If you have ever wondered what it feels like to place a child for adoption, here is an excerpt from my book Delivered and how it felt to me.
Luke and Noel let me lead. I walked over to Mary as she took him out of the harness. She handed him to me, and I eagerly took him. I needed him.
I brought him to my chest and placed his cheek next to mine. It was soft and warm. It was familiar and intoxicating. His smell was all over me like a misty rain in the hot summer months, welcomed and refreshing. I wanted that moment to last forever.
I looked at Noel, equally eager to get her hands on him. I cradled him and offered him to her. She carefully placed one hand under his head and the other under his bottom.
I didn’t let go. I couldn’t. I just stood there weeping and not letting go.
She spoke warmly, “I am sharing him. Let’s just share him.” Her words were a caress to my aching heart. I looked down away from her eyes as they tried hard to decipher how to best love me in that moment. I couldn’t even see him anymore because my tears were blurring my vision. It was a moment in time for me. The only one I would have like this, and I knew it.
A full minute passed. We stood there sharing him and laughing through tears. Laughing the kind of laugh that comes out when one experiences too many intense emotions at once. It was awkward and appropriate at the same time.
Finally, after several more minutes I was ready. In attempt to stop crying, I laughed once more and then cleared my throat. I looked her straight in the eyes and with a firm voice declared, “I’m giving him to you now.” And I let go.
She took him in with all the love and experience of a woman who is already a mother. She was fluid and careful. She spoke to him of her love, and I noticed that she was running her eyes over him the way a newly engaged woman does her wedding ring. She kissed him and held him close, wanting to be in his face.
I was relieved to find that she wasn’t hesitant. She was sure. Her heart was already there. He was already hers.
After taking some pictures and talking about his sweetness, they let me be alone with him one last time. It might have been five minutes or five hours. Time stopped, and I was nowhere else but there. I was present for that moment. I looked at him and spoke softly to him.
“I love you. I will always love you. You are my first-born. You are my gift. You are my gift to your parents, and you are my gift from God. You have changed my life in ways I don’t even know about yet. I promise to love you every day for the rest of my life. I promise to make you proud. I promise you won’t find me wanting or in need. If you should choose to find me, I will be right where God wants me. He will keep me and guide me, and He has promised to keep you and guide you as well. I will celebrate you and the miracle that you are. I will think of you fondly and often. You are my gift, and I am your birthmother. Grace and peace to you in all your days. I love you.”
As I said my well-rehearsed speech, he looked at me like he understood. I knew in my heart that he must have. I knew I was binding my soul to his with my words and trusting God with my actions.
I continued to hold him close until the women came back downstairs followed by Luke, and it was time. I handed my baby, their baby, to Luke and hugged Noel tightly. I told her to love him well and that I trusted her. Then, I walked out that door without looking back.
As the door closed, my throat closed as well. Just keep walking, I repeated in my mind. Just keep walking. I felt like I had swallowed something too big. I was sure my carelessness from so many months ago was choking me now. I was a home with no heart, a cage with no bird.
When I got to the car, I was breathing heavily, and I doubled over. I can’t do this. I just need a little longer, I thought as the pavement came toward my face. Then, I saw my hands shoot out in front of me. I just want one more kiss. If I could just take in his smell once more it might make it easier. I was on hands and knees gasping for air as snot and tears fell freely from my face. I can’t do this. I can’t! I have to go back and get him. I forced my body upright, but my head felt like an iron weight. He needs me. I was on my feet now, black splotches clouding my vision, and I was hanging onto the roof of the car like a boat does to a dock, hoping to not drift away as it sways with the tide. I need him. I felt like I might throw up. God help me. You have to help me! My body was physically protesting leaving that place. Leaving without that little one.
“I have to get out of here,” I said in between breaths to Mary, who bent over next to me. She was responsible for driving me back to the house we were staying at.
“Ok!” She said, and then she paused and thought. “Let’s go get ice cream. Do you want to?” That’s just what you do at that moment, I guess. I looked up and an unconvincing smile made its way across my face. Ice cream. Hmmm…yes. I have earned some ice cream today. I nodded at her, and she seemed relieved that I had taken the bait.
When the day was finally over, I crawled into bed and pulled out my journal.
I said goodbye to my little boy today. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I was weeping as I left Luke and Noel’s house. I prayed for him and told him I loved him. He is so precious! He was really alert when I was saying goodbye to him, which I’m so thankful for. I love him so much! Keep him safe and loved, please.
I paused and reread everything I had written. I found myself suddenly angry. No! That’s wrong. That’s not it. It wasn’t satisfactory. It was just words on a page. I decided to try again.
Today was gut wrenching. I have not known pain until today. I have not touched death until now. I am lost. These words are void of the gravity of the situation. This feeble attempt at capturing such a thing is ridiculous. I am crushed under the magnitude of it. Part of me is now dead. I can only hope the rest of me will soon follow.
I stopped short surprised that the last sentence actually scared me. I couldn’t erase it though. At least I was being honest now, and not just factual. I looked it over, and decided I was happier with this. I hoped this would serve me in the long run to get in touch with these days and moments and process them. I would need to process them, as I had officially died to myself. My whole life for the past nine months had been Baby Dylan, and I had given it away that day. I had lost my life.