I am approaching a milestone (at least in my eyes). My birth daughter is going to be turning 5 next month. That is 5 years of watching her grow up from afar, and 5 years of missing out on things. It also marks 5 years of a wonderful friendship with her adoptive family, and five whole years of growth for me.
If you can't tell, the month before my birth daughters birthday always leaves me feeling a bit sentimental. This year in particular though, I am really focusing on the "what ifs." You know what they are. Thinking about if things could have been different.
In the beginning, I often wondered what life would have been like had I not made an adoption plan. I often dreamed of ways that I could have made it work as a single mom coming out of an abusive relationship with a toddler and a newborn. I thought of things that I should have done, and things that I could have done differently. Especially in the month between my daughter's birth and the court date that terminated my parental rights, the “what ifs” were very strong.
Now, though, 5 years past my adoption placement, I have a different set of “what ifs.” Now, when I think about what life would have been like if I hadn't placed, I am saddened. Not because of my placement, but because I can't picture my life being any more perfect than it is right now. If I had never placed, there's no saying that my husband would be my husband. He is a wonderful man who took on the responsibility of raising my young daughter, when he absolutely didn't have to. However, I wonder if taking on the responsibility of a toddler and a newborn, all while still forging a new relationship would have been too much for us.
I also wonder if I would have been given the employment opportunities that I have had. I worked full time for several years after my placement, and was referred to the company by my birth daughter's dad who also works there. It provided me with financial security, which I had not had for several years. It gave us the funds necessary to pay for our wedding, and then purchase our first home.
I do suppose that everything could have worked out exactly as it did had I not placed, but I am doubtful of that. My adoption placement served as a springboard that led to many amazing things happening in my life. So for this birthday, instead of focusing on the incredible sadness that was my hospital experience and the weeks following it, I am going to think of all the ways that my life went right after I placed. I am going to think of my youngest daughter, and how if it weren't for my adoption decision, she likely would not exist. I am going to think of the wonderful experiences that my oldest daughter has been able to have, that I likely wouldn't have been able to afford if I hadn't placed my middle child. And I am going to think of my marriage and how God blessed me with the exact man that I needed at the exact same time that I wasn't expecting to need him.
What have been some of your “what if” thoughts, and how have you been able to get past them?