My Story

Kim column topper

[Ed. note–Kim is the latest OAB contributor I have the pleasure of introducing to you. She placed her son in an open adoption over two decades ago. Once a month she will share from the valuable perspective of someone further down the road than many of us in the open adoption journey.  -Heather]

paper heartDo you sometimes wish you could go back in time?

I do.

I wish I could go back to 1988 and tell 17 year old me that everything would be OK.

…That even though I was pregnant and facing the biggest decision of my life–everything would be OK.

…That even though I’d been accepted to my two “first choice” colleges but now had to put it on hold–everything would be OK.

…That even though I felt lonely, afraid and as if I’d let everyone down–everything would be OK.

…And that even though I didn’t know what “open adoption” meant for me and my unborn child, I just had to trust that what my counselor was telling me was true–and that everything would be OK.

Now 25 years later, my son is the most amazing person I know. He’s a bright young man making his own way in the world. His mom and dad are two of the kindest most loving people you’d ever want to meet. This journey in open adoption has been an extraordinary ride.

But it wasn’t always OK. At least not for me. Two and a half decades ago, there was no Internet to research the term “open adoption.” There were no books in libraries or bookstores offering a birth mother’s perspective. There was no point of reference; nowhere to turn for the answers. Not like there is today.

My story has two sides–the first is the extraordinary relationship among the family members in our adoption story. The second is my personal journey: the struggles that still plague me and those that I’ve resolved.

There are times when I want to scream from the rooftops how wonderful open adoption can be–and yet intuitively, I know that it’s not right for everyone. In fact, I’m acutely aware of just how unique my experience is.

My son’s mother, father and brother exemplify what it means to be a solid, loving family. They are the most gracious and kind-hearted people I know. Their circle of love instantly–and without reservation–made room for me, my family and the birth father’s family. This was unheard of in the very early days of open adoption and let me tell you–it was extraordinary!

Over the years we’ve shared photos, videos, letters, and as many visits as possible, given that we live on opposite sides of the country. And we’ve been extremely fortunate to share some Mother’s Days, baptisms, First Communions, high school and college graduations, and weddings together. It’s been magnificent and heart-warming all at once. I’ve never felt anything but unconditional love and acceptance from them. And for that, I’m so grateful.

The second part of my story, however, is about my personal struggle. Profound guilt, shame, grief, secrecy and loss of self consumed me in the months and years following the birth and placement of my son. It all came to a head in 2004 when I gave birth to my daughter, and the wounds containing my buried feelings were re-opened like an ugly Pandora’s Box.

In a sense, I’m still searching for my story. Sometimes I’m unable to put into words the exact feelings I’m experiencing. Other times, I just sit in the grief. But I rejoice in the fact that I’ve finally given myself permission–after all these years–to accept myself and to really feel my feelings instead of burying them.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit scared to be so “out there” with my story and my thoughts. Adoption is multifaceted. It’s bittersweet, wonderful, complicated, and different for everyone no matter if they’re birth parents, adoptees or adoptive parents.

Through this column, I hope to share my insights as a birth mother in a long-term open adoption and I hope to learn about your stories.

I welcome your ideas, questions and feedback–always!

Thank you for the opportunity–it’s truly an honor to be part of this community of amazing writers and bloggers.

About the author:
Kim is a writer, blogger, wife and mom to two daughters age 9 and 2. She is also a birthmom involved in an open adoption for the last 25 years. She welcomes your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to email any topic ideas or questions to kimcourt40@gmail.com.

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13 thoughts on “My Story

  1. I’m not sure I chose the “harder but better way” as you say, but I do know that my choice was difficult. I also know that choosing to parent is an enormous responsibility – one that I know I wasn’t ready for at such a young age. The choice I made was the one that was right for me. Thank you for your comments.

  2. Pingback: A New Opportunity | These Are The Days

  3. Great to hear from someone who has the long view. It’s good to hear that everything can be “OK” with love, care, trust, and action. I have a special place in my heart for birthmothers – my son’s, of course – but all women who made this difficult decision. Expect an email from me ;-O

  4. Thank you – I look forward to your email 🙂

    And do you mind if I steal your words – “the long view” – as the title of my column? I was still searching, and when I read your comment it just hit me that “The Long View” sums up my experience. Let me know 🙂 And thank you again – Kim

  5. Thanks for sharing your Long View, Kim. I’m really looking forward to reading more of your thoughts about open adoption as time passes and people grow/change. So glad OAB has added your column.

  6. Kim, your words are so beautiful and touching. This part really affected me…”In a sense, I’m still searching for my story. Sometimes I’m unable to put into words the exact feelings I’m experiencing. Other times, I just sit in the grief.” So glad you are writing here at OAB.

  7. Thanks Kim, I’m glad to see your “Long View” represented. I just found this site, and glad to see so many perspectives represented. I, too, am a “Long Viewer,” and just now, after losing my son for a second time, finding myself drawn into the world of blogs and blogging. There have been so many times I have been unable to find words – times of sitting in the grief. And I too, wish I could go back, but for other reasons. Like you said, this journey is “bittersweet, wonderful, complicated, and different for everyone no matter if they’re birth parents, adoptees or adoptive parents,” and I for one am grateful for the chance to share this experience with others.

    • Candace,
      I am so sorry for the losses you’ve experienced. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be. Thank you for your kind comments about this column. I think everyone in this space finds some sort of healing by sharing our experiences. All the best to you.
      -Kim

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