A Blessed Childhood

Dear Birth Mother,

It has been ages since I have written, for that I am sorry. I have thought often of you and there are things I wanted to share that I haven’t made the time for. Tonight I have to share an experience with you that won’t leave me until I do.

I just returned from a visit to the city where I grew up. It was a quick weekend trip and full of lots of fun with my in-laws. We spent the morning on Saturday shopping. When we walked into the first store, right before me I saw a friend that I haven’t seen since childhood. We looked at each other in, what I imagine, looked a lot like shock and then rushed forward to embrace each other. We both started to cry right there in the middle of the store, completely and totally unapologetically cry. It was a moment of such joy for me that it spilled down my cheeks.

This friend and I were both so blessed to grow up together with a group of solid friends. We all lived in the same neighborhood (until she moved away when we were ten). Our parents had all lived there for quite a while. There was a nuclear group of us that just bonded and were regularly found together. We are all still friends to this day. Because of the way life works I had lost touch with this particular friend until a few years ago (thank you social media for reuniting us). When we saw each other in that moment it was as if no time had passed since we had seen each other (minus the tears). We talked about important things for the few minutes we had together, we laughed, and we embraced. We will forever be friends largely in part because of our amazing childhood.

We didn’t have the perfect childhood, but we were so blessed to have a place to grow up where we could have stable friends and a safe neighborhood. We played together, went to school together, and were welcome in each other’s homes. For this reason I thank you. You allowed me to be raised by parents who provided me with the kind of childhood where I could make forever friends. Not just one, but several. Friends that will last my entire life and beyond.

Gratefully,

T.

A Good Day

Dear Birth Mother,

Today was a good day. It wasn’t an easy day, but I am coming to realize that the easy things are often not the good things. It’s worth repeating, today was a good day.

Because I am working through some other issues in my life, I am having to question and relearn truths that I used to know. I am working with an amazing therapist and we were talking about this the other day. She said (I’m paraphrasing because I don’t remember her actual words), because the trauma you have experienced, it is going to attack your foundation. You are going to have to work on that foundation again. It made a lot of sense to me actually.

I am also learning how to be authentic and vulnerable, so I am going to give it a shot here. The things I am about to share may be painful to read. They most certainly will be painful to write. I have discovered repeatedly however, that unless I share something it rattles around in my brain and distracts me. Sometimes that sharing happens just with myself in my journal but sometimes that’s not enough. That is the case today. I need to share what I am feeling and learning with you.

I remember feeling like I hated you when I was a teenager. I used to think, what kind of a person doesn’t want their kids? Thankfully as I matured and especially as I became a mother myself, I learned that what you did was probably the most painful and selfless thing you could have ever done. This is a truth that I have to remind myself on a regular basis. Especially now.

Because of the trial I am currently going through, those long dealt with feelings of abandonment are resurfacing. I no longer hold you responsible. I also do not have feelings of resentment towards you. That’s not me just “blowing smoke” or being shiny, it’s truth. I think what you did for me was amazing. I admire and respect you for that choice. It does not, however, answer my long held question of, WHY? What happened? Why couldn’t you keep us and raise us as your own? I don’t really need the answers to be able to feel at peace with myself, but it is certainly harder to work through my feelings without them.

I don’t want you to feel guilt or shame because of your decision. I would never want that. We spend so much of our lives being “shiny” and putting on our masks because it’s so scary to be real. It is terrifying to let people in and be vulnerable. But, it’s worth it. It’s more than worth it. It is rewarding to know that people are starting to see the real me, the me that isn’t shiny all the time. The me that is sometimes just glad that she has a clean pair of underwear to put on in the mornings. It’s amazingly liberating to be able to just be me. I’m still working out who that is, and I have come to believe that it is a probably going to be a lifelong process of growing to become who I am are meant to be. Right now I am just profoundly grateful for the people God has put on my path to help me embrace this journey.

I also want you to know that while at different times in my life I have felt hate, abandonment, anger and distrust towards you, that is not the case now. I don’t hate you, I love you. I don’t feel abounded by you, I feel cherished. I don’t feel anger, I feel at peace. I don’t distrust you, rather I trust that you made the best decision you could for everyone involved. I know that seems to contradict what I said about my feelings of abandonment resurfacing. I have recently (as in about five minutes ago) distinguished however, that feelings of abandonment and feelings of being abandoned are different. I don’t feel like I have been abandoned, I just have feelings of fear about abandonment. That probably doesn’t make much sense to anyone but me, but it makes sense to me.

I am learning to be more authentic. I am learning to love who I am. I am accepting that it’s ok if everything isn’t perfect. I am also embracing the fact that I am loved for who I am by my Heavenly Father and by a lot of people here on Earth, including you. I love you Birth Mother, I really do.

Authentically yours,

T.

Comparisons

Dear Birth Mother,

It has been a month since I have written, not because I haven’t wanted to, I have just been focusing on healing both emotionally and physically this last month. Today however, I read something that made me want to write. It really made me think. Another blogger was blogging about some experiences going on in her marriage, but she started it out by talking about how she has always been compared since the moment she was born. She is the younger sister in a set of identical twins. She so beautifully said some things that I have always felt about being a twin, a wife, a mother, an adoptee. I have been compared my entire life to others. Most of the time it’s not done to intentionally hurt me, but it does.

Being seen as one half of a whole is hard. I was always “one of the twins”. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being a twin. It is so fun to have a built in best friend and someone that gets me no matter what. But it’s hard when you feel like you are competing for people’s attention or approval against the person you have loved most in your life. As we have become adults, it has become less intense, especially because we don’t live near each other. But sometimes, the comparisons are made by me, internally, to her. Look at what she has done, why can’t I get myself together to do that. Look at what her kids are doing, why can’t I get my kids to do that. I have to give myself a metaphorical slap when I do this because I can’t compare myself to her, or to anyone else. Her life is not the same as my life, no matter how many similarities they might have. I am me and she is her and we are two individual people. We are still half of the whole, but we are halves that are fully functional as wholes.

This applies to me as an adoptee as well. I get a lot of questions about what I feel like, have I met my birthparents yet…what was it like. I can’t compare how I feel to how anyone else feels. Just like them, my story is mine to own, and mine alone. Even though I had someone to travel this journey with in my sister, our stories are still not even the same.

This even made me think of you. I’m sure you and others have compared your story of placing us with other’s stories. But it is YOUR story to own,YOUR story to tell and your story to remember. You cannot compare your story to anyone else’s, there is no comparison. I hope one day to hear your story and to be able to know what you’d want to share with me. Until that time know that I am not comparing my life with anyone else’s as it is MINE.

Individually,

T.

Bravery

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Dear Birth Mother,

Today I witnessed bravery in the form of my beautiful sixteen year old daughter. She constantly amazes me.

She needed her mommy last Sunday because she was so sad that she hadn’t been asked to the Homecoming Dance. I got to love her and hold her while she cried. I hate it when she is so sad, but I am so privileged that she still chooses to come to me for solace. I digress. I was talking about her bravery, well I guess the fact that she didn’t get asked to the dance is part of the story of her bravery.

All week she has been trying to decide what to do today. Her friends kept telling her that they wanted her to come to the dance with them, even though they all have dates. She decided that she wasn’t going to let the mere fact of being dateless stop her from enjoying her high school experience. This morning she packed herself a lunch and went with one of her groups of friends for their “day date” (that’s a whole different story), even though she was the only one there without a date. She had a great time!

Tonight I helped her fix her hair and paint her nails and off she went. She met a different group of friends in the park to have pictures taken, then they were off to dinner and the dance. Again, she was the only one without a date, but she was bound and determined to have a good time.

You might think this is a sad story because she has possibly made herself the topic of ridicule and teasing. I, however, think it is a story of how brave she is. I would never have gone stag to a dance with a group of friends that all had dates. In my eyes this takes a lot of self confidence and bravery. She continuously makes choices that I can be proud of. I am so thankful that she has chosen good friends. Friends that encourage and uplift her.

In my eyes I have a very brave teenage girl who consistently makes great choices and stands by her values. I love that girl with all my heart!

Proudly,

T.

Family

Dear Birth Mother,

I am sitting here in church with my brother-in-law and his family and I was thinking about what it means to be family. There are the obvious family, my husband and children are my nuclear family. My parents and sister are the family I grew up in. My aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents are my extended family. My husband’s family are my family-in-law. Wow! I have A LOT of family.

None of the definitions above cover other people that I consider family though. I have often heard the phrase ‘friends are the family you choose for yourself’, and I have been very blessed to not only have amazing friends that I call family but also that my parents had amazing friends that I grew up (and still consider) my aunts, uncles and cousins. A post I was reading on Facebook this morning by one of those cousins reminded me of the absolutely wonderful people I have been lucky enough to be surrounded with my entire life. I am so grateful to social media for allowing me to still be a part of that “family’s” life. I will forever be grateful that a loving Heavenly Father placed these people in my life.

I would like to expand the above quote just a little to read, “friends are the family we choose for ourselves here on earth”. I believe that before we came to Earth we lived in a pre-existence and that while we were there we picked or were picked by the actual family we have here. I believe that while we were there that my parents really wanted my sister and I to be part of their family but were told that one of the trials they would have was the inability to have children. I believe that you had the strength to step up and say “I’ll help them come to you.” I have always felt that I was with the family I was meant to have.

I know many will ask “Does that mean that if someone uses their agency to make choices that lead them away for those that were meant to be their family that they will never have a family?” I will say that I don’t have all the answers to that question. But I don’t believe that any of us will be deprived of the blessing of a family because of the choices of another. There has to have been contingency after contingency made up there in the pre-existence based on the use of our free agency. It doesn’t always have to make sense to me for me to believe. That’s where faith steps in.

I am so thankful for whatever plans and choices were made that have brought me to the family I have, all of them. I am also thankful for the abundance of faith that I seem to have been blessed with.

Thankfully,

T.

Nothing Is Injured…

Dear Birth Mother,

Don’t worry, nothing is injured. Well nothing but my pride anyway. Why should you worry you ask? Well, I fell today…twice. I have been trying to get some exercise during my break at work and so I went for a walk today. There is a great walking path behind my office and it winds into a nature preserve with a little pond. I ended up off the path but could see where it was and headed in that direction. We’ve had a lot of rain this week and the ground around here is so hard that it ends up flooding when it rains hard. Well apparently this was one of the areas where it flooded. I took one step towards the path and hit a mud patch. That was all she wrote. I ended up flat on my back in a big mud bath. Who says you need to go to the spa for a mud treatment? Don’t forget this was in the middle of my work day. I had to call my hubby to bring me clean clothes…clear down to my underwear. I had mud on my legs, my hands, my clothes, my face…E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. I skulked back to the office and was able to clean up and turn my dress around so that the mud wasn’t getting on my chair and I continued working until my wardrobe change (and lunch) arrived. All I could do was laugh. I am frequently doing things that are super “graceful” like that.

Now for part deux. I was shopping at Costco and was attempting to put a case of water bottles on the bottom of my cart. This really nice guy offered to get it for me. I was really appreciative of the help and backed up to give him room. As I backed up I hit an empty pallet. I was flat on my bum before I even knew what happened. The friend of the man that was helping me, helped me too my feet quickly with no apparent damage to me or the pallet. He asked if anything was broken and I had to respond that nothing but my pride was hurt. I’m a little achy tonight, but nothing that won’t quickly resolve.

Sometimes when I lose my footing, run into something or someone, drop something or am in general clumsy it makes me wonder if that’s just me or if I inherited it. My sister is a bit of a klutz too, so it seems that it may be an honest part of our make-up. Are you less than graceful at times?

Uninjured,

T.

Dear Birth Mother,

I should be sleeping right now, I am exhausted. I didn’t go to sleep last night until almost 2 a.m. But I wanted to take the time to write. I am struggling right now. More specifically my marriage and family are struggling. My husband and I are working hard to get through some trials we are facing, but these trials are keeping me awake at night. I know you have probably had some sleepless nights in your life too. I just wanted to touch base with you and let you know I’m still here but I am spending as much of my time and energy as I can to healing my family.

Groggily,

T.