Please see “EDIT” at the bottom before reading.
While New Year’s hasn’t yet come upon us, Christmas is said and done. Holidays and birthdays are always really hard in this life as a “birthmom.” I imagine that for some adoptees it is as well. I can only write from my point of view, in my role, though.
Open adoption was supposed to be a way for me to not feel so sad. To not wonder. To have a small part of my daughter, especially around birthdays and holidays. At first I would get pictures (even a video on her first birthday) on these hard days to make it a little easier to cope. It’s been some time since I received actual birthday pictures or holiday pictures. I haven’t seen pictures of my daughter opening up birthday or Christmas presents in years. I always send an email or letter on or just before these days to let them know I am thinking of her (and them) and I always hope that they will find it in their hearts to send something along for me to make those days better. Something to let me into that little part of their lives, their celebrations with her. This year I sent my Christmas email a couple days before Christmas and have yet to get any response. I don’t think I’m going to. Like I said, it’s been years.
Other emails, those not written around holidays and birthdays, are usually responded to within a few days or a few weeks. Sometimes they include a picture, sometimes a short line letting me know they received whatever I sent. These emails that I send are not usually time sensitive so it’s okay if they are answered late. Sometimes I play the devil’s advocate and think, “Maybe they aren’t aware that I would like a picture of her on her birthday or Christmas. I can’t expect them to be mind readers.” But these are just excuses. Why WOULDN’T I want a picture on these days? An update? It doesn’t take a mind reader to be considerate and think of me. Sometimes it feels almost willful and purposeful. I can never say for sure so my mind allows that sliver of hope that says it’s just an oversight. My heart says otherwise.
Sometimes I feel as if I’m still being purposely punished for the falling out we had 12 years ago when I changed my mind about relinquishing my subsequent child to them. They did promise I would never see IKL again and, so far, that promise has been kept. And that is when everything changed.
So this is what I call the “Christmas Hangover.” While the holidays (and birthdays) themselves can be a hard time, it’s the silence that comes afterwards that lingers. Like the headache after a heavy night of whiskey and beer. It’s the reminder that you are really not important enough to be considered. It’s the reminder that you have no control and they have all control – and they will use it accordingly.
In a few weeks the holidays and their hangovers will be officially over and things can return to somewhat of a norm. I won’t have to start processing these deep emotions again until October/November when her birthday rolls around again. For that I am thankful.
**EDIT** I am leaving this up to further reiterate the mind set of a birthmom. I wrote this under the assumption that I had been disregarded and found out shortly after that the reason for the silence at the holidays was because of the surprise in the mailbox. (SEE: The Letter) One of the horrible things about the bad side of being a birthmom is the insecurity it holds.