Dear Birth Mother,

I've put off writing this letter for a few days. I needed some time to put my thoughts together. Yesterday was Little Man's first birthday. But I don't have to tell you that. I'm sure you remember the date. It's hard to believe that one year ago such a wonderful person was brought into the world. And one year ago, we were waiting on the other side of the world, hoping there was a child out there for us.

It's amazing what a difference 365 days has made in all of our lives.

I wonder if you thought of him yesterday. I wish I knew if you thought of him with sadness, or if the memory was just a passing thought as you noted the date.

Little Man's year has been full of changes and loss. That's pretty tough for me to really comprehend. He's had so much heartbreak in his first 12-months and he doesn't have the ability to really understand most of it. He experiences this pain on a purely raw emotional level and it can be heartbreaking to bear witness to.

But you should know this about him--he's also resilient and happy, and I believe that has come, in part, from the blessings he's had in his life. He is fortunate that his foster family treasured him and showered him with the love and care he needed to grow strong. He had the guidance and wisdom of workers at the agency who watched over him since birth, and eventually paired him with us. We hope that joining our family has been a blessing for him too. 

And among these blessings is also the decision that you and his birth father made to let LM go. I do not believe I could have made the same choice. But know that I do not judge your decisions at all. Who am I to judge what is right or wrong for your life? Only you could know this.

Many people see birth parents in two extreme ways. As villians or heros. Birth mothers are judged particularly harshly, seen as selfish and uncaring. Or often we cast her image aside, believing she was a woman of loose morals.

Of course, some people take the opposite view--saying she must have loved this child so much she let him go. Or perhaps there were factors beyond her control that forced her into this decision. Lack of money, lack of support, cultural stigma, or her family forced her to do it. These people imagine the birth mother sobbing as she saw the face of her baby and has carried that image with her ever since. And as the child's birthday rolls around, many assume that the date is painful and heartbreaking for her to experience.

You may fit into one of those categories. But the bottom line is, I have no idea if that is true or not. I don't know why you made your decision or how you felt about it. It's tempting to try and protect LM from more hurt, and to give him the sugar-coated version of how he came to us. Tempting to imagine you as selfless woman who chose to offer her son a better life by walking away from him.

I wish for his sake it was true. But I can't do that. I can't fill him with false hope and the belief that if you could have kept him, you would. You carried him in your belly for nearly 9-months and he grew to know your rhythms, your voice, your emotions. And then you moved on. Those memories live deep within him. And present or not, you will continue to be a part of his life.

The why behind your decision is something he will likely ask me about. And it's a piece of his past that I just can't give him. My heart aches for the day that I try to explain that to him.

We are mothers to the same child. I won't lie--sometimes don't like sharing the title of mama with you. Sometimes I'm selfish and want to have him all to myself. But without you, I would not know a love for this sweet child that grows stronger each day.

And because you are part of that boy who brings such richness to my life, I will protect your image. I will protect him from those who want to vilify you, or put you on a pedestal. I will keep the pages in your chapter of his life blank, and hope that one day you can help him fill them in. Until then, all I can tell him about your decision is that is you were a woman, making the best decision for your life that you could, at that particular time. No more. No less.

I do this for him. Because he deserves it.

Yesterday, I acknowledged the great gift that you brought to the world a year ago. Intentional or not, you created a remarkable child, one who shares his laughter, smiles and spirit with those around him. For that, I hold you in my heart, and am thankful every day that we are the ones who are fortunate enough to call him our son.


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