By: John Jericiau
As it has every year near the end of May, my mind wanders to the sad event that happened to me just over 9 years ago. To remind those that have read my blog in the past, and to get the rest of you up to speed, here’s a brief synopsis. I tried adoption as a single guy. My biological clock was ticking, and I was done waiting around for Mr. Right. After completing all the requirements, I was chosen for fatherhood by a young attractive girl when she was four months pregnant, and for the next five months we became emotionally and financially entwined, our long distance relationship strengthened by the intense phone conversations we would have every three days or so.
Just before she was slated to fly to California for the birth, my new son decided to make his debut in the world a couple of time zones away. But as she had promised, there she was a few days later, hobbling off the plane at LAX with a brand new beautiful baby boy (I expected nothing less from her!), plus a brand new boyfriend (him I did not expect!). After changing my son’s diaper on the floor of the bathroom at LAX, we were off to Santa Monica where she (and the boyfriend) could wait out the 48 hours before signing the relinquishment papers, while my son and I could go home and get started on our new life.
It turns out that as I was in heaven changing diapers, feeding, and burping my son, my friend the birthmother was going through hell from the pain of separation from her son. At the 24-hour mark, the party was over for me. She had called the social worker and said she wanted to return home right then and there with my/her son. Of course, I was devastated beyond belief, and I asked the social worker but was denied any further contact with my best friend of the last five months. I guess I thought maybe I could talk her out of it. No one besides me thought that was a great idea.
Of course, I spent the next who knows how long second-guessing my words and actions of the last five months. Should I have given her more money? Should I have put her up at a better hotel? Should I have let her name my/her son? Was it because I was gay? Was it because I was single but casually dating someone who I let her meet?
There was no one to answer these questions. I had no choice but to move on and hope that someone was looking out for me. And indeed someone was. Flash forward nine years and here I am on a family vacation in Puerto Rico with a husband I adore and three sons I cherish. I met my husband only a couple of weeks after the devastating event; something that I’m fairly certain wouldn’t have happened had the adoption gone through. And without this incredible man, I would not be sitting here with the three boys whose umbilical cords I cut, whose butts I wiped (and still wipe), and whose lips I kiss every night after we say our I love you’s.
Still, I’ve been having the dialogue with myself every year.
“I wonder how he is doing.”
“I would have a 9-year old son now.”
“Where are they living now?”
So imagine my surprise when, just the other day, I was checking my Facebook account on my iPhone, and up pops a friend request from the birthmother. I stared at it for quite a while, just to be sure that I was actually remembering her name correctly. Once I was sure, I clicked on ACCEPT. And I waited.
Okay, I only waited 15 minutes, and then I sent a personal message directly to her.
“Hi! I was surprised to get your Facebook request. It’s been a long time. Just over 9 years. To cut right to the chase, how is he doing?”
Of course, we both know about whom I’m talking.
“Hi John, I was a little hesitant to send it and wasn’t sure if you’d accept. He’s doing ok, he has Asperghers Syndrome. He was diagnosed at 2. He”s functioning much better then they thought he would. There are a few pics of him in my photos.”
I felt my chin drop to the floor. Asperger’s Syndrome is one of a group of neurological disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Asperger’s is considered to be on the mild end of the spectrum. People with Asperger’s syndrome have difficulty primarily in three areas:
• social interaction
• engaging in repetitive behavior
• rigidity in thinking and a focus on rules and routines
Since our next-door neighbor has a son with Asperger’s Syndrome, I was well aware of the difficulties that can arise in activities of daily living. I had always been so thankful that my three boys had been spared that syndrome (although it’s still young and I guess anything can happen.)
Is that him? Cool name (although Ryan is cool too but I understand why you changed it). I’m not mad or upset with you, but at the time it was as if someone tore my heart out. I’m happy now with THREE boys: Devin, 6 yrs old, Dylan, 5 years old, and Dustin, 7 months old. Check out their pics on FB.
She ended up changing his name, or I guess I should just say naming him (since he was only called Ryan by me for one day) something similar to Ryan. I always wondered about that.
Yes that’s him I know and I’m so sorry that happend. I wanted to contact you so many times to apologize but wasn’t sure exactly what to say. I felt so bad about it all that I almost called you to come get him but I couldn’t. The boys are so handsome, congratulations.They look so happy.
If I had known at the time that she was so close to calling me, I might have taken some drastic steps to get in touch with or find her.
Thanks! I was at the pediatrician appointment when the social worker called me. It was a shock but I’m enjoying our boys so much. I guess it was meant to be. Don’t feel bad another second. He was your son and meant to be with you.
I guess you are not with that guy who came to LA with you?
I didn’t like that guy and I always imagined that it didn’t last long.
I think my mistake was thinking that I could spend that much time with him and still go through with parenting. I’m now with an amazing man, and I moved.
That’s good for her and her son.
That’s awesome! Congrats! Looks like he enjoys fishing with your amazing man. How is he doing in school?
Obviously, I’m curious.
The fishing pics are actually my amazing man’s 12 year-old son Dustin. And my son is doing really good in school. He does very well in any structured settings but gets pretty uncontrollable if anything goes awry.
Wait, are you telling me that both her and I have sons named Dustin?
Btw I read a few of your blogs. Great job !!!
If you get around to reading this one, my friend, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reaching out. I can honestly say that I have closure. And for that I am forever grateful.