I’ve been holding off posting this blog because it relates to a very personal area of my life. I almost clicked erase a hundred times but couldn’t bring myself to completely trash my thoughts. Then I realized Valentine’s Day would be the perfect time to show my love for an important person in my life.
Two Saturdays ago a letter showed up out of the blue. A bona fide (although computer typed) letter with a cute heart drawn in blue ink beside the name. The only people that send me notes (other than birthday or Christmas cards) are Christy and Uncle Tommy. (Note to friends: don’t spoil the surprise and tell me you appreciate their letters too because I’d like to think I’m the special one.)
This was the best kind…a 6×9 bubble mailer. Sophie was puzzled that there was no return name, just an address and two letter state abbreviation she couldn’t recall. When I told her who it was from, we played tug-of-war over who got to open it.
It was a letter from her birth mom. Instantly I was back to the day we arrived at a hospital in Kansas with empty arms…only to leave full. I was in close contact with her birth mom before and after Sophia was born until suddenly, a couple of years later, the letters stopped. I experienced a brief pause and told myself, “This is how it needs to be.”
Receiving this letter after so long an absence brought many thoughts to the surface. I was tentative at first, then surprised at how I giddy with excitement I became when I saw Sophie’s eyes light up. This is how it needs to be, I told myself. And instead of feeling threatened, I was suddenly aware of how indebted I feel toward her birth mom. Like I’d name a town after her if I could. Okay, maybe a street in a really cool town. Nonetheless, I want to scream out, “I love this girl!!!!!!” just like in the commercial, in hopes she can hear five states away. Such an intense love for a girl I barely know.
When the pictures from the envelope spilled onto the table, I knew what caught Sophie’s attention—the nose? The eyes? Maybe the lips? Hair color? Of all the gifts I’m able to provide, there are some things money can’t buy and I am at peace with that.
Sophie scrambled upstairs to read the note. She cranked out Coldplay while reading a letter that was addressed to me. Eventually I made my way upstairs to have a read.
“Are you sure about this? Doesn’t it make you feel odd, bringing her into your life?” you ask.
Without this girl who gave birth to my daughter, I would have missed out on my gift. It’s that simple. Nothing will ever change what Sophie and I are to each other: no letter, no meeting in years to come, no knowledge of or lack thereof. A love story that began over 13 years ago will entangle our lives forever. This is exactly how it was meant to be!
I studied the note—a mixture of sweet and kindness, revelation/happiness/silly, all tied together with a bow of gratitude. We noticed many similarities and Sophie and I laughed at the top of our lungs because we realized where this-and-that came from. The glasses and braces I remember when I met her are gone; the high school girl who graduated with my child in her belly has become a woman. Now she smiles from the picture, with her husband at their wedding, and arm and arm with her sisters.
Our hearts are full.
I really can’t think of what to say next; why am I even penning something so personal? Maybe because writing is one way I can offer an ounce of gratitude, and maybe because I hope she will read this one day. And maybe because I’m feeling so much love today and I want to share it. And why not? I’ve thanked people for gifts of money, friendship, casseroles and flowers. While I’ve never really thanked someone for life, this is me trying. And midst this extremely feeble attempt, I somehow pray that birth moms everywhere know how much they are loved for the gifts only they could give.
Wouldn’t it be great if you put into words something that makes your heart happy today? Maybe it’s thanking someone for their huge act of kindness, or maybe it’s simply telling them how you appreciated their small gesture of concern when you needed it most.
Your words are powerful. Certainly more powerful than any box of chocolates you may think of buying. So here’s to celebrating love, and happiness, and gifts that come in forms we least expect.
I have so much more to share on the gift of adoption in the future! I have more friends than I can count who have amazing stories of how their families came to be. Each one is different, unique to their situation. For Regi and me, our children’s stories are entirely separate as well. I do not intend to say that if you aren’t in touch with your child’s birth mom your story is less. Pure and simple: Kids need families and families need kids! And adoption is a gift that chose us and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I originally started writing this blog in honor of some friends who celebrated the finalization of their adoption last Friday. How beautiful to witness first hand a new branch sprout on their family tree! Last year if you had told them they were going to become parents, they would have called you crazy. But God had something greater than they could ever dream and now a precious 12-year-old daughter shares their name. I have no doubt that she was born to complete their family. She’s like the unread P.S. on the letter of their lives. Perhaps these friends will understand most the place in my heart where this blog comes from.