image c/o acelebrationofwomen.org
We once worked with a birth mother who found out several months after she’d placed that she’d inherited several thousand dollars.
As soon as she found out that a distant relative had left her the money, she was filled with regret for the adoption. She was going to be able to use the funds to buy a car so she could have reliable transportation for a job, meaning that she would become much more financially stable than she had been when she’d decided to place. She felt that if she’d known this before, she would have been less likely to go forward with adoption. The news, and ensuing regret, put her in a very dark place, and our hearts went out to her.
About a month after she told us out about the inheritance, she called to speak with her counselor again. Her counselor was surprised to hear her sounding more energetic than she had in a long time. Our client had sought the support of her loved ones and had spent a lot of time reflecting on the recent events in her life, and she said that ultimately, she was comforted by her belief that things happen for a reason. She might not know it now, she said, but there had to be a reason that she didn’t receive the money a few months earlier and that she chose adoption. Instead of feeling regretful, she had decided to trust in the order of the universe.
Many of the birth parents for whom we work say they feel that their child’s adoption was “meant to be” in some way. Sometimes, just seeing that their child is happy and healthy is enough to make them feel that adoption has clearly been the right path. Other times, they find comfort in random connections between themselves and their child’s adoptive family. For example, we worked with one birth parent who named her baby in the hospital knowing that the adoptive family would change the name later. The name she chose was not a common one; it was special to her. The adoptive family did not know what name she had picked, and when it came time for them to name their son, they chose the name based on a billboard they’d seen on the highway. It turned out to be the same name the birth mother had chosen because it was special to her.
Stories like this one often make birth parents and adoptive parents feel that something beyond coincidence has led them to one another. Even smaller connections, like finding out you were born in the same area as your child’s adoptive mother, can be comforting in the days, weeks, months, and years after placement.
In her book Everything Happens for a Reason: Finding the True Meaning of Events in Our Lives, Mira Kirshenbaum contends that everything that happens in our lives happens for one of the following reasons:
- To help us feel at home in the world
- To help us totally accept ourselves
- To show us that we can let go of fear
- To bring us to the place where we can feel forgiveness
- To help us uncover our true hidden talent
- To give us what we need to find true love
- To help us become stronger
- To help us discover the play in life
- To show us how to live with a sense of mission
- To help us become a truly good person.
Do you agree with Ms. Kirshenbaum? Do you think your adoption experience could have happened for one of these reasons? What kind of meaning have you found in the process? Tell us in the comments section below!