Birthday Messages from a Birth Mom to her Daughter in a Closed Adoption
April 3, 2018
This morning as I am holding close to my chest our 3 year old daughter as she’s sleeping in my arms, I can only think of one thing. My daughter turns 16 today. I’ve missed all of her birthdays. I have only been able to watch her grow up through occasional pictures and some social media stalking. I have no pictures of her birth and sadly no memory of it either.
16 years ago I knew I couldn’t care for a human being on my own. 16 years ago, I felt so alone in the world that I felt it wouldn’t have even mattered if I lived or died. 16 years ago life changed drastically. 16 years ago, I brought another human into the world- and I don’t even know her. Some days it makes me so sad that I’ve missed all of her life, but then I realize, she is able to do things that I could only dream of providing for her. I pray daily that she is happy. I pray daily that she is loved and cared for. The fear of the possibility that she isn’t, makes me stop in my tracks and gasp for air.
For many years, I swore of not speaking of this to anyone outside of the people I love the most. I swore that I wouldn’t tell people, because no one in the whole world would ever understand how I feel. No one would ever understand why I choose to do it. No one would ever be able to look at me the same. No one would ever know that I did it because although at the time I didn’t realize it, I loved her so much that I just wanted her to have the best life possible. But people are mean… and so judgmental. People would know that I embarrassed my parents- and they were right.
This is the path that I have chosen. I am a birth mom. Although my story isn’t like anyone else’s, I am at peace. I pray that one day we can sit down and talk about her adoption together. Until then, I will wait until she is ready. I think of her every single day. Her birthday is one of the hardest days of the year for me. I have no memory of her birth and I am missing out on celebrating such big milestones as today.
I wonder what she is doing. I wonder if she ever thinks of me. I wonder if she knows I love her. Only time will tell if I will be able to tell her those things myself. Until then, I will wait.
Happy Birthday, daughter.
April 3, 2019
I never know how to feel every year on this day. Am I supposed to be happy? Sad? Mad? Am I allowed to be happy? Sad? Mad? No one gives you an instruction book when you give birth to a child that you are unprepared for and know that you want to place for her for adoption. Being too young to make any real life decision, but being old enough to drive a car. It’s so complicated.
This day is always hard for me. Every year it’s like this impending dooms day because it’s the reminder of your birth which should be celebrated. I want to celebrate it….With you. Instead, I am reminded that I chose a road that no one wants to choose. I chose what I thought was the best thing for you. I did the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life and gave US a chance at life.
Today you turn 17. I remember what I was like at 17 and I desperately hope that you are happier than I was at that age. I hope that you find joy in your life, that you know you are loved and wanted and accepted. I truly hope that you have been given a life that you are happy with. That you have been loved unconditionally and without reserve. I hope you know how much value you bring into the world. I hope you have been given a better life than I would have been able to give to you and although I am sad that I was not able to provide that life for you, I am thankful for the memories of the short amount of time we spent together and the hope of maybe someday meeting you again.
In the past year and a half, I have learned more about myself, grief, loss and have been learning how to self-love. In the midst of the loss I have for my child that I did not parent, I am able to find joy in my life because although this will forever be a part of me, this does not define me. I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a social worker. And all of these things define who I am and does not point fingers at what I have done. I am still learning how to love myself in the most authentic way. It’s slow, it’s hard, but it’s worth it. I am worth it and so are you.
Happy 17th birthday daughter. You are so loved.
April 3, 2020
I can’t even describe how I am feeling today. There are not enough words in my vocabulary to express the emotions I feel.
My oldest child turns 18 today. The child I carried in my body for 9 months. The one I did not expect. The one that changed my life in every single aspect. The one that I have not seen since she was 4. The one that I think about every single day. The one I placed for adoption.
As the years have passed, I have thought about this day constantly. I used to imagine that this would be a magical day, like the kind you see on tv. The kind of day where I’m cleaning the kitchen and she comes and knocks on my door and when I open it, she jumps into my arms. As time has gone on though, I have had to face the reality of my situation. Even though she has turned 18, she gets to call the shots if she wants to have contact with me – with the help of her adoptive parents of course- at least until she is 21. Which ultimately means, I have 3 more years if not longer to wait to see if my child wants to have a relationship with me. Some days it makes me feel completely hopeless.
4 years ago was the first time I admitted to people other than my husband and family that I even had another child. With the exception of people who I deemed worthy of the information. Even so, I lost friends and family due to my decision.
4 years ago, I learned that there were other women like me in the world, other women who made adoption plans and were productive people in the world, who weren’t completely broken. I had to go to all the way to Colorado to meet other people from Ohio (from the same area that I grew up) to know that in fact there were others like me. Who experienced the same feelings I had. And who understood when no one else could. I will forever be indebted to those women and that conference where I was able to openly talk about it and was given understanding, acceptance and love as a result of being open about myself. Before that, I was so ashamed of myself and “what I did”. I feared people judging me and looking at me differently. I feared someone not loving me because I felt like I was broken, used and easily discarded. But after meeting other birth moms, things changed.
Life has definitely taken me on an interesting journey and while you only have one life to live, when you’re in the depths of despair, nothing makes sense. There is no right or wrong answer, it was the best decision I could make given my situation.
I don’t regret my decision. In fact, had I been able to do it that very first day, I would have because I was so sure in my desire to do the best thing for my daughter. I don’t regret being able to give her a life I knew I wouldn’t be able to provide. I don’t regret being able to allow someone else to love her in a different way than I do. However, I do regret not fighting harder for openness. I do regret not feeling like I had the ability to have a say in her life. I do regret being too afraid that everything would be taken away and not saying how I really felt- when in fact everything was going to be taken away in such a short amount of time anyhow. I regret not being stronger in my desires to remain a part of her life. I regret a lot. But at the same time, had I not experienced any of these things, I would not be who I am now so I can’t live in a place where I have regrets. Had I had no experienced any of these things, I would not be the mom I am to the kids that I am parenting or the wife to my husband who accepted my adoption (both being adopted and being a birth mom) and has completely embraced me and loved me and has carried me through some incredibly hard times but we’ve only come out stronger.
While my daughter turns 18 today and my heart aches for a relationship with her. I have to be realistic in my expectations that she is not ready and that her adoptive parents aren’t ready to allow her to be in relationship with me. That hurts more than anyone will ever know. But I will continue to love her and I will continue to want the very best for her even if that means I am not a part of her life yet. She is still my child. She is still a part of me, and even if she doesn’t want to recognize it yet, she is a part of me and a part of my family. She has 4 more sisters who would love to meet her one day. She has pictures in our home- because she is a part of our family. I just hope one day she will understand how important she is to our family too.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading this.
Really, all of this was meant to say, Happy 18th Birthday to my first born daughter. I hope you have an amazing day celebrating becoming an adult. And I am ready whenever you are and if you’re not. That’s okay too. I’ll wait.
April 5, 2021
19 years ago I was sitting in a hospital room wondering what I was going to do with an infant that I knew I just couldn’t care for. Friends were so excited that I had given life to this baby, but I was so angry that I was in this situation feeling more alone in the world than ever before. I didn’t have the finances, I didn’t have the support to do it on my own, and honestly, at that time in my life, I didn’t want to be a mom yet. I know that sounds terrible and many people judged me for it (and maybe still do). At the time, it broke my heart that people thought I was a terrible person, but they weren’t the ones in my shoes. They were not the ones who were going to have to pay my bills and help me find a place to live. It has taken years of hard work to understand that I don’t need to feel guilt or shame due to this situation but that has been hard.
If anyone ever thinks that making an adoption plan for your child is an easy decision, you are absolutely wrong. This was not a decision that I made because it was an “easy way out”. This wasn’t a decision that just went away once all of the paperwork was signed and I walked out of the courtroom. It was something that has affected me every single day since making this decision. I was stuck. In many ways, it was forced upon me. I won’t go into those details because it is so complicated. But just know, I couldn’t and didn’t fight back because it was too hard…money talks and I didn’t have it.
Most people don’t know that I “parented” for a while. My parents wanted me to take care of my responsibilities and do what I had to do to make it work. And although I tried….It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I lived with my parents and honestly, they are the ones who took care of her. I was off living my life, working, going to school and trying to do everything to make it work, and then I fell into the deepest, scariest depression I had ever been in to the point that I felt suicidal. Since then I have never felt that low. I gave up. I was broken. I had nothing. And I made a decision that even though it was the best decision for me, and her, it was the HARDEST decision I have ever made in my life hands down.
Ultimately making an adoption plan saved my life. I don’t know that I would be here if I hadn’t. Although I walked away from my old life (family), it was something that I had to do to be able to survive in a healthy way. I don’t want to talk poorly about people, but I did what I had to do to walk away and give myself a chance at happiness and control over my own life, something that I never had until I was strong enough to say enough is enough.
Although I am not allowed contact with my daughter and I am unable to know things about her, I know that she is provided for. I will continue to be patient to see if she will ever want contact with me. Patience may be the hardest word for me. I have to continue to wait to see what the future will bring.
I am proud of the fact that I made the right decision for her and myself although the hardest thing to date. But had I not, I don’t think I’d be here. I don’t think I would have been able to do all of the things I have accomplished in the past 19 years. I am sure she has questions. She might be hurt by my decision and not want to talk to me about any of it. But, I will continue to be patient for that time to come…I hope.
Thankfully I have been given the opportunity to talk about this life with other birth moms. All of our stories are different. All of our experiences are different. But we are bonded by the fact that we all made adoption plans for our children regardless of the reason. We are bonded for life. For those people, I am eternally grateful that I can even post something like this for people to read. I am unbelievably grateful to my husband and his mom who have loved and supported me through going to court, and after. I am eternally grateful to them too.
I love this child, even if she is an adult now. I love that I gave her life and know that she has had opportunities that I wasn’t able to provide for her. I made an adoption plan for this child to better her life and mine and I do not regret it for one single second. I do wish I would have been able to have support during that time in my life so I understood better what I was doing and that I was allowed to have a voice. But I have never regretted it.
Saturday she turned 19.
So, Happy belated Birthday to my oldest daughter.
I love you and think about you daily and hope you were celebrated.