dear birth mom.

I feel a ton of pressure on my chest right now. Trying to figure out what I want to say to, what I want to ask you, my birth mom. I only ever dreamed about being able to write you. In those dreams I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I knew exactly what I wanted to tell you and show you.

I was a little girl who wanted to know where my curls (which I hated at the time) came from and if your favorite toy to play with was a dolly like mine.

I was a struggling pre-teen who just lost her mom tragically and was curious if you had ever felt such heart break at a vulnerable age.

I was a young lady trying to get through school and wondering if you had the same testing anxiety that I was dealing with.

I was engaged curious what your dream proposal was and what your ideal wedding would entail.

I was pregnant with my first child and wondering how low or high you carried your first baby and your biggest pregnancy craving (mine was Wendy’s French fries with their pump ketchup and red vines… although not in one bite.)

I was beginning to grow our family through adoption and was eager to know how you chose life and adoption for me.

I was confident in where I stood, how I felt and lately I just feel more confused and more emotionally uncertain. How do I put 34 years of questions into ONE letter, THE letter. A letter I wrote multiple times to my future child’s mama’s but this one is hugely different. The end result being beyond comparable. Still a “yes” or a “no” to conclude the journey and I am fully aware that this may be my dead end.

Where do I start? My whole life is flashing before my eyes; my brain and my heart equally want to explode into a million pieces of thoughts, emotions, tears, smiles, memories, vacations, questions.

Dear birth mom, I was such a huge baby my parents had to switch me to soy milk because I drank so much milk and would rip the nipple of the bottle as they tried taking it away each feed. I was always playing dress up, mommy, school, and dancing to Disney musicals. I won a medal for archery when I was 6ish. I made the honor roll in middle school and in middle school I was also sent to detention for saying a not so nice word bc a kid smashed a cupcake all over my backpack and the principal happened to walk by when I said it. I played right forward on a competitive soccer team but failed to tryout in high school because we moved states and I was insecure. The first time I fell in love (I thought) was when I was 14 to a boy in a band. i grew up always knowing about my adoption. My mom and dad opened the gate of communication for the get-go. I graduated Summa Cum Laude at Arizona State. I love taking pictures-especially of the ones I love most. I have been a best friend for 22 years straight (I hope, ask her). I successfully completed 9 years of counseling after loosing my mother when I was 16 and dealing with codependency. I became an aunt to twins in 2008 and my sister was my best friend my entire childhood and longer.  I met my husband in a bar and married him three years later (don’t worry I played hard to get). I found my passion as a Certified Personal trainer after a dramatic weight loss and helped change lives. I am strong and gaining independence and confidence daily. I was one of those women who thought it would take me forever to get pregnant and got knocked up on our honeymoon just 8 months after being married. I gave birth to my son at 29 weeks due to a rare autoimmune. I became completely submerged in the adoption community as I strive to help and meet adoptive parents, learn from birth mothers, and advocate for adoptees. We wanted to grow our family but I knew adoption was our next route because of you. Your choice. Your courage. The life you gave me by placing me in the arms of my mom and dad. I wanted to pay it forward. Honor women in your position the only way I knew how.

I hope this letter finds you peace + love + light and rids any pain + guilt + sadness.

be brave.

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do I even really exist?

it sounds dramatic, I know. but do I? after getting court order approved to unseal my file from archives I discovered my file is missing.

yup.

gone.

missing.

untraceable.

no where to be found.

the first question that comes to mind is how in the world can this happen? my second question was “is this common?” I have always labeled my life events as uncommon. not typical. not normal. from adoption to house burning down to witnessing and experiencing my mothers death to premature labor of my son to diagnosis of rare autoimmune to our failed match etc. (all while leaving out other large and small details). not sure why I was so surprised that this was yet another part of my journey that had an “uncommon hiccup”.

I have to be honest, this STUNG. it brought me to fear. it brought me to regret. it brought me to my knees. it brought me to tears. I have never felt like I didn’t belong until now. I have never felt empty until now. I had no idea this was a thing. Going into this I thought my “worse case scenario” was that I would get a basic file and no reunion. the reality is I could walk away from all of this with nothing. no information and no way of getting information.

all of this has left me so confused. mainly because from the beginning I haven’t been able to answer the common asked question, “why now? why are you searching now?” so currently I feel like “ya, why did I!?; why now?”

what I find most bizarre is most my childhood/adult life, I have always told people (including myself) that my adoption was so closed it was basically like my file did not exist… ironic huh? I wasn’t sure how to explain “closed adoption” especially with zero information regarding my adoption. since my adoption didn’t take place through an agency I thought my options were very more limited. I found this to be the best way (or potential excuse) to admit that I couldn’t (didn’t want) acquire information. I put those terms in parentheses because these are unexpected emotions that are coming up during this process that I am currently trying to work through even on paper.

A missing file doesn’t mean the journey is over. thankfully we have a plan b. I am so happy and relieved (still terrified and a tiny bit pessimistic) this isn’t the end. as much as I want to stop at times, I am not one to give up.

plus, its hard to give up when I have such an amazing support system rallying behind me. encouraging me to be encouraged. pushing me to keep moving forward aside from this bump in the road. reminding me that this is just one more piece of my puzzle. my tribe is validating that it is okay to be SAD; to be discouraged. we are recognizing that this is a unique journey. the unknown is scary. But turning around is not an option.

I do exist.

I do have history.

I am loved.

be brave.

“courage is the commitment to begin without the guarantee of success.”

“not a product of love.”

Not a product of love was recently spoken to me. although this was likely due to a generational gap, it literally caught me off guard. you know that awkward chuckle like you can’t believe what you just heard but you know you heard it but did you hear it correctly?! this conversation was over the phone with a 96 year old lawyer.

here is the context:

as I decided to start the process I knew I didn’t have much to start with. my adoption is closed and was not through an agency. I did some digging/asking around and got the name of the law firm who potentially finalized my adoption. after days of back and forth, emails, messages and waiting, I finally got a call back. the conversation was rushed, unproductive. I asked him if/how I could go about finding information. not looking for a reunion but looking for any non-identifying information. he asked if “the lady” (eyeball #1) aka my bio mom had reached out in the last 33 years and of course I replied no. he then proceeds to tell me I should just “let it be” (eye roll #2) since she hasn’t set out to look for me. I decide to ask him for direction instead of information bc I was not wishing for this conversation to continue any further. that’s when eye roll #3 happens… without really giving me any answers, he proceeds to ramble that she likely doesn’t want to be found because “let’s face it you obviously weren’t a product of love.” my jaw literally hit the floor. I know for sure I shook my head back and forth too as if I just got hit with a 2×4. I did that awkward chuckle-stumble on my words- choked-coughed reaction… excuse me. say what? i quickly tried to give him the benefit of the doubt in my head but the shock overtook. I had to end the call right there. I simply thanked him for his time and he wished me “luck with my rare disease” (eye roll #4).

buh bye.

In the adoption world a lot of phrases and verbiage get thrown around. some that make us want to smack our palms to our faces. some that make you actually think about the other perspective. most terms/phrases unintentionally mind-nubbing, some intentionally hurtful and some just due to lack of education or experience. this one was just…… ignorant. in my opinion.

yes.

I was a product of love because my mom chose life.

she reached out for help.

she chose adoption.

she chose my mom and dad to raise me.

she had a choice.

she made a choice.

that IS a product of love.

I AM a product of love.

be brave.

the party prep.

As I am busy pinning ideas, jotting down my ‘to do’ list, hopping from store to store, I keep getting stopped in my own tracks. there is a haunting voice in my head. one that I cannot shake. one that I recognize so vividly.

“what if this doesn’t work out?”

I must have said that to myself a million times for 7 months.

buying baby clothes; “what if this doesn’t work out.”

picking out a new crib; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

deciding on a car seat; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

decorating the nursery; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

making travel plans; “what if this doesn’t work out?”

I am currently covered in party paraphernalia, trying to collect my thoughts to make this dream birthday a reality. it’s thoughts like this that keep me trying to truly grasp that we have our daughter. that we are about to celebrate being her parents for 365 days. I am trying to shake this voice, rid the negative context. to an extent this thought was right where it was supposed to be. what if it didn’t work out? a birth mom not chose our family or experience a failed adoption right before baby due, like we did. the world of adoption is so unknown. it was a realistic thought at the time , a rational fear at the time, a potential outcome at the time but it isn’t relevant in my life anymore.

this really is the strangest feeling. knowing + living with her right in front of me but being so used to shutting down my thoughts of excitement and planning for the future. It took us 7 months to find our baby and she’s been with us for 10 months (almost 11) and this all still feels so surreal. a dream.

a girl that has been prayed for, loved on is almost one.

be brave.

still hand in hand.

today is a work day. away from both my babies. I usually come to the same spot, sit close to the same corner, usually order the same thing. I like my comfort zone. this day only happens once a week. I look forward to this day every week. time by myself. time to collect my thoughts. time to ground myself. time to dive face first into blogging, into my social media work, and etsy orders.

time to catch up on life outside motherhood.

today was different than last Friday and the Friday before that. although I am in the same spot, drinking the same drink, eating the same meal after doing the same workout, I find myself surrounded by a different crowd.

a mother-daughter crowd.

I immediately get hit straight in the face with sadness. as I look around I see different mother-daughter relationships. I see different generations of mother-daughter duos. my heart ached for mom. I sit in this corner alone. without my kids. without my mom.

most days I am fine. but when it hits, it hits hard and I feel like I am suffocating.

being an adult without a mom is strange. it’s hard. it’s confusing. isolating.

being a mom without a mom is a struggle. it’s lonely. coated in nostalgia.

I am forced to flip the script. everyday. I have no other choice but to use these emotions and put them into my family. my kids. my husband. our memories.

I remember starting the adoption journey and telling myself to use these emotions of misfortunate and sadness to find our daughter. well. here she is. in front of me. within arms reach. I can create the memories I miss with Brooklyn. and with Beckett. I can hope + dream + look forward to these Friday mid-day lunch dates with my own kids where I know my mom is always present.

these days are tough.

can’t wait to get home to my babies.

be brave.

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A constant investigation.

I sit here and cannot move. my mind is going a million minutes. my heart is throbbing. my fingers won’t stop clicking and scrolling. having a semi-open adoption leaves me always wondering. always curious. knowing mama L is in our area to some extent always has my eyes wide open. searching. investigating.

this morning I was driving home and saw a women in one of the worse possible circumstances. my heart sank. that familiar lump back in my throat. my heart saddened. my knees weakened. I didn’t turn the car around this time, I didn’t want confirmation this time. I didn’t want to see the truth before my eyes. Some things are better left unknown.

Is ignorance bliss?

I continued to drive. I kept looking back at bk who was drifting off to slumberland. I kept replaying the meeting I had with Mama L in the hospital room. I remember her charm and it didn’t match the women I saw this morning. the twists and turns of someone life can benefit one but deteriorate another. I kept thanking her in my heart for choosing a different life for Brooklyn that she has for herself. I literally couldn’t stop thinking about her. that women. mama L.

as I was feeding Brooklyn before laying her down, I hopped on my phone to continue more investigating. something I haven’t done in awhile. I searched her name. saw nothing new. I hit the back button and there, new, different information I have never seen before. months of videos, pictures, affirmations, bible passages. all very uplifting, inspirational. that women I saw this morning, was NOT mama L and I have never been more relieved. she is everything opposite of what I saw this morning.

everyday I think about her. I wonder how she is living her life. I hear so many people who have open adoptions that are equally thankful for them as well as have their reservations. I always think if our openness is something that is beneficial or harder. is it different for me than my husband simply because I am adopted and I am always curious about my birth parents? I always think about what would be easier? healthiest? do those even ever match with one another? even when your daughter is placed in your arms, has your last name, you are still always thinking about the what if’s, the how come’s.

mama L, I am rooting for you. your daughter is rooting for you. I pray that you continue down the path you are on and keep yourself the main priority. because of you, your daughter is well loved and taken care of.

be brave.

 

nobody loves like a mom.

I hear that there is a difference between Mothers Day and Birth Mothers Day. I remember seeing posts flood my feeds last year as we were a waiting family. I love that the community finds ways to celebrate in a unique way. But is there a need to have separate holidays? you deserve to be celebrated and that’s what matters.

you ARE a mother.

i remember trying to picture who our birth mom would be especially after “meeting” so many birth mothers on paper. I tried to envision what our relationship would look like during the pregnancy and after placement. who would we get to celebrate on year later on this day?

we get to celebrate you! Mama L.

we don’t have any pictures of you; just the ones in my head.

we don’t have any of you seeing brooklyn for the first time; just in my head.

we don’t have any of you holding sweet bk; just in my head.

we don’t have any of all 5 of us saying goodbye on the hospital; just in my head.

I will not forget the tiny details of the day you placed her in my arms. i will not forget the details of how our story unfolded. I will not forget the details of your story and now her story.

today is your day.

today we are thinking of you more.

talking about you.

praying for you extra hard.

because of you, I get to share our daughters NINE MONTH milestone + on mothers day + for the first time as a mother of TWO.

thank you.

‘thank you’ doesn’t cut it.

‘thank you’ doesn’t solidify it.

‘thank you doesn’t make it more or less real.

but ‘thank you.’

forever thankful.

daily.

** happy mother’s day to my birth mom. the one i do not know. the one i’ve never seen. you are loved.** 

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