Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dear Daughter's Birth Mom

Dear Daughter's Birth Mom,

I've been thinking about you many times in the past few days. You and I have never spoken to one another, never seen one another in the flesh. I have seen a couple of pictures of you when "our" kids (the three you gave birth to some 19, 17 and 15 years ago) were in your care, but that's the extent of our connection.

Well, not exactly. It seems like I know you because I know the children you brought into this world. We have had some very good times, and we have had some very trying times together. It is always an unusual experience to become a parent to children when they are 8, 6, and 4, knowing that they have deep memories of their first years of life with birth parents and other caretakers. LIke most adoptive parents, my wife and I have heard our share of "you're not my real parents anyway." We have had physical altercations, threats, the involvement of law enforcement and many other challenges over the past decade.

But I need to tell you that there have been moments of joy and celebration as well. "Our" children are so very beautiful; we are grateful for the genes that have provided us glistening, wavy, thick black hair and broad smiles from mouths full of white teeth. We are so very blessed with their warmth of personality, their sensitivities to others, their fierce loyalty to one another. Thank you for giving them the gift of life.

Speaking of the gift of life, I need to tell you that "we" are grandparents tonight! "Our" oldest daughter has given birth to a beautiful daughter, four days after her seventeenth birthday. She is a lovely, bright moment in our lives, entering the world at 6 pounds, 6 ounces and 16 inches in length. She has her mother's puffy tan cheeks (you remember those same cheeks seventeen years ago now, don't you?) and a petite nose. Ringlets of soft, wavy black hair crown her glorious little face.

You can be proud of your birth daughter. She was exceedingly careful during her pregnancy to eat nutritiously, to take the appropriate vitamins and to receive good prenatal care. The past couple of months have been difficult for her because of the way baby was situated in utero. "Our" daughter experienced pain the equivalent of kidney stones for weeks and bravely soldiered on, often refusing to take additional sedatives because she wanted to be sure her baby was born in good health.

You should also know that "our" daughter and granddaughter are surrounded by people who will love her on both sides of her family. "Our" granddaughter's father is young, too, at nineteen, but he is responsible and loves "our" daughter and his daughter.

It's an awkward thing, really. I have known the children you gave birth to longer now than you did. I do not know the circumstances surrounding your departure from their lives, but I have to assume that deep within you have loved them, too, all these years, even though your role as primary caretaker ended more than a decade ago.

Really, though, all I wanted to say is "thank you" for creating their lives. Claudia and I are proud to be their parents. And I just wanted you to know that "we" are grandparents.

I thought you should know.


Marge said...

Congratulations to the new grandpa and grandma. This was a beautiful tribute to the woman who gave life to your shared daughter. I pray God's richest blessings for all of you, and for Salinda's speedy recovery from the kidney thing and the surgery. And God bless His newest child, Gabby.


Hannah_Rae said...

Beautiful letter, Bart. It definitely makes me think of my boys' birth moms. I need to remember to pray for them more.

Blessings and congratulations!


Miz Kizzle said...

Beautiful sentiments.
I'm certain that your kids' birthmother thinks of them constantly.
When I was a law student I spent some time counseling indigent women. A number of them had voluntarily "given up" children for adoption or had children taken from them by CPS. Every one of those women had treasured memories of her children. One particular woman had her children's names and birth dates tattooed on her thigh.
They all expressed a great deal of guilt and remorse over no longer having their children in their lives. Even after decades some of them cried.
I feel for you and your wife, for your children and for the women who gave birth to them. it's not a perfect world and "the system" is very far from perfect.

Ours said...

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

If you do the award thing I have one for you over at http://accidentaladvocate.blogspot.com/.

Congratulations and thanks for writing such beautiful stories!

Hopewell said...

Beautiful post, Bart. Thought of you yesterday as my son had his first court appearance. I'll be praying for this lovely granddaughter--that she may have an easier life.