As you know, I started these letters for many reasons, most of them for you. I want you to know how you got to where you are. I want you to know how many lives you’ve touched just by being you. I want to be able to document the things I learn about you as I learn them, so that one day you can look back and appreciate your childhood self the way the rest of us do. Mostly I want you to know how loved you are.
But I’m going to make a confession: even though the letters are for you – from me to you – they’re actually for me too. Because even though it’s good for you to know that I love you, it’s almost better for me to know that you know that I love you.
As I told you yesterday, The B’s would never dream of the day when they would let you forget how much I love you. I know that if some how, some way, any doubt of that entered your mind, they would correct it in an instant. But before I found them and really got to know them, that was probably my biggest adoption concern as a birth mother: that if you grew up away from me, you would never know how much I loved you. Or even worse, you would assume that since I “gave you up,” I didn’t love you.
I think that is a universal birth mother fear – that if we’re not around, there won’t be anyone else around to remind you that we honestly did what we thought was absolutely best for you in the long run. That it was because of love that we chose adoption, not in spite of it, or due to our lack of it. We want our children to think the best of us and sometimes we feel that if we’re not with you 24/7 to encourage that, no one else will.
It’s one of the weird conundrums of adoption – I feel that, as your mother, our love for one another should be innate. But since I went through with adoption – even though it was a decision made lovingly – sometimes I feel like my love is something that I need to prove to you. My love for you is guaranteed, but since I’m not raising you, your love for me doesn’t have to be – sometimes, I feel like your love is something I will need to earn.
I honestly used to think that I was a selfish person for choosing adoption. That if I had just been a little more selfless, I could have sacrificed more – “manned up” a bit – and kept you as my own. A little therapy and constant support from friends and family cured me of that relatively fast, but it doesn’t keep the thought from creeping up every now and then. It’s a strange paradigm to try to describe.
I actually came up with the idea for these letters way back then, when the adoption first took place, but I wasn’t as healed then as I feel now. I wanted to be able to sort through my feelings before I started telling them to you because I wanted our relationship to be a source of clarity for you, not confusion. And also, funny enough (the people who know me will laugh at this), I was actually afraid I would run out of things to say.
As it turns out, my letters to you almost write themselves. I start off with a little thought or a funny story about you and suddenly, I’ve written hundreds of words – paragraphs filled with stories I want you to know, stories I love; feelings I have for you and your family, a thousand memories, a million and a half things I want you to hear. Writing to you isn’t a job, it isn’t work – it’s freeing. Every time I write one, I feel a little lighter. And even though you’re no where close to being able to read them, I feel closer to you and The B’s every time I finish one.
It’s yet another way you have brought love, peace and meaning to my life.
My fears of you not knowing that I am madly in love with you have been long assuaged. I am sure you will grow up knowing that I love you because The B’s wouldn’t have it any other way, and because I am going to come around as often as humanly possible to tell you so myself. And some day later on, you will have these letters to tell you how loved you are, too. But even so, you should know that even if I don’t have to, I am going to spend the rest of my life proving it to you anyways.