My Dilemma

This is my second marriage.  It’s funny how even though I’m very happy in this second marriage, I still feel inwardly like I failed at something to even have to admit it.  I was young.  Was it a mistake?  I wish I knew.  The first marriage failed despite our best intentions, because of slow-acting poisons we took voluntarily.

My first wife was my closest friend in high school.  I was able to talk with her about things I could share with no one else.  My family was undergoing my parents’ difficult divorce at the same time I was growing close to her.  I needed her friendship badly.  She taught me how to swear.  She made me see the importance of protesting against war.  She knew about Eastern philosophy, and had read hundreds of books I had never heard of.  The authors I came to know and love because of her included Albert Camus, Anais Nin and ee cummings.  She sang in a beautiful soprano voice, and taught me my first chords on the guitar.  She was without a doubt one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever known.

Because we shared an interest in volunteering, we both became counselors at a local Crisis Intervention Center.  We shared the same group of intimate friends, most of whom were originally hers.  There wasn’t a whole lot I could teach her, but I did have a better sense of humor.  We had sexual chemistry.  We would do it until we were too sore to continue.

Things didn’t always go smoothly.  She had deep periods of depression.  She suffered from migraines and something called “polyneuropathy”.  She took antidepressants and other medications that made her act very odd at times.  Her parents were immigrants from Sweden and Yugoslavia and they were just…plain…weird.  No matter.  Mine were weird too.  It became another reason to be allies.

We married within a couple of years after high school and she was immediately pregnant.  However, she didn’t want a child.  She also didn’t want an abortion.  So she hid the pregnancy from me as long as possible, and denied it when I noticed, saying it was water-retention.  I had always wanted a child.  She knew that.  But she didn’t want one, with me or anyone else.  She felt she would ruin a child’s life for some reason.  She really believed it.  Nothing I could do or say ever changed her mind about that.

Late in her term, when it was no longer possible to deny the pregnancy, she presented me with a terrible choice.  I could have her, or the child – not both.  I needed her so much.  She was my best friend, the best I had ever had by far.  I was not as strong a person as I am now.  I agreed to put the child up for adoption.

At the hospital, they treated us like we were criminals.  The very idea that married people would give up a healthy, white infant (they are called “billion-dollar babies” in the adoption trade) was repugnant to the doctors and nurses.  I was in agony because I still deeply wanted to be a parent.  When I asked the doctor after the birth if I might be allowed to see my son, he said, “I don’t think that’s necessary.” and walked out of the room.  I can’t remember any moment of feeling more worthless and despicable than I did alone in that hospital room.  My shoulders slumped and I went to the floor on my knees.  I was too broken to cry.

In those days, there was no such thing as an “open” adoption.  Once you signed away your rights, you were allowed to leave a letter for the child and/or the adoptive parents, and that was it.  No further contact would be allowed, ever.  It was thought in those times that it was for the best.  My wife and I moved on.  Things got slowly better on the surface.  I got better-paying work at a film-manufacturing plant.  We got a nicer place to live.  We had a fulfilling life in most ways.  I learned to adjust to the ache.  I had a child who was growing up, but I would most probably never know him.

By the time we had been married five years, I had changed a lot.  I had been unhappy in high school and had dropped out from an attempt at college before I was married, but I had become more confident.  I enrolled in Community College and loved it.  My wife, who had also dropped out of college, seemed unhappy that I was enjoying it.  She began to complain about friendships I made at college.  We had the money, and she didn’t want to go.  I didn’t get it.  I couldn’t bring myself to believe she was jealous about the time I was spending apart from her.  In fact it wasn’t that simple.  The problem was that I had been unsatisfied with who I was and was changing, and she was basically satisfied with who she was and didn’t want to change.

By the time I had gone to college for a year, things between us got very tense and angry.  We had shouting matches over things like how much time I needed for homework.  We asked for help and advice from more experienced married friends.  We tried our pastor.  We went to several different counselors.  Nothing worked.  A lot of things came out in the sessions, though.  The lack of any clear resolution over the loss of our child was under the surface for both of us.  The lack of trust I felt from her about my new ambitions had reawakened those feelings of loss in me and I hurt.  I could feel the closest friendship I had ever had dissolving and slipping through my fingers like sand.  We had once fit together, and now we didn’t.

Unfortunately, fatally, she continued to insist in the counseling sessions that I stop seeing new friends.  She said I was wrong to be ambitious, and that I should be happy with what I already had and be grateful for it.  I WAS grateful.  I was also excited because I was learning new things, and life’s possibilities were opening up.  My wife kept threatening divorce, over and over – for months.  One day I just cracked, and took her up on it.  I walked out, taking only my clothes and a few things I could toss in the car.

My wife tried to delay the divorce process by legally compelling me to continue the counseling sessions which had become extremely painful and a dead-end to me.  Looking back from my position 30 years after, I can understand how desperate and afraid she was feeling.  We had once fit, and then we didn’t.  Neither of us knew how to change it, or how to accept it.

I did eventually remarry.  She did too, to a very nice guy we both knew.  I also met my son when he was twenty, and we have friendly (though infrequent) communication.  I’ll always wonder if I shouldn’t have made the other choice and raised him by myself.

It’s my greatest regret.

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28 Comments

Filed under Communications, Emotions, Ethics and Morality, forgiveness, Self-Esteem

28 responses to “My Dilemma

  1. Mikey,

    Thank you for sharing this very personal story and I am so sorry you had such a difficult experience with your placing your son for adoption. I am glad you and he reconnected. You may know that I have worked in the adoption field for almost 40 yrs and am also an adoptive parent. Three of my four are adopted. As I work at the final phases of closing the almost 29 yr old adoption agency I founded and direct, I am so grateful for the lives I have touched and who have touched my own, and for the fact that not one of my clients, birthparents, adoptive parents or adopted kids had such a judgmental,non-supportive experience such as you describe (If I can tell from all of the years of positive feedback and ongoing relationships).

    Nowadays I focus more of my time on my coaching practice, Vision Powered Coaching but shortly will go live with my other site, a division of my coaching practice, Expert Adoption Coach. I am running telesupport groups for people at all phases of the adoption journey, including birthparents, adoptees, prospective parents and parents and grandparents who were involved in placing a child for adoption even a long time ago and want a way to share and work through feelings, possibly to reconnect .

    It is sad that you were in a position of having to go along with something that clearly was not what you truly wanted at the time.
    Hopefully, though, he has had a good life and the door for further interaction with your son is never really closed. As he goes through different life and developmental stages he may have more of a need to get to know you.

    Best,

    Iris

  2. Thanks for your kindness in reacting, Iris. I didn’t have to go along. I chose to because I wasn’t strong enough not to. The tough part has been forgiving myself for who I used to be but am not now, in no small part because my son has had a difficult life. He and I do know and understand each other well, but you can’t get that time back. Because of the time it took for my life and learning to proceed, now that I am happily married at last I am also too old to qualify for becoming an adoptive parent.

    So I try to raise good pets, and make every person a member of my family as best I am able. That road remains open.

  3. Self-forgiveness is usually a more difficult task than forgiving others, but it is imperative to do in order to be able to live the most fulfilling and giving life we can. Self-forgiveness-does indeed become more complicated when you know that your son did not have an easy time of it. However, you really are not responsible for the actions of others in his life. You were also young and still in the process of character formation at the time. It sounds as though you have taken your lessons and put them to good use and are someone who believes in “paying it forward” and being the best person you can to those whose lives intersect with your own.

    In many ways you gave your son the same gift that all parents give, whether or not they have the privilege of raising their offspring. You gave him roots and wings. As he makes his way along the path of his own life journeys, he will discover for himself the value of each of those things, as well as the value of whatever he got from the others in his life.

    As for qualifying for adoption, it is hard for me to know if your perceptions are accurate because I don’t know you. It may or may not be so. Many people have misconceptions about adoption. If you would ever like to discuss it and would be willing to give up a tiny fragment of your anonymity (LOL) I would be happy to talk to you. I am not any longer placing children but know a great many people in the adoption world and would at least clarify for you if your belief about your eligibility is accurate or not. Then again, that may be very far from what you need to do or want to do at this point. If you do ever want to talk more about any of this, feel free to write me privately and be assured that all will be confidential and in friendship.

    • Thanks again. I took out your email address from the comment, Iris. As TimeThief has wisely taught me, if you post it publicly like that, the spam-bots will be all over you like those scarabs in “The Mummy”. (eeyaa!)

  4. Thanks. Just wanted to get my contact info to you in case you ever want it.

    Best,

    Iris

  5. I feel very blessed to be let into this part of your world. Actually, I feel blessed to be a part of your world in any capacity. While it’s true that I wish you had never been through such things, I realize that it’s all a foundation for who you are today, and today, if you’re willing, as it seems, to spend a lifetime learning from past dilemmas, you’re doing alright. Thanks Mikey, it was one of the most soul-baring things I’ve read in a long time.

    • I surely thank you for your appreciation and sensitivity. I’m nearing my 1ooth post. Figgered it’s time to tackle some grown-up stuff. (STAY TUNED for MORE, he said – using ANNOUNCER VOICE.)

  6. This was crushing to read. i never would’ve imagined you had gone through such agonizing times.

    This is coming from an outsider with few facts in the matter, and it’s not my purpose to criticize your first wife by saying this, but it sounded like there was a facet of control she wanted to keep over you in the relationship. It almost feels like she wanted to keep you in a glass jar; at a certain moment in your development as a person to keep you from changing. It seems somewhat ironic to me, since it seems she had such a great influence in changing who you were in your early days.

    • I agree there was a need for control, but I also think it was her youth and feeling of desperation. She eventually got to her own point of wanting to change, went back to school, got advanced degrees, and became a prominent suicidologist. She’s one of the execs at the Crisis Center where we were once volunteers.

  7. Mikey,
    Speaking of adoption and soul-baring, you might want to check out my last blog post where I also do a bit of soul-baring. The adoption world has been in upheaval since a misguided woman returned her adopted son to Russia. If you have time, please check it out. If not, don’t worry about it.

    http://irisarensonfuller.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/artyom-from-russia-an-experienced-adoptive-parent-professional-speaks-out-long-but-hopefully-worthwhile/

    You apparently touched a lot of people with your post about what you went through.

    • I’ll catch up by tomorrow night, but today I worked at the Urgent Care, then saw 4 homes with realtor and now I’m editing the pix from those to send my wife. Thanks again – I will get in touch once I get through these tasks…

  8. Little Bro

    TLatshaw said: “… i never would’ve imagined you had gone through such agonizing times. This is coming from an outsider …”

    As an “insider,” I can say that I never knew most of these details, only the slightest edge of them. Possibly because I didn’t want to, probably because we didn’t try to.

    This may be the most below-the-surface I’ve gleaned about your life in over 30 years. I have a feeling there will be much, much more of this in the next few.

    • I’ve been practicing invisibility for a loooong time, bro.

      You had your own dramas to contend with, as I recall.

      (My brother’s daughter will soon be having a child! – she just sent me pix of the shower.)

  9. Mikey,
    Wow. That was an uncomfortable read. Good job. I agree with so many of the encouragements you’ve received above, and also see that you have come to your own wisdom about this. Sometimes you just have to speak your doubts and mistakes, get them out in front of you so they can’t tear at your insides anymore.

    We all read ourselves into your story, somewhat, so I’m responding to MY ache in your dilemma, but I see similarities. I took a long time to grow up, too, and I regret much of my past, but I’ve also been lucky. My wife and I could not have biological children, mainly because of the lateness of the hour, and we had to deal with that very real grief (do still), but we adopted a newborn when I was 43 and we’re about to adopt another and I’m now 48. Both adoptions will have been open, independent adoptions (Washington is one of the best states for adopting). My wife and I are amazed and humbled and stilled by the bizarre pairing of one person’s grief and loss with the other person’s joy and elation. It seems impossible and unfair that the world could work like that. I feel you, man. As Iris mentioned, I don’t know of any legal age-limit to being an adoptive parent.

    Thanks for this post.

    • While I do appreciate all the kindness and encouragement, there are at this point quite practical and ethical considerations. If I were to become a parent now, I would be dealing with the tribulations of a teenager while in my seventies. Not good for either me or the child. My wife also has health issues now, and may require more care. Finally, I’m still under-employed (which I do expect to change) and a sofa-bed is no place to raise a child.

      But it’s nice to hear people believing I might have made an ok parent.

  10. Jeepers, I just realized that I already told you we were an adoptive family in the comments about your “coat of arms” post. I hope it was not my comment that sent you into the anguished soul-searching that produced this post. Then again, maybe all for the best…

    • It’s ok, Matt. I go back and re-edit my comments all the time. I repeat stuff and forget stuff, and, well, you know.

      At least on your own page you can DO that.

      Glad you connected. Sorry about the discomfort. The next one will be EVEN WORSE (oh nooooo).

  11. Cat

    Wow, that is such a tough thing to go through. I can’t even imagine. I like to think things happen for a reason, though. Perhaps your first marriage was not a mistake or regret but a painful learning experience that also took you to where you are. You wouldn’t have your second wife if you didn’t have your first, right? :) Much love.

  12. Sarah Baram

    Reading that was so hard. And as young as I am, I know the pain you felt when choosing between your wife and your child. It’s a hard decision to face, and I can’t imagine how it haunted you. But look where it lead you, and your son. I’m sure you are both happy in the situations you are in now, and as the people you have become. Don’t regret it, it lead you here. Let that make you strong.

    • Thanks. Sarah. Those who I’ve been reading who deal with hard stuff like this inspired me to write about it. I wouldn’t assume too much about my son’s happiness, and that continues to trouble me, so I continue to regret. However, I am stronger than I used to be, and regrets do not prevent me from continuing to try and do the right thing.

  13. I was also quite moved by this very revealing and touching story and am looking forward to the next installments.

    Your son has a whole life ahead of him and remember that a whole host of people and factors played a role in shaping him, and not just your decision. Regrets don’t help us move forward. They spring up like unwanted weeds when we are trying to cultivate new things in life and they choke out the good stuff. What weedkiller can you use that won’t be toxic to you and that will let the more positive things you have done flower? As for the past, many of us have had troubled lives and huge things to deal with. At some point we need to say, “the buck stops here” and that goes for your son too. He needs to find and take advantage of his own opportunities.

    • We generally agree, Iris. Balance is important. What we disagree on is probably only a matter of degree. I think regret is of tremendous positive value when accepted properly, and in fact it is the lack of regret that allows people to continue criminal behavior.

      Regret over doing the wrong thing is the basis of a moral compass. I believe people are guided toward ethical behavior by having regret over past mistakes just as often as they are led by heroic examples. Pain can focus you, and make you pay attention.

      If our national leaders retained a proper sense of regret for innocent lives lost, there would be fewer wars. Regret over past wrongs is the very thing that keeps addicts who try to better themselves in the recovery process. The deep regret I feel over my past incorrect actions played, and continues to play an important part in how I manage my own hurt and anger. But that will come in the next installment, so I’ll leave it there for now.

  14. I think we are in agreement more than anything and it is just a matter of semantics perhaps. I see two aspects or sides of regret. We can change and reshape ourselves through some kinds of remourse, pangs of conscience, guilt, but also the kind of regrets that fill us with sorrow, grief and distress may hold us back (I don’t mean criminals or politicians whom I sometimes lump in similar categories but regular folks).

    Looking forward to further installments!

  15. lianamerlo

    Thank you for sharing this. I can’t imagine having had to go through that experience; I’m not sure I would have been able to make the relationship work either. It’s always tragic when a marriage does not bloom as the couple grows and changes with life, but it is also an opportunity to turn a new leaf. And it sounds like you both were able to do that. Imagine if you had stayed and tried to work things out. You most likely would have been pulled down too, making you unable to help and support her in her depression. That would not have been an ideal environment to raise your son in either. I think your dilemma may have been more of a trigger that helped you find yourself.

    • I’m so happy when women I’ve loved have success in life after we are parted, and it saddens me to hear when one is struggling or in dire straits. Just because we can’t be together, for all the right reasons, doesn’t mean I don’t still love them and wish them well. Over time my ex-wife put her darkness to impressive use in service to humanity by becoming a qualified “suicidologist” – a specialist in a small, important branch of psychology.

  16. Sometimes I wonder: Is this “existence” we endure “hell”, for the purpose of teaching our souls lessons from our perceived failures necessary for us to spiritually mature?

    FAILURE?

    By virtue of your regret and the strength you now have, I feel that you did not fail – your success is evident in your conscience towards the life you wanted for your son and your first wife.
    You were forced against your will to make a decision limited to two options of which both choices conflicted with your conscience and at the time I feel you did not have all the information as to what the outcome of each option would be.
    I empathise with you that life with your first wife, as her husband you would have also suffered in ways from her conditions – her medically induced odd behaviour, her migraines, polyneuropathy and depression. Could it be these conditions influenced her to think she may be unfit to be a parent?
    THE HOSPITAL
    What happened to you at the hospital is unimaginably cruel and shameful for these so-called professionals to behave in such an uncaring and maliciously prejudicial therefore unprofessional manner towards you.
    That precious time they denied you, would have caused no harm to anyone yet they stole from you a pivotal moment of your life before you had the opportunity to bring such a moment into existence.
    This moment of holding in your arms your newborn son could have given you enough strength to review your choice.
    Perhaps that is why the doctors were against it?
    Why the hell do these ‘doctors’ think they can do your thinking for you and enforce their choices upon you? It is this sort of behaviour that makes me wonder if we are all slaves to submit to the will of the architects of this system “society”?

    CHANGE BRINGS PROGRESS

    Everyone changes unless they resist change. Life demands it. To grow physically, mentally and spiritually is the natural course of life. The means in which we grow is through interaction with others. To hinder interaction with others hinders that growth. In the sea of ideas, principals, values, knowledge and treatment we are exposed from such interactions with others, can enrich our awareness of this ‘reality’ we experience (if we allow it).
    Although my husband and I have always encouraged each other towards further development and learning, life sometimes gets so busy and demanding that it becomes a challenge for us to find the time we need with each-other.

    AWARENESS IS THE KEY TO THE TREASURE CHEST OF KNOWLEDGE

    However, without such development and learning that has and is likely to continue challenging our relationship, we would be unaware of so many things that for us to remain in such a state of unawareness we previously were in, is now unthinkable.
    There is a maxim that says “the credibility of a man is the measure of his sacrifice”. The awareness we now have, makes us less dependent on others and therefore less vulnerable.
    Most people are so monumentally unaware of what they do not know, to the extent that they can harm themselves by consenting through their lack of knowledge of the circumstances and the rules of society. Eg: we are all expected to comply with the law yet how many of us are competent lawyers?

    WHOSE MIND IS IT?

    We are all products of society. Society is the pressure-cooker that shapes our minds (this may be surprising to some).
    Education, Media and interaction with others (that have also been shaped) influence us by means peer-pressure/group-think and the fear of ridicule and/or exclusion.
    Erroneous lines of thinking (abuses of logic) have been expanded by psychology into behaviourism and used to ‘condition’ our minds to behave a certain way in response to certain types of stimuli (triggering).
    Examples are:
    – The Milgram experiments (falling for the directions of a false authority);
    – B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning (performing on indoctrinated false beliefs of reward or punishment); and
    – John B Watson (conditioning fear as the motivational force of society, instead of reason and conscience).
    Included are any deficiencies and weaknesses we blame ourselves for, upon our becoming aware of at the time we face the challenge we realise we are poorly prepared to handle competently, as well as the same deficiencies and weaknesses we find in others that we blame them for: Anger, Fear, Frustration, Insecurity, Jealousy, Selfishness, Lack of Confidence, Lack of Conscience.
    I wonder if most of us (to varying degrees) are broken and set up to fail by design?
    There is profit to be made from the chaos members of society inflict upon each-other and themselves, however the chaos is the effect caused by systematic mind conditioning which also makes the commoners weak and therefore more easily controllable and predictable.
    The first and most hindering form of involuntary servitude is the shaping of the mind to the will of the architects of the ‘system’. Then the mind made deficient by ‘education’ then has to deal with all the toxic ideas planted by the media. Is it any wonder why so many relationships become stressed and fail?
    Eg: Why is it that most comedy movies preach problems be solved with violence, bullying, ridicule, indignity, disrespect and deceptive behaviour towards each-other?

    HAPPINESS IS PROSPERITY

    The non-sense passed as wisdom “happiness is wanting what you have instead of having what you want” is an empty consolation that denies prosperity.
    – You would not have what you have without your previous prosperity.
    – To be persuaded not to pursue what you want in life for yourself and/or your family is to restrict your future prosperity, which is damaging.
    – Just because you currently have wealth to be thankful for as a result of your past prosperity, does not mean others have the right to artificially restrict your choices from those options that pursue your future prosperity. Such restriction is harmful as in the future, you will have less to be thankful for.
    – Where prosperity is restricted, there is no happiness. Etymologically, “happy” originated from an ancient Egyptian deity “hapi’, the perceived god who had control over the quality harvest – the food that people needed to prosper [actually, survive]. I do not see how anyone could be “happy” for settling for a harvest insufficient in adequately feeding the people?
    What would happen to the farmers if their satisfaction with the last harvest led them against planting seeds for the next harvest?
    We all have needs that we should pursue, to accept anything less on a regurgitated pseudo-philosophical quotation is unreasonable persuasion at best or at worst coercion under duress and threat of menace where we are told we stand to lose something we already have a right to (family, property, etc..).
    Where one suffers artificial restriction of his prosperity makes way for another to prosper in excess, tilting the balance of equality, equity and consequentially wealth. This is “changing the conditions of life in order to cause damage” and in the most extreme case is defined as genocide, where it is done intentionally on a class of people.
    Prosperity is more important than wealth – to achieve wealth is entirely dependent on prosperity, so as it to maintain wealth once achieved.
    What makes this relevant is Wealth is a general term that expands to include:
    – Intellectual wealth (knowledge and skill)
    – Spiritual wealth (conscience)
    – Social wealth (relationships)
    – Physical wealth (health)
    – Economic wealth (property)

    TO KNOW THY LOVER TAKES TIME AND EXPERIENCES TO REVEAL

    As a consequence of this “system”, those we choose to love (and/or choose us to love) are likely to have faults only revealed to us (and themselves) if we are aware of what to look out for and only when the circumstances that reveal such faults.
    How much we perceive we know about our partners (or ourselves), are not a complete set of the facts as to what state of mind and spirit our partners (or we) are in. Therefore: any decisions we make regarding our partners and the relationships we have with them, rely on luck to the extent of what we do not know about them (or ourselves).
    We only know of our partners what they have revealed by virtue of the experiences we have shared with them by behaviour or disclosure.
    And look at what you knew about her:
    – Closest friend in high school
    – Able to talk with her about things you could share with no one else
    – She was there for you when you needed her badly (your parent’s divorce)
    – You agreed on principles such as protesting against war.
    – You had shared interests such as volunteer counselling and music talent.
    – You shared close friends, although originally hers.
    – You admired her for her thirst for knowledge and philosophy, regarding her as one of the most brilliant people you have ever known.
    – Sexual Chemistry
    What “young” bloke (straight out of high-school) with a kind heart that would not fall for such a girl?
    However, the unrevealed remains a mystery in which we usually tentatively settle for hopeful speculative presumptions in alignment with what we do know. Speculation though, is never certain – at best only probable until a future experience of an incident the partner is involved in establishes certainty – either in support of; or to the contrary of such presumptions.
    Consequentially relationships always have an element of risk of which such risks may remain unrevealed until the relationship has progressed too far for such risks to remain harmless.

    FAULT?

    Consequentially my friend, I cannot see how the breakdown of your first marriage could be your fault? I see a man who went above and beyond in his good-willed attempt to make the marriage work under the most intense circumstances.
    It saddens me to say the fault I see is a mindset that led this poor woman into trying to control a man against his good conscience, nature and will with emotional manipulation and insincere threats of divorce.
    She misused his love for her, as a weapon against him – to emotionally weaken him to such an extent the unbearable mental and spiritual abuse she inflicted upon him drove him to abandon his life with her.
    Even worse: this occurred under the care and concern of a supposedly competent counsellor who failed to use the force of conscience and reason to steer the marriage back in the right direction. This counsellor was either incompetent or s/he intentionally maximised unjust gain (by increasing the number of counselling sessions required by withholding the concepts that would sufficiently construct a satisfactorily effective solution).

    CHOICES UPON THE CRYSTAL BALL OF CAUSALITY

    If only we had a crystal ball to peek into the future to see the consequences of our choices before we make them.
    The closest I have come to a crystal ball, is the principal of causality: There is always a root cause behind every effect.
    The concept of luck and chaos is what we may fall for when we have insufficient knowledge of the circumstances in which we make our choices.
    If we rely on luck instead of diligently seeking the necessary knowledge to determine the severity of the outcome for each choice before making it is reckless, as harsh as that may seem.
    The more critical the potential outcomes, the greater the diligence required to avoid unnecessary risks, we are not meant to take.
    To take risks can lead to taking from others what belongs to them in the form of consequences.
    – When the choice we make is wrong due to insufficient or inaccurate knowledge relevant to that choice, through the bad luck we suffer chaos.
    – When the choice we make is right although with insufficient or inaccurate knowledge relevant to that choice, it is only through good luck we enjoy peace and tranquillity.
    It may seem self-evident, that we should comprehend the circumstances using logic and guiding our decisions in response to our comprehension of the circumstances with conscience and without compromise. On the scale of right and wrong, there is no middle ground. These are some of the principals that fuel the strength of my free will – love thy neighbour, do no harm, what you give you receive.

    REGRET OR HEART-ACHE?

    Should I even try to answer your question regarding your regret: considering that at the time spanning your first marriage it would have been impossible for you to know about that marriage and your first wife what you know now, would have made it impossible for you to make the choices then in accordance with what you would choose now; have you ever met anyone achieve the impossible? No one can be expected to achieve the impossible.
    I think the word regret is inappropriate as it ‘implies’ that it was by your doing or failures that caused the outcome? As mentioned above, this is not what I see. More appropriate would be heart-ache.

    HOPE

    Some may say that our previous experiences and actions define us – actually that is what we previously were.
    What defines us in the present is the futures we make for ourselves by the actions each of us take upon the choices we make determined by the condition of our minds and spirit based upon what we have learned from our past experiences.
    It is the learning achieved from a dark past that can build a bright future.
    The good news is you still have the ability to make choices and act upon them.
    Comprehension of the situation you now face can lead to learning necessary for further forgiveness and healing.
    I hope you find acceptance of each-other through forgiveness and through that forgiveness, heal yourselves so you can enjoy life.
    I hope you keep in touch with your son, perhaps with patience, acceptance and understanding your relationship with him will grow stronger: simply by letting him know you will always be there for him no matter what happens (not in competition to his adopted parents, in addition to them).
    Perhaps (with a spirit of overwhelming unconditional love of a giving heart) ask the omnipotent prime creator of all that is (whomever you regard as the heavenly father), what you can do to help your son, and be patient with good faith for what manifests? The outcome may be wonderful!

  17. Although this was a painful story, it unfolded between 1975 and 1981, a long time ago. The experience helped me realize that medical and psychological professionals do not always act with compassion and understanding. I’ve used that lesson to guide me toward better behavior in my own career as a health care provider.

    For the most part I’m at peace with what happened. I accept that I made mistakes because of what I did not know or forsee, as did my ex-wife. She’s well, my son is more or less happy, and I hardly ever hear from either of them.

    I moved on because that’s the healthy thing to do, and I try to utilise my own regrets toward gaining a greater understanding of the difficulties of others.

    Thanks for reading and reacting so fully, Suzanne. I appreciate it.

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