I open the door to the car, get in and just sit. I am so apprehensive about this retreat and what it will hold for me. This will be the first time that I’ve openly talked about the event that has changed my life forever and have people actually get it. Giving up my son for adoption. Driving down the toll way into Chicago, tears start streaming down my face. I know this weekend is going to change my life, but the pain it’s going to take to get there wasn’t something I was looking forward to.
I arrive at the beach house and put my stuff down in my room and head upstairs…my stomach in knots. I pick up my information packet and journal and read our schedule. First on the list is the opening ceremony and then….our stories. The part I was dreading the most. After the ceremony and after each women before me had done…it was my turn. I take a big breathe and cry my way through my story…and look around at all the other amazing women who are crying right along with me as i had done for each of them. I saw so much of their stories in my own…i heard the same pain in their voice and the same tears streaming down their face. I was home.
I went to bed with a sense of peace. Knowing that tomorrow would be hard, but also knowing that I had people to share it with. We discussed adoption language and parallels between the birth moms and the adoptive parents…we laughed, we cried, we shared and we loved. The more time I spent with these amazing group of women the more accepted I felt. A feeling which i havnt felt in a really long time. Crying felt good, letting go and just weeping was so freeing. I want to be so strong for my kids, I dont ever want them to know the grief that I live with and so I put on my brave mommy face. I dont cry, even when its the only thing I want to do and instead I smile. Being able to let go was freeing.
The last day was bittersweet. I was excited to go home and see my kids and be with my husband but was sad to leave the safety of my birth mom bubble. The closing ceremony was emotional for everyone. We all cried. Hearing all the wonderful things they all think about me was empowering. Things no one has ever told me. Things i dont believe right now, but hope to believe in the future. I read my empowerment poster everyday and try to convince myself that I am a fighter, and brave and selfless. That I’m stronger then I know and that I’m fearless.
I cant say that my views on the adoption have changed. That I have seen the light and am now ok with it and happy with my choice. I dont know if I will ever be ok with the adoption. For now though, having people who “get it” is enough and has done more for me then I could have ever thought possible. I never realized how lonely and alone I felt until I met my sisters at the On Your Feet Foundation Retreat. Thank you Vicki, Cher and Jenn for OYFF and to my sister birth moms. You have all changed my life.