There comes a time when you decide you refuse to quit. Middle school was that time for me. After giving my son up for adoption. Before moving in with my foster family I made a commitment to God and myself. I held my son. Looked into his beautiful brown eyes. Choking back the tears I promised not to have any more children until I was married. I told him not to let anything stop him. Sniffed the inside of his neck, where it smelled like baby oil and sweetness one last time then asked him in the quietest whisper I’ve ever used to forgive me for not being enough to give him what he needed in order to be able to stay with me.
His adoptive parents were good people. They loved him. I could tell from the questions they asked they’d been hurt by someone else trying to adopt. Her protectiveness was fierce when she asked me if I would ever try to take him back. Mine was just as intense when I told her no because he didn’t deserve to be put through the confusion and pain of losing a mother twice. I loved him better than that even though I couldn’t parent him anymore.
The truth of how much I needed to give him up for adoption hit me in waves. Coming home from singing with the choir and finding my baby screaming at the top of his lungs while my addict cousin slept in the back room — His head caught behind the piano in the living room of my aunt’s home. My biological mother’s boyfriend calling pretending to be his father to try to take him from daycare. The toxic environment of my biological family was not only not good enough for my son, it wasn’t good enough for me.
Before I saw my son succumb to the patterns of addiction, failure, manipulation, and other issues that plagued my biological family I’d give him to someone able to provide a better home. Two loving parents adult in age and responsible enough to provide for all of his needs. God was merciful in plucking me from my family. Giving me a Dad, too. I didn’t know that would happen when I gave my son up for adoption. I only knew the environment I lived in wasn’t conducive for his best to be realized. I loved him better than that so I kissed my beautiful boy’s forehead. I kissed him, apologized, told him I love you, and let them take him away.
A year later, I relinquished my parental rights and threw myself even more into my school work. Right after he left, my biological mother came back into my life. We lived together one more time. She left me, for the last time to come home from school to find an empty apartment to go be with the man who molested me while I was pregnant. Sitting alone in the dark, waiting for her sister to come to pick me up, to live with her again destroyed the last shards of hope left for us to ever be a family. Despite the hell I faced at home, my grades and scholastic endeavors didn’t suffer.
The day I gave my son up for adoption, I promised my son and myself, my sacrifice would not be in vain. My desire to make something of myself was born out of loving someone more than I’d ever been loved. Enduring what some would consider insurmountable odds “motivated” me to never quit. When the pain, challenges, frustrations, and injustices of life came as an adult I didn’t consider giving up… I’d never learned how.
My son’s face would flash before my eyes. The scent of his neck wafted up my nostrils from the place deep down in my soul I’d protected by building walls most people weren’t brave enough to attempt to climb over or knockdown. For years, sheer determination came because even when no one else knew what I’d sacrificed or why… I knew. People say hate is strong but I know something even stronger. Revenge is nothing compared to the strength, tenacity, and grit of love. Pure, unyielding, unrelenting, impenetrable, untainted love will cause you to keep your word even when no one else knows you gave it. People have claimed to admire my “drive” over the years.
Truth be told, I didn’t get the hype. When you’ve lost what should never be taken, been abused because you were unprotected, neglected and used spitefully by those who should cherish you and God in His infinite wisdom still chooses to trust you with a life as precious and fragile and priceless as your own — I didn’t see any other way. My choice to persevere, live life with no regrets, choose to see the lesson in loss, the blessing in every trial, came with a price many would not be willing to pay.
My own painful experience and the ability to see the truth about my family environment required a 13-year-old child to make a decision women twice my age have told me they wouldn’t have been able to make. Loving my son enough to give him to people who were able to give him what I didn’t possess but knew he deserved was the moment life gave me a reason to never give up. Knowing God heard my prayers for him to have a better chance. For him to have a Dad and a Mom to love him. For him to be in an environment that was safe and his value acknowledged and his gifts supported and nurtured made the pain I carried of giving up my child worth it. Stop working to make my dreams come true?
For some, having amazing parents and a healthy —not perfect, no one’s childhood is perfect— but a healthy home environment affords them the emotional support they need to fight through the challenges of life… that is the power of unconditional love. Living in a healthy home environment didn’t happen for me until the second half of my freshman year of high school. My tenacity, determination, grit, fortitude, and work ethic were acquired a much less desirable way but the strength I needed to learn to endure came from the same place… I became unstoppable when I finally experienced agape love.
Having a son. Being trusted by God to do right by him. Learning to trust God with the most important person in my life forced me to take stock of life’s harsh realities way too early. My childhood stopped years before I turned 13. Life offered me countless opportunities to become heartless and God provided the ability to choose love. Strength to believe everything somehow despite all the pain, would work out for my good.
I didn’t do it to prove everyone wrong who hurt me. There has not been one dream I’ve achieved because “success is the best revenge.” No, unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, anger, and malicious intent were too easy to recognize in the eyes of the adults who made my childhood toxic. My strength then and my fortitude now are woven together by love, sealed by hope, and hemmed tightly by faith. Love, an overwhelming, intense, instinctual need, to care for and protect my child rose up inside me. Love gave me the courage to make the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make to this day in my life. Love is responsible for my becoming unstoppable.
Nerdy Wordy GiG PowHer News
when you sign up with your name and email.