She’s schizophrenic, and doesn’t understand reality.
How’d she get pregnant?
She does not cry.
She cannot understand.
I want to cry for her.
She’s 14 years old. He’s 15.
Her friends don’t yet know, as she hasn’t begun to show.
They stand next to their locker and review their options.
After class, they call to make an adoption plan.
We meet at Starbucks.
Me, birthmom, adoptive mom and adoptive dad
The unborn baby is also there.
Hidden underneath skin, clothing, and shame.
We discuss plans for the baby.
What will the hospital birth be like?
Who will be in the room?
Who will cut the umbilical cord?
Are those tears of joy or sorrow? Tears of relief?
Who will leave the hospital first?
The birthmom? Wheeled away without the proof of her labor?
The birthdad? Silenced by cultural myths and misunderstandings of his role?
The Adoptive parents? Proudly showing off their newborn, abandoned child?
Complexity and abandonment describe the child’s entrance into the world.
“I chose adoption for you because I love you so much.”
Love and longing describe the adoptive family’s stance on their new child.
“We’ve wanted a child for years. We can’t wait to shower you with love, security, stability and opportunity!”
I handle the middle of the equation.
The logistics, the emotions, the questions, the fears.
I advocate for this pre-verbal baby at the center of it all.
I hold the baby for a little while and tell the newborn,
“I understand this is traumatic for you.
This arrangement is peculiar; however it’s the best option.
These parents will give you every worldly pleasure possible, and for that I am grateful.”
I hand the baby back to the birth mom, who snips off some hair as a memento.
The nurse asks me to sign on the dotted line, where it says “Legal Guardian.”
I sign as though this is a transaction and I’m the middle man.
Domestic infant adoption is complicated. And beautiful.
Amidst the chaos of organizing an adoption in the most respectful and thoughtful way for all parties, I remember that none of us really had a choice in our birth. Adoption or not. It makes me wonder about all of the pre-verbal babies being born all around me all of the time. What is it that they wish they could say as they enter this world. I work so hard to advocate for these adopted newborns, but who is advocating for the babies born and raised by their biological parents. Hopefully, their biological parents have their best interest in mind. However, I know this is not always the case.
In this sense, birth is complicated. And beautiful.