When one thinks of the word "Relinquishment" what comes to mind?? Webster's dictionary defines this word as:
"1. To retire from; give up or abandon. 2. To put aside or desist from (something practiced, professed, or intended). 3. To let go; surrender. 4. To cease holding physically; release."
Funny how this word does not mean to give a better life. I hate how harsh this word is and how final it is. I hate every part of this word...but yet it is a word that is part of the adoption world. One that is talked about but yet the reality of this word does not take place until a small infant is laying in a woman's arms. If I could do one thing for the adoption world...it would be to replace this word for something different. I am not too sure what other word to use...but I would definitely change it.
Six years ago today this word was very real in my life. I had spoken to my adoption counselor weeks before I went into labor about what this day would be like, but yet no adoption counselor could really fully prepare me for the intense emotions I would feel. Six years ago today would have been a Monday. Chilly but sunny outside in Oregon. My mom had stayed with me at the hospital over night. It was the last night that I could hear Kaylee's cries for feeding, a diaper change, or the comfort of just wanting to be held. About 7am, mom said it was time to start the day. We got dressed, and took some very teary pictures as the emotions were so overwhelming. I just wished that I could freeze time and just stay in that hospital room forever. But I knew that could not happen. Around 10am, people started arriving: such as my adoption counselor, Darrin & NaeDean, Scott, and my dad. We took some more pictures and Scott's mom was able to see Kaylee for the first time. About 11am was when the realization of the papers had to be signed. Everyone left the room except my parents, Kaylee, myself and my adoption counselor. She pulled out the very papers that she and I had read a couple weeks before to start the relinquishment process. The words on the page that she read come through as if I was sitting in Charlie Brown's classroom listening to his teacher. Then Amy would ask me if I understood and I said yes. One paper signed. Next sheet of paper the same process. While she was reading I was holding Kaylee with tears streaming down my face as if someone had left the bathroom facet on. I signed yet another paper saying that I was giving up my rights as a natural mother and would not show up at any court dates to fight what I had signed. Then it was over. The papers were signed, notarized and there they sat, just so final.
After the signing, Amy (my adoption counselor) gave parents and I some time alone with Kaylee. The three of us sat and just cried...but we all knew it was the best thing we could have done. I was 23 at the time with no job, no medical insurance, and no way to care for Kaylee at the level of what I wanted. I knew I had done the right thing. A few minutes later after some more tears and prayers, the whole crew came back in. We sat and said good thoughts about what we wanted for Kaylee. Scott even got choked up which was a sign for me that he had emotion for what was going on. Darrin & NaeDean gave me a little heart shaped locket with a picture of myself and Kaylee. On the back of the locket the name "lil miss" was engraved as that is what we called Kaylee until she was born.
The first couple of days after the signing were probably some of the hardest days that I have ever experienced. I was dealing with emotions I had never felt before in addition to every biological aspect of what goes one after a woman gives birth. I cried and Fred (the family cat) tried to comfort me the best he knew how. He would lay in my lap and just purr.
A couple days later I was talking with another birthmom friend online. She had asked me how I was doing and I told her that I was ok, I guess. She said, "you probably feel like someone stuck a knife in your back, slowly turning it, and also patting you on the back saying, "You are strong and did the right thing.'" This is exactly how I felt!! I can not express to you the very emotion that was in that hospital room that day. It was one of those moments where you "just had to be there."
I found a poem that I hold very deeply in my heart. I tend to read it every year on this day as it is very fitting for a day like today.
Once there were two women,
Who barely knew each other.
One is in your heart forever,
The other you’ll call mother.
Two different lives,
Shaped to make yours one.
One became your guiding star,
The other became your sun.
The first gave you life,
And the second taught you how to live it.
The first gave you a need for love,
And the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality,
The other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent,
One gave you the seed of talent,
The other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions,
The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile,
The other dried your tears.
One gave you a family,
It was what God intended for her to do.
The other prayed for a child,
And God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me
Through your tears,
The age old question through the years.
Heredity or environment…
Which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling… neither,
Just two different kinds of love.