I am a 24-year-old heterosexual woman. Last year I placed my son for adoption with a fantastic lesbian couple who have been together for 20 years. While the decision was very difficult, I know I made the right choice for everyone.
We agreed to an open adoption. Now my biggest problem is that my own parents don’t know any of this. I stopped talking to them right before I got pregnant, and was afraid to reconnect with them before I gave birth. My biggest fear was that they would stop the adoption process by telling the judge that it would be better for my son to live with them instead of his new mommies just because they are lesbians.
I feel like I know what it is like to be closeted. I have a big secret that I think will make my parents disown me so I haven’t contacted them. I certainly know that they would not have approved of an adoption in the first place, much less with a lesbian family. I don’t think I could lie about it. But I also don’t think that I could jeopardize my son’s new family that I love and helped create.
Now that the adoption is finalized, do I continue to stay silent?
The most important thing to remember is that the adoption is now final. Your main reason for your silence — to prevent your parents from stopping the adoption process — is no longer a threat.
Family secrets never go away on their own. When they are not confronted, they get discovered at the worst times and in the messiest ways. Even secrets that are not officially recognized have toxic effects on families. In this case, this secret has cost you all communication with your parents. Considering that your relationship with them is currently non-existent, you have nothing to lose by telling them what you’ve been up to for the past couple years and seeing how they react.
Your parents will need to adjust to the fact that you had a child and that you chose to give him to another family. I think it’s fair for you to tell them that you felt so strongly about finding a loving home for your son that you did not want anything — including your own family — to intervene. Be prepared for any number of reactions — they might feel hurt, saddened, angry, insulted. Don’t get defensive; you did what you felt you needed to do for your son.
After more than a year of silence, they are sure to know that there’s something major going on. It could be a relief for them to understand why. As for the details of the adoptive family, this might be something you want to delay for a while. All that your parents need to know is that you know your son was placed in a loving home and for the time being, you’d like to keep the details to yourself.
This isn’t something that you can put off forever considering that this is an open arrangement and you will be receiving photographs and phone calls from your son’s family. In the meantime, find out if the relationship with your parents is worth rebuilding at all.