A few weeks ago, my son J and his adoptive parents came to visit my parents at their house. As happens with these visits, his mom went into the kitchen with my mother to help with lunch, his dad went into the living room with my dad to talk about esoteric topics that they actually have in common, and I was left in the dining room alone with my son. He was eating crackers out of a little bowl my mother had given him with a pair of child's chopsticks. I asked him how school was. He answered the way most four-year-old's would: "Good." He talked a little about his school. He asked for a few more crackers. All in all I'm guessing we had about six minutes alone together. And it was in those six minutes that I had a thought that I've had for a long time and for the first time felt okay about it, "This kid will never be mine."
Acceptance isn't exactly a nice place to be in as it turns out. I thought that acceptance would be the moment when the clouds would break and the seas would settle and everything would be just perfect. Only it's not. Acceptance is when you finally accept the reality of what you have lost. It's when you stop denying the realities, stop being angry about the realities, stop trying to change the realities "some how," and stop always being depressed about the realities. Acceptance, for me, was looking at my son and saying to myself, "This kid will never be mine. And that's fine."
I didn't see his first smiles. I didn't see him roll over the first time. I didn't see him crawl the first time. I didn't hear him babble the first time. I didn't see him take his first steps. I didn't see him run for the first time and fall. I didn't dry his tears. I didn't pick out his toys. I didn't help him play the piano. I didn't read him a book at night. I didn't help him pick flowers for his grandmother. I didn't get him dressed for his first day of school. And that's fine.
I'm not saying they don't sting. I'm not saying that at the moment I realized all of these things it didn't hurt a bit. It did hurt. A lot. But I also realized that it was fine. I don't have to feel bad about missing all of these things. His parents saw them all and told me about them. He knows that he's loved and knows that he's taken care of and that's all I ever wanted for him. It's just the simple and very painful fact that he couldn't have found that with me. But that's fine too.
Acceptance is not the moment when the clouds break and everything becomes good and right and beautiful in the world. Acceptance is the moment when you accept reality and all that happened in it. And acceptance is when you see all of that and realize that you're fine with all of it. This was the only way to protect my son and give him the life that he deserved. People got hurt in the process. People had to put aside their differences and their opinions and agree. There will be conversations that I will have to have later in life with my son about all that happened. But in the end, I don't regret what I had to do. Not for one second. And for right now, I'm fine with it.
It takes a long time to get to this point. It took me four whole years to get to this point. And I don't doubt that there will be times in the future where I'll go through this again. If you feel like you should have moved on by now or you should be better by now or anything like that, stop telling yourself that. And if people tell you that you should be better by now, tell them as politely as you can that you are trying to get through this at your own pace. That is all that matters in the end. You need to get through this at your pace and in your time. I hope you're all doing well today and I hope you have a fantastic weekend. See you again next week!