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Dear Birthmom,

(Last Updated On: November 22, 2014)

Have you ever had a letter you wanted to write, but knew you could never send it? It would be too real, too raw, too vulnerable? What about talk to someone who is out of your life? Sometimes, I have so many things I’d like to say specifically to our daughter’s birthmom due to our unique circumstances. This is not a letter to any birthmom. I will share that letter soon.

Today is National Adoption Day and my spunky lil’ punkin woke up ready for Christmas. She has been a bright light all morning. She told us that to feel the Christmas spirit you have to stretch your arms out wide, take a deep breath, and spin. It is mornings like this that make me feel so blessed to have a chance to mother this tiny tornado, and wish I could talk to her birth mother.Christmas Spirt

Every year as soon as the first signs of spring appear, I start mentally preparing to write her birthday update to our birthmom; I carefully craft the letters and select perfect pictures to tell the story of her year. The first few letters came easily, I was just so grateful for this gift of an amazing child. But this last year I struggled more than usual. I always keep the letters light, warm, and open, but I have things I wish I could say to her.

Dear Birth Mother,

I haven’t heard from you since she was still in the NICU, the day you planned to come back to see her one more time, but never called and never answered a call or email again. How did you walk out of that hospital without her? She has your ears, you know.The first time I saw her yawn, I could see your mouth in hers.

She’ll lay in bed with me in the mornings and tell me her dreams. Her dreams of being a bear trainer and a circus clown, and I’m awed by your sacrifice that built my family. I want to call you or send a picture right that minute, hoping to catch the way joy sparkles in her with my clumsy iPhone camera. But just like my phone’s lousy ability to capture the truth of her beauty, a picture wouldn’t capture her spirit either. Although this video is one of my favorites.

Sometimes, I’m really angry with you. You put cocaine into her tiny body, and I couldn’t stop you. While they scanned for brain damage, I held her tiny head, frantic for her. Despite being premature and some early breathing difficulties, she seems alright, but tiny signs make me wonder. We can’t know the future battles she may face due to the alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.

I also don’t understand not wanting to know her. I have emailed a few times, willing to keep communication open. Not one reply. There are moments that I feel like a mother is the one person who can celebrate all the tiny, insignificant, earth-shattering, wonderful things she does. Then, I wonder if you would understand, if you have that mothering instinct at all?

Or if that instinct is what encouraged you to give her away? Because you did bring her into the world. You gave her life. Not every woman would make that choice.

Maybe you’ve never answered an email because a single word to me would open a floodgate of regret. Maybe you have a hole in your heart, shaped just her size. I don’t want to remind you what you’ve lost. That’s why I stopped emailing so long ago.

Every time she calls me “Mommy” my heart wants to burst. The other day we were talking about her adoption and if babies remembering being born. I asked if she remembered her “real” mom. I don’t know why that word came out of my mouth, because I always use “birth” mom to describe you. Maybe it still doesn’t seem possible that she is mine. But, you know what, she looked right at me and said, “You’re my real mom.” And I am. I’ve been branded in snot, puke, poop, and hugs. I’ve played dress up and tea party, and had to discipline her when watching her chubby cheeks stained with tears was breaking my heart. I’m as real as it gets, but you’re still a part of her, too.

I try not to worry about how she’ll feel in the future. I don’t know if she’ll be more than curious, but I do know she will always have a hole in her heart for the people who gave her away. I pray I’m doing my job so well, it will be only a tiny thimble space of emptiness that won’t ever bother her. But I wonder if she’ll ever come looking for you. Will she turn toward your family, aching to know why you gave her away. Part of me doesn’t want her to need you, but I want to be OK with her loving you, too. Our hearts aren’t limited in how many people we can love.

I tell her that God always meant her for our family, that she grew in my heart as part of His plan for her. Yet, during those teen years, will she ever yell, “You’re not my real mom!” at me? I pray that she doesn’t ever feel like that, or even if she does, we’ll both know she didn’t really mean it.

Dear BirthmomToday is just another Saturday, even though we know it’s National Adoption Day. And I’m celebrating her and our family. Daddy made traditional Belgian waffles, so delicious they didn’t even need syrup. We’re gonna stay in our jammies until lunch time.

We’re having a pillow fight. We’ve never had one before. I handed her the pillow and walloped her. Her eyes got wide with surprise, she was allowed to hit me? Then the laughter started to bubble up bursting into huge giggles, dissolving into giant guffaws as we bashed and bonked, great reckless pillow fun.

And you’re missing it. You’ll never know how her tiny, baby chuckles could fill a whole room with laughter. You’ll never see her jaw drop in amazement when she learns something new.

When I write to you each year, I worry over ever word, wanting you to be happy you chose us to raise her, wanting you to agree that I’ve been the best mom I could be for her, but I worry you’ll judge her height and weight and wonder if I’ve been feeding her too much junk food. I worry that you’ll hate her haircut or the mural I painstakingly painted on her bedroom wall. I wonder if you’d approve of the deep faith she is developing. Then I think, you gave her up because you couldn’t take care of you, should your opinion matter to me? Two seconds later, I hope you’re doing alright and are making better choices.

And I have times, I wonder if letting her go left a huge hole in your heart, if there is anything I could say that would make it hurt less, feel better. You did the right thing. She has a stable home, a family that adores her, and close friends who practically live at our house.

She will ask lots of questions in the future, I’m sure. I know my feelings will change too. So for right now, this minute, I’m grateful but wonder if you know what you’re missing.

20 thoughts on “Dear Birthmom,

  1. Thank you for sharing this very personal story! I think you’re a strong person for reaching out to your daughter’s birthmom and desiring to update her on your daughter’s life. Not everyone is capable of such a thing. Wishing you so many blessings!

  2. I’m in tears. You are so brave. Keep being a great mom.

    1. I don’t think it’s very brave, it is just life, we all climb the mountains we’re given. I would have crawled over broken glass to get to be a mother. If I had known the little girl I was going to get, I would have done it twice.

  3. This had me in tears! It’s so sad when families cannot stay together, but it’s wonderful that God takes a situation like that and makes everything better. I’m really impressed by women who know that they can’t take care of their baby and give them to loving couples who can. It’s unfortunate that she chose drugs. So sad. I just loved your honesty in this post. I’ve never experienced adoption, so it’s nice to hear a perspective from an adoptive mother. You are doing a wonderful job, and even though she might forget that in her teen years…when she grows up and has her own children, she’ll realize how much you love her 🙂

  4. You are her real mom! You are there for her in everything. Her birth mom gave her life, but does not now mother YOUR daughter. The birth momma has missed out on a lot of things she will never know, but maybe someday she will feel for one of her own children the way you do for your daughter.

  5. This is a beautiful post, and as some of the others have said, very raw. I could feel the emotion while reading it. My husband and I hope to adopt someday. Your daughter is blessed to have you as her “real mom.” Loved the video!

    1. I love that video. Dop I a bear taner!

  6. This post touched my heart so much! I know several families who have adopted, and my Aunt and Uncle were adopted. It is such a beautiful thing! Your heart is beautiful here, the care and love you show towards your girls birth mom is inspiring!

  7. Wow! Your transparency is so powerful! This is such a beautifully written post!

  8. Wow, what a beautiful post. Lots of emotions and truth.

  9. I love that you were able to articulate all of those mixed emotions! Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it starts from so much loss. I really love how you brought those two things together, as contradictory as they often seem.

    1. I worried if I had conveyed all those complicated dynamics clearly

  10. This is really beautiful! I have two younger sisters who were adopted and faced some of the struggles you mentioned. Adoption is one of the greatest ways to bless a person. I hope one day I am able to bless a little bundle of joy in the way you have.

  11. This is so raw and beautiful! What a heartwarming and touching letter! Love it! Thank you for sharing!

  12. This is raw and beautiful! Love it!

  13. Beautiful post! I cannot imagine the pain of giving up a child and what you are doing for this birth mom is beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  14. This is so touching. I appreciate the honesty and vulnerability, and the joy in being a mom. I had a baby in the NICU, although for completely different reasons, and can relate to those moments of wondering if your beautiful child will be okay….and feeling so helpless. Your daughter looks and sounds happy. Children are such a miracle, however they come into our lives.

    1. They are. And it amazes me how we all get exactly the children we need to raise. God is so good.

  15. Thank you for sharing this. I can not describe the emotions this provokes- the combination of amazing writing with heart-felt transparency and faith. I would read more blogs regularly if they were all like yours! Keep the great posts coming.

    1. What an encouragement! Thank you!

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