoption story forums or Bethany adoption tells. I think instead of helping women to give up their children to adoption, many more things should be done to help them raise their kids. I think that some cases of adoption are not necessary, but women do not trust themselves and their maternal instincts. They buy into what they are told until it is too late. I think adoption is one of the worst things that can happen to a woman and to a baby."I have chosen to respond publicly to this email because I think that it will help other people who feel similarly to understand where I'm coming from.
First and foremost, thank you for reading my blog and for taking the time to contact me. I believe I have addressed the issue of why I chose adoption many times throughout my blog. I'll explain it again. Ultimately, it all comes down to the fact that I could not provide the means (emotional, psychological, financial, you name it) to support a child at the age of 18. Of course that wasn't an easy decision. In fact, it took me nine stressful months to figure it out and a long time afterwards to fully accept it. Fortunately, I was mature enough to realize that my daughter needed more than Robbie and I could provide for her. If love was all it takes to raise a child, then I'm pretty sure that we would have been the best parents ever. But it does take a whole lot more than that. After meeting Don and De, we realized that open adoption would provide Deanna with the absolute best chance at living a happy and successful life. And with the added benefit of maintaining our relationship? Priceless. Open adoption has been amazing, to say the least. Difficult at times, but amazing nonetheless.
I completely agree that more needs to be done to assist women who choose to parent. In fact, that's why I devoted four years of my undergraduate degree at NC State to establishing and leading a student organization that advocates resources for pregnant, parenting, and post-abortive students. As the former president of Real Choices, I worked to set up a network of student moms, to provide free childcare services to student moms, and to meet with NC State administrators to help make student moms' lives easier. I fully support these women, and I think what they have had the courage and ability to do it amazing; but I also believe that parenting is not always feasible and/or realistic. That's why I support adoption. I want to make it clear that I do not advocate adoption before parenting. I believe that open adoption can be a wonderful alternative for women who are unable to parent.
My heart truly does go out to any woman who has chosen adoption and regretted it. I cannot fathom that type of regret. But contrary to your prediction, I have not received "many messages from birthmothers" who have regretted their decisions or who think my blog is too "rosey or pinkish." I have received so many messages from birthmothers, adoptive mothers, and adoptees across the country who have been so positively affected by open adoption that they want to share it with me! And that is amazing. By sharing my experience with open adoption, I have found that there are so many others out there who have experienced the greatness that open adoption has to offer. So why don't we hear about the positive stories as often as the negative ones? Because the people who are experiencing the positives of adoption aren't sitting around on their computers, sharing their amazing stories; they don't have time to! These people are out living their lives and experiencing the goodness that open adoption has presented in their lives. The people who have been negatively affected by adoption are the ones who are looking for some type of comfort and choose to share their stories online, in hopes of connecting with someone, anyone who has gone through the same difficult experience. I don't think there's anything wrong with that; it's just a simple fact that people are more likely to react to a negative experience than to a positive one.
You say that I am "too rosey, too pinkish" in presenting open adoption to my readers. I must disagree. I do not claim to be representative of every birthmother's journey. This is my journey as a birthmother, and this is my documentation of how our open adoption is working. And no, it hasn't always been easy. It has been extremely challenging and difficult at times. I suffered from severe post-postpartum depression for nearly two years after my daughter was born, and I had more than enough challenges to overcome when coping with the lasting impact of my decision. My uncle died from a massive heart attack two weeks before Deanna was born, and I had to live with the guilt of not being able to attend the funeral and feeling like I caused more stress than my family should have had to handle at one time. I felt so alone, so scared, and so vulnerable. There were times when I simply wanted to give up...but those were the moments that I truly learned to rely on my faith to make it through.
I think the most important lesson I've learned throughout this entire crazy experience is that God has a plan for each of us, no matter what circumstances we are given. I refuse to let these circumstances define who I am and what will become of my life. Instead of wallowing in depression and living with a lifetime of regret, God has given me the strength to rise above it all, to grow even closer to Him, and to share my story in hopes of preventing abortion. I can only hope that others will follow my lead and use their own difficult experiences as an opportunity to grow closer to Christ and to stand up for what they believe in.
And now for the million dollar question...do I have any regrets?
That's probably the easiest question to answer. Absolutely not.