I’d like to start this post by saying that I know adoption can be complicated. There are no two stories that are exactly the same, and everyone who has been involved in the adoption process has a story unique to them. This post is about my personal experience, and my personal feelings as an adoptee and is in no way meant to minimize anyone else’s experience.
It seems strange to call you “Mom,” but I’m not sure what else to call you. “Birth mom” sounds so cold when addressing you directly. It minimizes the importance of our relationship. It makes the most intimate of bonds seem nothing more than an arrangement between two people. And in truth, you are so much more to me than that. Though I don’t have actual memories of you, I know you in my soul, in my DNA. From the little information I know, and the wonderful letter you wrote me, I know that we spent a few days together in the hospital after my birth. You held me, nursed me, and loved me. You truly loved me. I know that, because a piece of my heart is missing, and it has been since the day we were separated. It’s a hole that no amount of love or support from anyone else can heal.
That’s not to diminish the love and support of my parents…parents you chose for me. They have been nothing short of spectacular my entire life. I am truly blessed to be their daughter, and I trust they were part of God’s plan all along. But that doesn’t stop the grieving I feel deep in my soul for you. It’s a hard type of grief to explain, especially to people who haven’t lived it. “How can you grieve someone you never knew?” But I did know you. I knew you for the 37 weeks you carried me in your belly, and the several days you held me in the hospital. I knew the sound of your voice, your smell, your movements. You and I……we are one and the same. We always will be, and that….that is what makes this type of grief so hard.
Sometimes I feel guilty for grieving you the way I do. I feel shame that I’ve had such a blessed life, with such wonderful parents but still feel this deep and painful longing. For many decades of my life, I have carried you silently in my heart. There has never been a day of my life I haven’t thought of you. Every medical appointment, when asked about my family history, I get a little lump in my throat. Because I am reminded of the person I once knew so intimately, but now is a ghost to me. I’ve had dreams about you. When I was a child I had a recurring dream about you. You were always just out of reach so that your facial features were not recognizable. I used to wake so sad from that dream. What a cruel tease……I would give anything to see your face.
I wonder, do I look like you? Do we have similar quirks or personality traits? Would we have the same interests? Would you be proud of me, of the person I have become? That last one is one that eats away at me, and I don’t really know why. I guess I feel a responsibility to you. You made the painful and selfless decision to give me a life you thought you yourself couldn’t give me. I’ve always hoped that who I am would make you proud. But since having my own children, I also feel heartache and empathy for you.
Knowing the whirlwind of emotions that go into pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum; and the immense connection you feel with your child…. I can only fathom the soul-crushing pain you experienced when you entrusted me to my parents. I cannot imagine the anguish you must have felt as they took me from you, knowing it was the last time you’d ever see me. As a mom, that breaks my heart for you and is something that brings me to tears regularly. So every night, I pray for your happiness. I pray for healing for you, and I pray that you know just how much I love you…how grateful I am for the 37 weeks and a few days. I’m grateful for your bravery in choosing adoption, and I can only hope one day God will reunite us. Until then, I hope you always know…..I’m not mad at you & I forgive you.
Thank you for sharing your story, as an adoptive mom I’m trying to help my littles navigate their grief for their birth mother. I see their hurt, questions. But there is only so much I can do.