Why did you give your baby away?
In March of 2000 I handed Baby Dylan over to his parents. I literally stood there and gave him to his mother. It was a moment most hated and most cherished by me. It was a time in my life that I relive over and over and still find it hard to come away unscathed. In fact, I spent years of my life grieving it and holding onto it and longing for him. I dumped a pile of money into therapy to be able to function on a daily basis.
And the lurking question is why. Why did I place my child for adoption?
To answer that question I would have to begin by talking about love. Love is often mistaken for street kiosk knock-offs like lust or pleasure. In this culture I find we throw the word love around like a little league baseball player in his big debut, often and careless. It is common to hear someone talk about love flippantly. I love those earrings, or I love the way you write. Perhaps it is about a person. I love his abs, or I love how funny she is. There is also the occasional, I love Justin Bieber.
But is this love? Or are we using a word in a way that it was not meant to be used? What is love truly, and how do we know we are in love?
Love is perhaps best defined by C. S. Lewis. He said, “Love is not merely affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” (Interesting how he concentrates on the loved person, not the lover.)
I am fortunate to know this kind of love. If you are a parent you know that you are connected to your children in an unimaginable way that alters you. Being a birthmother does not make that bond less. In fact, it may be heightened to a degree. Sophia Loren said, “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” This is why birthmothers place their children for adoption. We are thinking of our children and making an honest effort to love them well.
I was watching Downton Abbey recently and a woman who had gotten pregnant out of wedlock chose to keep her son instead of placing him with his rich grandparents. I was not disturbed by her choice until she explained why. She said, “What will [he] need more than his mother’s love?” I cringed. While this may seem noble to some, I find it rather selfish. When loving someone well, shouldn’t we always be focused on them? I’m not suggesting being a doormat, for who benefits from that? I am merely saying that love is unselfish, and just so you know, my Baby Dylan (who is a preteen now) has my love, my thoughts, my prayers.
Why did I place Baby Dylan for adoption? I wanted him to have a chance at a full life. I wanted his soul to stir when he considered love and know that love is not self-seeking. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. I wanted him to experience a love that did not fail him, a love that is a steady wish for his ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.