Fear. I lived with it for years. It was my shadow, a constant companion from the moment I suspected I was pregnant, up through surrendering my son for adoption, and the years beyond as I lived in a semi-closed adoption with anonymous communications handled through the adoption agency. It haunted me in the early days of establishing communications with my adult son and as I tried to prepare myself for coming face to face again with my “baby”.
- Fear of being pregnant and disappointing my parents, family, teachers, church, friends.
- Fear of losing my boyfriend, the father of my child, as I believed at the time that he would be the only man who could ever actually LOVE me.
- Fear of going to high school everyday and that someone would find out.
- Fear that I had ruined my child’s life, just by virtue of conceiving him as an unmarried teenager and then having to surrender him for adoption.
- Fear that my son would hate me and never understand how this could all happen.
- Fear that every news report I heard about a kidnapped child or child that died in a house fire or car accident was actually about my child.
- Fear that he would die and no one would ever tell me.
- Fear of losing the respect of my parented children, friends, and acquaintances if they ever knew I surrendered my son.
- Fear that I would leave this earth without being able to tell him that I love him.
- Fear that finally meeting again in person would be my one and only chance to hug him, to look in his beautiful brown eyes, to hear his voice.
- Fear that he’d ask me questions that I could not answer.
- Fear that I wasn’t good enough to be in his life….that he would not like me or feel connected to me the way I was to him.
While I can’t speak for anyone but myself, I’ve heard many fears like mine expressed in OBG monthly meetings. Birth parents in open adoption are afraid to say the wrong thing or show too much affection to their children for fear of upsetting the child’s adoptive parents. Or, one is afraid to ask for more contact for fear of losing what one already has. The list could go on….
A good friend of mine has often encouraged me to lead with love and not fear. Those are wise words. In my case, when I put my love for my son in front of my fear, I am genuine. I can live in the moment and be true to my feelings and my experience. My son, as well as myself, always reap the benefits when I put my love for him ahead of my fears. That’s what mothers do.