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March Madness Adoption Edition

March Madness is once again upon me, but this year feels different. My birth mother's birthday is the 6th, my firstborn son's birthday is the 17th, and my youngest son's birthday is the 29th. I have vivid thoughts of both of my pregnancies and as the month progresses, my mind starts to rewind to the hard decisions of a teenager and the decisions made 17 years after my firstborn to raise his brother. This month has usually brought guilt, shame, relief, joy, and pain.

Take a look at the significance of March for me:

  • March 6th-Birth Mother's Birthday

  • March 17, 1987 -I gave birth at 17 to a son I relinquished

  • March 29, 2004 -I gave birth to a son I raised

  • March 17, 2016 - I purposely mailed a certified letter on my firstborn son's birthday to the woman I believed to be my birth mother.

  • March 19, 2016 -I received confirmation from my birth mother

  • March 28, 2016 - Adoption Reunion with birth mother.

  • March 15, 2018 - I received notification through the Colorado Voluntary Adoption Program of a match with my birth son.

I have been in reunion with my birth mother for almost a decade and do not feel that much closer to her. I have been in reunion with my birth son for five years, and although I feel closer to him than my birth mother, I have a sense of peace with where we are. In my dual role as an adoptee and birth mother, navigating these relationships has been challenging. I wonder if I come off aloof to my birth son when I am drawing on my own experience with my birth mother so as not to smother him with contact when it seems he is choosing to be reserved. Do I come off as a disappointed daughter because I don't keep in regular contact with my birth mom? She has felt that way before, although that is inaccurate, and I have expressed that to her. I see a lot of myself in the way my son deals with me, the same way I have dealt with my birth mother.

I have come to believe an adoption reunion isn't for the birth parent. It's for adoptees to seek answers that have eluded them for years. To identify themselves in a tribe that shares physical features and characteristics and for them to decide which way the relationship goes.
I believe the birth parent's role in reunions is to be available and transparent about what led to the creation of a life that they relinquished.

I see stories on X (Twitter) of wonderful reunions where the birth parent and child have become close. I've seen others where an adoptee is experiencing rejection all over again. When I was a child fantasizing about my birth mother, or when I dreamed about what it would be like to meet my son. The initial reunion is what I wished and prayed for and what I was blessed with. Every day since the reunion has been a bonus, and I believe that is why the status of either relationship does not sadden me.

My peace with my son is that I have told my story and, in turn, his origin story with transparency and honesty, regardless of how it made me look. As a birth mother, I owed him that. I will be here whenever he chooses to reengage. I have already waited a lifetime to meet him, so I'm okay given where we are five years in. As an adoptee, I know he doesn't owe me a thing. March Madness no longer overwhelms me. There is freedom in telling my story to the one person who deserved the unabridged version, my firstborn.

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