Originally I had planned on writing this month's blog about a teacher who recently made the news for her rants on her blog about her students (and her subsequent removal from the classroom). I will probably blog about it later as I find it relevant to my life. Life, however, gave me a not-so-gentle nudge towards another topic.
My husband and I have made numerous mistakes and rash choices in our life. For the most part we have accepted the choices that one another made before we met. After all, isn't that what most couples do? Unfortunately for me, one of my rash decisions is, well, more tangible, than some of his. He has come a long way since we have gotten married, but occasionally he lets his discomfort and jealousy (that's what I think it is anyway) get the best of him. A recent freak-out made me realize that I had become passive and silent about a hasty choice that has turned out to be the most influential event in my life so far.
When I was 19, I got pregnant the first time I had sex. I didn't love my boyfriend, in fact, we had only been dating for about a month. Looking back, this rash choice was another example of me enjoying the college experience and period of rebellion against all of the moral and religious lessons I had been taught growing up. My boyfriend offered me another chance to rebel.
Fast forward a few months later: After a painful conversation that involved telling my mother, I had made the decision to look into adoption. Now I don't expect everyone to agree with me on this choice. Particularly the kind of adoption I was looking and hoping for: an open adoption. We had a family friend who was the birth-mother in an open adoption. I spoke with her and researched the different options. Her situation was unique for the state in which we lived. I knew that I would face a similar experience if I followed in her path.
I began looking on different adoption agencies' websites. In May, I found them. Their values and beliefs were very similar to what I had grown up with and was slowly going back to. And the rest is history, as they say. I am the birth-mother of a ten year old. I get to visit them, get pictures, and I have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that life has been good for the little baby that resulted from my rash decision.
There have been other benefits from this experience. I am a much more compassionate person. When I meet people or learn about issues my students are struggling with, I try not to judge. We all make mistakes. It was the kindness and compassion that I received from family members, and even random strangers, that helped me get through the painful experience of giving up a child. I listen and hug more.
The adoptive parents have been a blessing too. They have influenced how I parent and have been a great example of a loving, God-focused couple. The father isn't afraid to pull out his guitar and sing silly songs to his children. I can't play the guitar, but I crank the music and sing and dance with my kids every chance I get. The mother is loving and firm. She has influenced me in that way, but has also modeled how to be a good wife. This can be difficult for me, because I sometimes long for my husband to be more Godly like her husband. However, I know she has had to rely on God through a different trial, and her strength continues to inspire and challenge me to do the same.
I don't expect people to read this and immediately believe that open adoption is the way to go or to want to immediately change their perception of people who are struggling. I suppose my goal in this, other than the therapeutic process of writing, is to challenge people to see the silver lining that may linger in the aftermath of rash decisions. It's there, but it might just take some time for it to show up.