We needed to make some copies of adoption-related schnee today. There is a certain vulnerability for me in pushing adoption-related paperwork over a store counter. I feel exposed, like I'm sharing more information than is appropriate with the stranger who picks it up, looks it over, runs it through the machines. We talk prices and paper weights, while between us the paper screams, "Hey! We're adopting!" I wonder what they think about that.
The woman who picked it up today stared a little too long. "We're in the process of adopting," T offered, trying to fill the void.
"My son is adopted," she said.
"Oh, did you adopt him or did you place him for adoption?" T asked.
She had placed him, ten years ago. She knows he was placed in our state, she thinks she might know the city. No contact. No names. Just that he's with a "good Christian family."
She wanted to tell her story. She asked about K, wanted to talk about her and R and their place in our family. "That's good that you're doing that [open adoption]," she said, "I didn't know..."
"There was so much we didn't know either," said T. "There's just so much pain, you know?"
She said it's her pride that's keeping the adoption closed (she didn't elaborate), but that she thinks she could contact the agency at some point. "I know the love is there. We'll connect in the future, I just know it."
Somewhere there is a ten-year old boy who doesn't know that his first mom was talking about him today. Doesn't know that she has dreams for their future. Are his adoptive parents wishing they knew how to contact her, like so many parents I've met? Did they want things closed? Are they scared of what her return to his life might mean?
So many more people than I ever realized are caught up into adoption. Sometimes I feel that adoption is a lonely thing, something that sets me apart. Other times it seems it's all around me.