Dear 17 Year Old Me:
I wish that you and I could sit down, with a Diet Coke, and the sun on our hair. I wish that I could take your hand and tell you what the future is like, and what you could do to avoid it. I wish that I could save you the eons of heartache that you will endure. I wish I could rescue in the exact way that you will pray for. It’s just not possible. And, to a certain extent, I think these are lessons you need to learn.
Right now, you are working hard, and you are with a guy who you think is the love of your life. He is a great guy mostly, and while it doesn’t work out, he is a decent guy who will always have a special place in his heart for you. It’s just one of those, “we don’t really work together because of different life goals”. I know it’ll feel like the end of the world when you break up, but it’s not. There is someone amazing out there for us, trust me.
I know you miss your family, and I know you desperately wish that they would just accept you as the free spirit that you are. To be honest, it’s always been hard for me to understand how we fit in with the family we came from. We don’t really, do we? I’ll save you some work, and tell you this- they won’t ever be the parents you dream of, and they will never love you exactly how you want them to. It’s beyond their capability. Even at this age I haven’t figured out if it’s the way they were raised, or if some of their senses have been dulled from their fanatic following of their religion. So don’t waste time on it, because it never changes, in fact, it only gets worse as you become more of an individual. I know you’ll keep trying, but I wish you wouldn’t. It’s honestly not worth the constant heartache and disappointment.
Soon you will be slammed with the news that you are pregnant. And it will literally throw your entire world upside down. A will disappear, and he will break your heart with his accusations. Don’t be too hard on him, he’s just as scared as you will be, though it will take you years to figure that out. Teenage pregnancy is scary for everyone involved, until you figure out a plan. Your parents will be…well, your parents. The rumors will hurt you most of all, and you will cry yourself to sleep as you lose friends, one by one, as your belly gets bigger.
I wish I could come back and spend the next couple of months with you, but I can’t. This road you are about to embark on is a long, tedious, heart wrenching one, so please just listen to these few pieces of advice from me…or rather, you in the future:
You are an incredibly amazing, intelligent woman, and the next ten months will make you grow up faster than you think is even possible. You have no choice because you are making some huge, life-altering, grown up decisions.
Keep on writing, even when the darkness weighs heavily on you, and I know it will. Keep on writing about it. Writing will save you in ways that religion has never been able to. It will help you deal with the wounds of your childhood, and it will make you a stronger more confident woman. One day, when you begin to write your story, those journals will help you find that voice you wish you’d been strong enough to project.
No matter what they tell you, adoption is not the only answer. They will tell you that you will be blessed, and that eventually you’ll forget. You will never forget, never. The moment you see him, you will love him, and that love does not go away, in fact, it only grows as he grows.He will always be your first born, and as time goes on, you will learn just how much you gave up when you relinquished your parental rights to him.
You will go into a deep depression for years. Who you are will change, forever. You will deal with an insurmountable amount of anger that will be tied to both your childhood abuse and the adoption. The struggle will be a battle that will overcome you for years, especially as you come to terms of the reality of being a “birthmother”. During these years, you will push many amazing people out of your life because of fear and trust issues. Eventually, you’ll find people who won’t buy your crap, and will encourage you to keep doing the work, but until then, you will be incredibly lonely in your heart and in your head.
If you want to, you could make this parenting thing work. You are resourceful, and smart. Oh, you are so smart. No one told you that growing up, I know, but you are. If you want to take that baby home from the hospital, you should. No one will offer this to you as an option, so you will assume that it’s not an option, but you should know, it is. One day, you will be an amazing mother, and I know that because in the future, even with the natural mistakes that you make, motherhood fits you.
Adoption is not as easy as they make it seem, and I know you will put up a fight. I wish there was a way I could convey the importance of not losing your voice in this process. But, if there is one thing you do right, it’s picking the family you do for The Kiddo. They are amazing, incredible people. You will love them, but they are no more worthy to parent than you are. You are his Mother, you are the best choice.
I know it’s not possible for me to undo all that is going to be done. I know that you will pick the same path I did, out of sheer necessity and because you don’t know any better. It’s inevitable.So I’ll tell you this, in ten years, I will come out of the proverbial Adoption Closet, and I will give you a voice. It will be hard at first, and I will struggle with weakness and doubt. But we do finally break free of the shackles we were given to a certain degree. We deserve to be able to tell our story, your story with power and strength. Through writing, we do this.
Imagine this, there will be people who listen, who cry with you, and find comfort in your story. Through your writing, talking and the support of other woman who get our heartache, we will find away to patch the cracks of the hardship we dealt with. Your voice will be bigger than you can ever comprehend.
We will never be the same, but we will be better. We will get better. It will take time, and years, but we do get better.
Most importantly, you should know how wonderful you are. Don’t doubt yourself so much. You are going to be an amazing woman, with two beautiful children who will call you Mama. They won’t replace The Kiddo, ever, but you will get to see the exceptional beauty of motherhood. Don’t worry, we do get through this, but this adoption choice, it’s a life long journey, not just a couple months like they say. You will be bruised, scraped and bleeding. Some of the scars will stay with us forever, but we will fight back, because it’s in our blood. We are a born fighter.
Just breath, young girl. You matter more then they tell you.
And don’t forget to raise that voice.