this is the third re-write of this post, and still i don't know what it is that i really want to say.
chewy was welcomed into a new home tonight, with a new family that will love him and care for him in all the ways i could ever wish for. but i am heartbroken at the feeling that i have abandoned him.
years ago when i was acknowledging my cross-national adoption for the first time, and understanding what it means to me to feel that loss, i met someone who helped me develop the strength to find some inner peace. it was literally just a single talk we had one evening, but it has stayed with me for 15 years now.
she grew up in a strict catholic family in the 1960s and when she became pregnant as a teenager her parents forced her to give the baby up for adoption. and what she told me was: "after 30 years i have never forgotten my son or his birthday. it is impossible for a woman to forget the experience of being pregnant, giving birth, and the baby they were not able to keep. your mother has not forgotten you."
at the time she told me that i was a teenager and had never been even close to being pregnant. so i could not really relate to her experience, but i took her words on faith.
and at the risk of being anthropomorphic, i can't help but remember her words as i pass along chewy to his new family. and before you start criticizing me for comparing a kitty to a child, it's not the adoptee that is the same. but it is the act itself - giving something i love away to someone else - that has unexpectedly triggered so many feelings of grief, loss, abandonment, and doubt.
my friend who adopted chewy told me that it is when we love and care for someone or something that we have to make hard decisions.
so tonight, dear chewy, i hope you are settling in with your new family. giving you to m. was one of the hardest decisions i have had to make.
we came back home and your little welcoming meow at the front window was missing, and your funny little spirited personality is no longer there to make us laugh. i cry when i think of your face as we drove away. but i will never forget you.