Monday, May 20, 2013

If she'd seen my face

In perhaps her second letter to me, my birthmother mentioned almost offhandedly that she hadn't seen my face till the adoption agency provided for her pictures we'd sent to my foster parents (which begs the question as to whether my foster parents ever received them at all). It was determined, before I came out breech, that I'd be taken to the agency, and so, in a moment of near heartlessness, the nurses snatched me out of her womb and took me to another room. Instead of holding me or breastfeeding me (which I am quite certain her body was aching to do), she watched as the tip of my dark haired head was carried out of the room.

I mentioned this to a coworker recently, and he posed the question: "I wonder what would have happened if she'd seen your face?" He explained to me that the second he saw his son's face, everything changed for him and for the rest of his life. I've heard this several times from other parents - when they saw their children's faces, that's when they were so in love. That's when they were willing to do anything and everything for those children.

And what would have happened if I'd seen her face?

The implication my coworker was trying to make, without saying anything seemingly heartless, was that perhaps she would have changed her mind had she seen me. The decision, however, was not hers to make; so I think we first need to ask if she would have opted to see me in the first place. I like to think she would have.

I don't really have an answer to either question. In a perfect, dreamy world, she would have looked at my tiny face and fallen into the love bubble and never come out. And life would have been easy for her, in a way she never could have imagined. Realistically, had my small 5 lb. 6 oz. frame actually changed her mind so drastically, life wouldn't have been particularly easy for her. She wouldn't have been able to keep me (Confucious say no single women raise children), and it would have been an additional financial burden on her family, not to mention dishonorable (see also: The Scarlet Letter). But maybe she would have fought, tooth and nail, against all that just so she could keep me because she looked into my eyes and we had a connection. Maybe I would have grown up, just as feisty as I am today, because she taught me to fight.

Or perhaps, she would have made the exact same decision she did without seeing my face. Maybe my face had nothing to do with it at all.

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