I outed myself at church* a few weeks ago.
I'd been feeling this itch for weeks that I needed to speak up about adoption in my ward. I'd let several opportunities pass by because I didn't know how people would take what I had to say. Finally, the first Sunday of the month, I got up to share my testimony. Normally when I get up, I have an idea of what I want to say. If I don't focus my thoughts ahead of time, I end up tripping on my words and stuttering and it's pretty thoroughly embarrassing. But that day, all I could think was, I need to get up. I need to speak.
I feel like someone in the congregation needed to know that I'm a birth mom. I don't know who and I don't know why, but now they know. I don't remember everything I said, but I know that I talked about how much God loves us, and how our greatest heartaches can bring us our greatest blessings, and then the words flew out of my mouth - "Two years ago I placed a child for adoption."
You want people to sit up and take notice? Announce to a group of ostensibly abstinent people, a group to which you belong, that you once got into a little bit of trouble. One girl actually did literally sit up. I had to smother a laugh.
I like to think that I managed a decent segue from my blurt back into God's love, but I don't remember. All I know is that it's out, and I'm out, and my goodness, but it's a relief! I wish I'd said something sooner. It wasn't as scary as I thought.
Here's the thing - I'm not ashamed of being a birth mom. I think that having Roo and placing her are the absolute best things I've ever done and that I'll ever do. I am proud of the choice I made, and I am ridiculously proud of my little girl.
Keeping silent about my story - not speaking up when I've wanted to in the past - feels like an act motivated by shame, and that's not how I feel. I mean, I do try to choose my words carefully, and I certainly don't introduce myself to people by telling them I'm a birth mother. My adoption story, mine and Roo's, is a precious burden - it's the most sacred thing I have ever been a part of, and I want to do it justice, to explain things the right way when it feels like the proper course of action. But whatever my reasons for keeping things to myself, my silence can be interpreted as shame.
I'm done letting people think I'm ashamed of these things that I've done. If people decide to take my story wrong, to focus on my mistakes instead of the good, then that's their choice. But they're not going to misunderstand my love for Roo or the choice that I made. I am speaking up because I love her.
*Some of the words in this post might be confusing to my readers unfamiliar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So I've included relevant links in a few words to help explain what I'm talking about. Move the mouse around to find them :)