• Coreen Ward

We will find a way...



Adoption is a beautiful, scary, enormous, loving, tearful, complicated thing.

I always said I had my painful contractions, they just came in emotional form.


We adopted Max when he was a baby. We were in the hospital when he was born.

I remember being just outside the delivery room with my husband. We figured out if we looked through a crack in the door and carefully peered at a picture hanging on the wall within the room, the glass vaguely reflected the actions going on inside. Josh and I listened for the cries of Max's first breath and melted. It was sweet and awkward all in one.


But I met my son before that moment.


I was at the doctor visits with his birth mother. I saw Max through her belly and heard his heartbeat.

The emotions you have during that time are mixed. Josh and I had lost so much through IVF and failed adoptions that having ties early was painful.


Having a relationship with the birth mother is something like no other relationship. We were fortunate that Melanie was a perfect match for us. She was brave and honest and communicative.


We would get together after Max was born about once a year to celebrate his birthday. She never made me feel like less of a mom. She never judged or crept in to undermine me. She just loved from afar without attachment. Kinda like aunts do, giving love and attention until it’s time to part.


When I found out Melanie passed away last Monday, I was shook.


No one tells you how to deal with these emotions. There is no workshop or guidebook. The feelings are strong and weird.


I’m so sad Max lost the opportunity to know her when he is old enough to understand. He is seven, he hardly understands adoption. Max knows he came from her belly, but what does that mean to a kid?


We hadn’t seen Melanie and her family in a couple of years, so I doubt Max remembers them much at all.


I am sad that her family is alone. Max’s birth father, who is strong and gentle, will now raise two boys and daughter, who can’t be more than two years old.


People always ask about the birth family. They can’t wrap their minds around how Max is here with us, and the birth family is so large. People can't understand a lot of things about open adoptions.


As of now, I do not know how she died, but I suspect it was the same thing that took so many people I love.

I don’t know why I have dealt with so many losses. I know more people to die from addiction than any other ailment. I have cried more times than I like to admit.


I think about my life and wonder if this is a sign? What lesson am I learning from all this?

I am the closest to understanding this disease without having it.

My mother always said to thank god for not understanding fully because that would mean I was an addict. Only addicts truly understand addicts, I suppose.


I think back to when I was a child and dealt with my mother’s relapses. I think of my mother and her strength and all her challenges. I think of myself as an innocent child, and it all is so sad.


Max and I already share blood with mothers of addiction. Now, we both lost our blood mothers to addiction.


I hate that we share these commonalities, but maybe that is why I have the past that I have. Perhaps I have gone through all the hell to help my son understand. To keep my son away from a life of addiction.


My close friend Shannon said to think about how I saved Max from dealing with the loss of mother at the innocent age of seven. I lost my mother at 25, and that was no picnic. Seven is too young.


He knows nothing of this loss, and I will hold on to that as my saving grace.


No one tells you how to deal with this kind of shit.

I will do my best to speak with love throughout the years and help Max understand age-appropriate information.


He is seven. I am his mom. We will find a way.


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