For years, I stared at my reflection and wondered where I belonged. I didn’t have my Mother’s freckles or my Father’s black hair. Where did MY blue eyes come from? Who gave me MY special smile? I constantly wondered what I could have done to make you not want me. How dare you send me away to be alone? Who in your life even knew of my existence?
Eventually, I’d always turn away and shatter that mirror, so lost and angry that I couldn’t extinguish this burning desire to know you. I would be lying if I said that I’ve never tried to hate you. I would be lying if I said I’ve never spent countless days trying to convince myself that you are not a part of my story.
But, I also would be lying if I said I didn’t lay awake at night apologizing to you for my selfish thoughts, silently crying, desperately trying to unleash the pain of mourning a mother who I would never call mine.
It’s taken me a really long time to come to the understanding that at the root of my pain was simply grief. I don’t know if you feel the same way as me, birth mother, but why is adoption a form of tragic loss where we all are solely expected to feel “grateful”?
“Grateful” as a birth mother to have someone become the parent to my child.
“Grateful” as an adoptive mother that someone chose me from a stack of applications.
“Grateful” as an adoptee that I was given life and was placed in a loving home.
Isn’t there space for you, as my mother, to grieve or be angry about the loss of me? Or space for an adoptive mother to grieve and be angry about the loss of never experiencing a successful pregnancy? Shouldn’t there be space for me to grieve and be angry about never knowing you?
It’s a complex thing to feel grief and also intense guilt that I will appear ungrateful for my amazing life, that I’ll hurt my loving family’s feelings in someway, or that I’ll be perceived as selfish for not counting my blessings.
Please do not misinterpret my words. I am beyond grateful for all of the things I’ve been afforded and I am eternally grateful to you. But, I am also grieving. And when I came to the realization that I was allowed to have space in my life for both of these huge emotions - gratitude and grief - I was able to embrace the path of healing. I hope that you are healing too, Mom.
But, you know what, as I pour my heart out to you tonight, all that I can say right now is thank you and that I love you.
I am sorry that it has taken me so long to acknowledge your bravery, your courage, and your pain. I am sorry that I’ve spent so much time convincing myself that you didn’t love me or that you didn’t care about me. This narrative was mine - and it was not fair to make it yours.
Birth Mother, you are a pure reflection of grace and through the selfless decisions you’ve made, you proved to me that I was not a mistake. That I was worthy of a place in this world and more than anything else - that I mattered to you.
So, while we may never meet, I want you to know that if you ever lay awake at night wondering if I am happy - I am. You gave me the opportunity to find pure happiness in my life. I am married to a wonderful man. I have extraordinary parents who always spoke openly in our home about what they knew of you and how special you are to our family. I’ve travelled the world and seen beautiful things. I deeply know God.
If you ever worry that I am angry with you - I was. But, more than anything I was just angry at the depth of my love for you, my lack of understanding, and all my unanswered questions.
If you ever worry that you chose the right family for me - you did. They love me with all the fierceness that you knew I deserved. They love me like you did.
And Mom, if you ever wonder if my heart has been broken - it hasn’t. Twenty nine years ago, you selflessly broke yours so that I could keep mine. I’ll always love you for that.
Your Daughter, forever.
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