The imprint your choices have made

(Written by a birth mother)

Who are you now?

I was meeting with a guy I had known only from a distance. Never thought seriously about going out with him, but here we were, in a diner, splitting a turkey sub and mugs of steaming hot coffee. I wanted him to know about the baby I placed for adoption, so I took a deep breath and said "A few years ago I was going through a tough time. I had a baby and I placed her for adoption. I love her dearly and she is a big part of who I am. I wanted you to know this." He thought for a minute, looked up at me and said "What matters most is who you are now." Time passed, we grew closer, and now, after over 10 years of being together, that statement still centers me. That one compassionate comment acknowledged an important truth : Our choices make us who we are and they give us an opportunity to become who we want to be. Many birthparents who have placed babies for adoption are faced with the question of whom to tell...and when. Is there ever a right time to reveal something about ourselves that is precious and private...something that profoundly affects who we are, without having the listener wrap us up into a package and set us aside on a shelf as something too different? Too complicated? Some reactions to your birthparent status might be senseless and crass. I've had those reactions before. Some might be compassionate and understanding. I've had those too. Who have you become? What is the imprint your choices have made upon your heart that shine out to the world? Who are you now? The answer we cherish inside ourselves is the one that matters most.
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