This week my son will turn 17 (Oct 13th).
Quite frankly, this terrifies me.
2002 began my involvement with online adoption activity. I’ve developed relationships with original moms, adoptees, and some adoptive moms. I’ve been part of a handful of forums. One forum is exclusive for original moms, and there I’ve observed a frightening pattern with moms in closed or semi-closed adoption arrangements.
It seems to start with her child’s 17th birthday and the “final countdown” begins. Just one more year to go and he/she will be 18! Each month and every holiday that passes, her anticipation builds as she pictures the next year will be different. Her attitude seems lighter as she looks expectantly toward the 18th birthday.
Finally the 18th birthday is at hand! She’s spent the past year getting advice and trying to decide how to proceed on that special day. She carefully and cautiously executes the plan.
Let me emphasize that point.
She doesn’t just go charging in like a bull in a china shop. Not at all! From my observations over the past 10 years, she carefully considers her options. She views it from many angles, and does her best to find a method of reaching out without offending or pressuring. There is no magic formula, no book or guidelines to follow; each mother’s attempt is different.
The 18th birthday comes, and it goes.
We wait expectantly with her to hear a response or reply. Days pass, then weeks. The weeks turn into months. All the while she is hopeful.
The 19th birthday comes and goes – and she has had no response.
We try to encourage and support her as we watch her struggling to remain positive.
The 20th birthday approaches the horizon. It comes, and it goes.
Once again my heart is torn a thousand times to watch this woman on such a painful journey.
The 17th birthday is a time when she becomes hopeful that she finally may be able to connect with her lost child. For the next two years she struggles within to remain positive. When no response comes, it is so incredibly hard to witness her plight and her obvious pain.
One year from now, it may be my turn to be the one who is teetering on the edge while my hopes are dashed to pieces.
and it terrifies me.