Since Sri Lanka is one of the countries where meeting the biological mother of the child one will adopt is a pretty likely event, we were encouraged to prepare beforehand for this possibility. Of course, this is a wise thing to do as it is perhaps one of the most poignant meetings a person can experience. I try to imagine it from the biological mother's perspective but I can't, except that if I were giving William up, there is so much I would want, no beyond "want", that I would just be desperate to know about the people in whose hands I was placing my child, my heart and world.
I think I would tuck the answers away in my heart and memory like secrets, so that regardless of what my life consisted of, I would have that hope and knowledge that he was loved and cherished.
Yet we were the ones encouraged to prepare. To make a list of questions for her. As though to interrogate her was our right. As though she somehow, along with everything else she was giving us, owed us information about herself as well. As if we had a right to the private pieces of experience and pain and joy that made up her life.
To be honest, at first I didn't question that we did have this right simply because it didn't occur to me to question it. It was only later, when we were told that we would be meeting the biological mother the next day that I began to genuinely consider what we should ask her. Lying on the hotel bed, I thought and thought and with every question that popped in to my inquisitive brain, my immediate response was " but that's none of my business". None of my business may be true, but what about William's business? Doesn't he have a right to whatever information I may be able to glean from his biological mother's answers?
Here is where some people may disagree with me, (or maybe I flatter myself to assume that disagreement comes so late in the post and you've really been fiercely disagreeing with me all along?:), but I don't believe it is William's right either. Not now at least. Most of us have a natural curiosity about those who came before us ingrained in us and if William does, then I will encourage that one hundred percent. I hope he does. I hope so much that he decides someday to meet his beautiful biological mother, a woman of quiet strength and grace. Then she can share her story with him and it can become his as well and he can choose to ask questions and she can answer them if she chooses, but for those involved, the seeking and imparting of intensely personal information is a matter of choice and not a presupposed right. It should be treated as such.
After a lot of thought, Per and I could only think of two questions that we had a right to ask. First, if she had anything she wanted to know about us, anything that might help put her mind at ease, that she could remember and draw strength from in the future, even just anything she was curious about. And second, if there was any message she would like us to pass on to William when we is older.
All the other details that make up a life...all the questions and answers...everything, both huge and small that love encompasses...every sacrifice made...there's time for everything. And while lives may touch, intersect, join, meet, or separate, every person's journey in life is always their own.
I see William, Per, William's biological mother and I as a circle. Our lives and hearts and hopes are now connected for eternity.