I’M Not Giving Up On Her

It’s been months since I’ve heard from birthdad…

He moved hundreds of miles away last summer for work.
We stayed in touch for a while, texting multiple days a week.

Then around my birthday, he just stopped communication..

I kept trying to check on him, but it was hard when I got nothing back and knew nothing about what was going on. He’d never just disappeared without a reason like this before.

Thanksgiving passed and I still hadn’t heard from him. It had been almost three weeks by that point, so I chose to stop reaching out.

It came time to start planning the next visit with our daughter, which I had been delaying in hopes that I’d hear from him – which didn’t happen. So I went ahead and emailed adoptive parents, telling them that I hadn’t heard from him for weeks now but I was still including him, just in case.

About a month after I’d stopped reaching out to him, I drafted an email on Christmas Eve. But I knew I couldn’t hit send immediately. I sat on it for about 36 hours. I read it, rewrote a few things, read it again, and finally hit send.

New Years came and went, still no word from birthdad.
The visit got delayed first due to major snow we got, and then delayed again because I tested positive for covid.

When we did finally make it to our visit, I was able to find a small silver lining to birthdad being absent – we’d had to reschedule twice, and that might not have been possible if he’d flown in from where he moved to.

When I had a moment alone with adoptive dad during lunch, I asked if they’d heard from birthdad. He said they’d reached out and hadn’t heard anything back. I told him about the email I’d sent a month prior giving birthdad six months before I stop including him on visit emails. I wanted to tell him for honesty sake, what I’d done, but I still nervous about how adoptive dad would react to what I’d chosen to do.

To my surprise, but also not surprising at all, adoptive dad was totally supportive of what I’d done.

That may partially have been because I told him I would never speak ill of birthdad to them or to our daughter. I will always encourage him to have a relationship with our daughter if he comes back into the picture. If adoptive parents want to invite him to a visit if he’s in town, I’m open to us being there together.

My decision to give six months had nothing to do with birthdad, and everything to do with me. I knew that I wouldn’t be okay sending planning emails every six months and never knowing if he would respond or show up at our visits. I knew I had to let go of him and to to start walking away for myself.

Now that we’re over four months into the six I gave, it’s gotten a lot easier for me to talk about him being m.i.a. I still have no clue what’s happened to him though.

I don’t know if he’s okay.

I don’t know if he started dating someone new and doesn’t want to bring up the complicated past with me and the fact that he has a kid he has no rights to because we made an adoption for her.

I don’t know if he’s just busy with work.

I don’t know if he got covid and had crazy complications.

I don’t know if he was in an accident and wound up in a coma.

I honestly don’t even know if he’s alive or dead.

For weeks, my worry about what happened to him was all-consuming. I knew that I couldn’t change the situation, no matter what I wanted, so eventually I had to put his absence in a metaphorical box in the corner and ignore it.

It hasn’t been easy to move on not knowing what happened to him or what’s going on, but something my therapist had me do really made a difference. They had me write a “goodbye letter” to birthdad. I had to put into words why I was letting go, and force/allow myself to remember the good things from all the years he and I knew each other. Remembering the good doesn’t negate the struggle I’m facing because of his absence, but it reminded me that the good memories still exist even if he doesn’t come back into the picture.

So, I don’t know if I’ll be disappointed on Mother’s Day that he’s still out of contact, or if I’ll be grappling with his return. But that’s when I will officially stop hoping he comes out from whatever hole he’s been in for months – even though I’m kind of already there. I’ve had two visits with my daughter without him and planning them was always my thing even when he was around, so not a whole lot will change anyway.