Once when I stayed at hospital with my boy, I met Linda, a middle-aged woman who stayed with her child there. Since our kids had similar conditions, we had some topics to talk about. Linda was a successful manager at a multinational company and was quite well off. We would chat every day, but once a very unusual phrase caught my attention.
Linda said that her 'former' child had the same condition. At first, I thought that it was a slip of the tongue. I thought she meant 'another' child. The next day Linda said it again in almost the same context. Then my curiosity took over, so I asked what happened to the older baby. "Linda, sorry for being too nosy, but another child is alive, isn't he?" I asked.
Linda calmly sipped her tea and somehow absent-mindedly answered: "Yes, of course. Alive. In foster care... When I had my boy, I returned him almost immediately. You see, he wasn't mine."
And she went on to tell her story.
"It was back when I was a student. I was young, slim and beautiful! Just looked at myself in the mirror and admired. There were lots of men courting me, and one of them got me pregnant. As I was just 19 years old, I opted for an abortion. The procedure was successful, but all the same I had complications.
When I got married at the age of 25, I started thinking about becoming a mom, but the doctors stunned me: most likely, I would never have kids. The reason was the mistakes of my youth, my lifestyle and that unfortunate abortion.
Oh, I cried my eyes out. For this reason, I broke up with my ex-husband. At the time I was 33. My career took off, but I still wanted a baby.
You know, when you don't have something, that's what you crave for. It was just like an obsession...
Then I made up my mind to become a foster mom. I filled in tons of papers, got all sorts of certificates and approvals, underwent therapy and was constantly proving that I could, that I could, that I could be trusted... When I wasn't hoping for anything anymore, I got the baby. How excited I was! As if I had conceived!
I flew to another city to pick the baby up, bought presents, decorated my home, brought him home... To cut the long story short, my idea of what it would be like was far from reality. The baby was constantly sick, throwing tantrums, screaming, developing with a delay. However, I was warned about all of this. A year later I got used to my new role, and this child became almost like my own. I got used to him. My mom and sister helped me.
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And then I met Ryan. I fell madly in love with him and suddenly conceived. I was over the moon! I went to the best doctors right from the start, turned one room into a nursery, started buying baby stuff. The only thing that prevented me from being absolutely happy was my foster child.
He was five at the time. He was cute, nice, but...not mine. It was as if I had a neighbor's son living in my apartment, or just a boy from the street who needed a place to stay for a while waiting for his parents. For some reason I kept growing angry at this boy. I realized that he was NOT mine and would never be. And it occurred to me that in the future my biological son will have to share my money with the foster child.
At that moment I realized that I had to return him to the foster care system. I would do it for the sake of my family and the peace of mind of my real baby.
Everyone was shocked by the news. My mom cried and even wanted to get custody of him, but she was not allowed to because of her age, my sister stopped talking to me, and my partner even threatened to break up with me. But I had already made up my mind and wasn't going to change it. We celebrated the foster boy's sixth birthday, and a few weeks later I gave him away.
Did I cry afterwards? Yes. Once. But only because fate had given me such an ordeal, and I had to wait so long for my own child. And when Jonny was born, I forgot about the tears, and the fatigue despite I was almost 40.
Now I'm happy. I don't remember much about my 'former' son. To live all my life with an unloved child is just a lie, a lie to myself and to him. That boy got a chance to find a new loving family... So, I think I've done everything right!"
I did not reply anything to Linda at the time, but I've never talked to her since. For some reason it was very hard for me to stay in the same room with this woman.
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