That said, the idea of a fully open adoption was very scary to Jason at first, and to Jackson's birthfather, A. Both of them say they didn't want this kind of relationship when they first considered adoption. However, when A and T (bmom) read our profile, and when Jason learned more about A and T, both of them became much more comfortable and open to the idea. We all felt connected to each other. And I think we still do. It started with letters between me and T, and then a phone call between us and A (when we told him we were pregnant), and then a meeting with all four of us and our social worker. After that, Jackson was born, and we have brought him to visit them twice since then. Honestly, we would probably have brought him more often if the situation didn't mean we had to travel 4 hours one way and visit in a prison environment.
The meetings hold a lot of emotions for all of us. Being this open is by no means easy. We see the pain on T's face as we walk away and she ducks into the bathroom to no doubt cry alone, and we feel the pain A is experiencing when he can't even show up for a visit. I read in T's letters about her last moments with Jackson and my heart literally breaks...but not just for her. For Jackson, too.
And that is why we continue to navigate this unique relationship...Jackson. He lost something huge the day our social worker picked him up from the hospital. He experienced an incredible loss much earlier in his life than any of us deserves. I can't change that. I will never be able to fill that hole completely for him. What I can do is give him the opportunity to know his first mom and his first dad, to hear from their mouths how much they love him. I can tell him all day long, but he needs to hear it from them. He needs to hear that he is, and always has been, perfect in their eyes. That he did nothing wrong for them to choose adoption for him. He needs to see how his cheeks come from A and his eyes from T. While we love him more than life itself, he will never be able to see himself in our faces. And while we know how much his birthparents love him, it will mean so much more to him to hear it from them. One day, he will choose what kind of relationship he wants with them. Until then, all we can do is give him opportunity. All four of us have talked about this, and we all agree he will have all the control when he is old enough. Our gift to him now is to keep that door open, so he can walk through it, or not, when he is ready.
There have been hard moments. I have watched T hold and cuddle Jackson, and I have felt jealousy over the natural bond they will always have. I have stood by while T's "friend" called T Jackson's mom right in front of me. My heart skipped a beat. I wanted to grab him from T and run the other way. As the weeks have passed since then, I have been reminded that I am not and never will be Jackson's only mom. He has a birthmom. I am his mom now. And what an honor that is. But I am denying him a huge part of who he is if I don't also acknowledge that I wasn't his first mom. He had an intense and biological connection to T for those 9 months she carried him so lovingly in her womb, and as his mom now, I feel it is my job to honor that connection. I know this is a hard concept for some. It's hard for me. But, I believe it is my son's reality. And because it is his reality, it has to be our family's reality, no matter how hard it may be for all of us.
Now that this is written, I feel like the words aren't enough. This whole situation is so difficult to put into words. How do you describe the intense love you have for your child and his birthparents? The pain you feel in your heart knowing you will never fill the entire mom role for your child? The grief that takes over your entire body when you imagine the last moments your son had with his first mom, his first goodbye at only 2 days old? The joy you feel in knowing you were chosen to be this child's mom by such special people? Like I said, there are no words.