Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Love of a Birthmother

Our adoption agency requires us to read at least two books from their recommended reading list as part of our preparation for adoption. When I first heard about this I was not excited. My initial thoughts were, "Just what we need-one more thing to do." That was a really poor attitude, but I just didn't think the books would be that interesting or helpful. But we have been trying to complete our requirements as timely as possible, so we quickly picked two from the list and ordered them on Amazon. The titles we picked are The Whole Life Adoption Book by Jayne E. Schooler and Because I Loved You: A Birthmother's View of Open Adoption by Patricia Dischler.

I decided to read the one by Patricia Dischler first since it was a personal story and looked a lot more interesting. I was not disappointed. It was one of the most eye-opening, tear-jerking books I have read in a long time. It completely changed the way I view birthmothers, opened my eyes to how much we should respect birthmothers, and made me realize how Luke and I should be faithfully praying for the birthmother of our future adopted child. This woman's story is amazing, and it shattered every stereotype or judgmental attitude I have ever had about women who give their babies up for adoption.

Often times we wrongly assume bad things about women who are giving their babies up for adoption. We assume they are sexually promiscuous, or that they have a bad family life with unsupportive families. We wonder "How could any woman give up her baby?" as if she somehow cares less about her child than those of us who keep our babies. One thing I learned from this book is that birthmothers love their babies as much as any mother, and that is exactly why they are putting their children up for adoption. If the birthmothers cared nothing for their child, they could have taken the easy way out and had an abortion. But they chose the difficult way, and it is all because they love their child enough to give him/her life and give it to them the best way they know how.

The author Patricia Dischler was 20 years old when she got pregnant, and she made a very selfless decision to put her son up for adoption because of situations in her life that would have made it virtually impossible for her to raise him. She desperately wanted to keep him, but she knew he would have a better life if she gave him to a family that was better suited to be parents. I won't get into her whole story for the sake of brevity, but I wanted to share one excerpt from her book. This is from the section after she had given birth to her son and was able to spend 2-3 days with him in the hospital before she had to give him up to the adoptive family.

"I spent hours holding Joe. I memorized his eyebrows. His toenails. Every wrinkle of skin. I found each part of his body that resembled mine or that of someone in my family. I mimicked his yawn, his cry. I was awed by his every move. The way he sucked on the knuckle of his thumb. The way his fist curled around the hem of my nightgown when he slept. The way his knees fell to the outside when he was asleep. I cherished everything about him, his crying when he was hungry, his soft snore when he slept, even the yellow streaks he made in his diaper. To this day I have a towel he spit up on in a box in my closet."

Reading about how much she loved her son and how hard it was for her to walk away from him in the hospital gave me such a burden for women that make this difficult decision. We are still very excited to be adopting a child, but have realized that with our joy of welcoming a child into our family there will be a woman mourning the loss of a child she has loved for nine months. Will you please join us in praying for this courageous woman who will be giving us this gift of her child? Pray for God to give her the emotional and physical strength to endure this trial, and that through this she might come to know Christ. And please keep praying for us, that God will give us wisdom and sensitivity in all issues surrounding this adoption.



Chris said...
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Jenna said...

Sounds like a good book. I should review it for the blog. *makes note*