Saturday, May 10, 2014

On Mother's Day: An Open Letter to My Son's Birth Mom

Dear "Her",

We don't know each other. In all likelihood we will never meet. I have no way of finding you.  Despite your anonymity, I have thought about you frequently in the last six and a half weeks. You were on my mind when I traveled to the other side of the world. Thoughts of you tugged at my heart when a precious little Asian-eyed boy was placed into my arms. You were on my mind as I took an oath to never abandon or abuse him and signed it with my thumbprint. Thoughts of you consumed me when I visited the orphanage where he spent the first months of his life and the spot where you left him to be found. In the weeks since we've been home I've thought of you a little less often as I've settled into being his mama. At times I have an irrational pang of guilt when he lavishes his kisses on me or when he cuddles closely to my neck on his way to sleep. I wonder if you would have made a different choice had you known how healthy he would turn out to be.

People ask me about you. Sometimes they insensitively refer to you as his "real" mom. I know what they mean. Usually they want to know if I know anything about you or have any contact with you. They want to know why you "gave him up." You see, we live in such an abundantly blessed country that most people here can't fathom the desperation that would drive a mother to abandon her child. Most people here don't know that the only way to give a child up for adoption in China is to abandon him and hope for the best. They assume that you didn't love him or that you somehow were hard and uncaring. They don't know that many times the children found abandoned in China are wrapped up in blankets with hot water bottles to keep them warm and have a note pinned to them begging someone to help the precious child they can't care for. They haven't seen the footage from the security camera at the Guangzhou baby drop station that shows sobbing mothers walking, crawling or being dragged away from their babies, consumed with the agony of an unthinkable choice.

I know how it feels to have life move inside you. I know how it feels to bring a child into this world only to find out that as they leave your body, somehow they take a big piece of your heart with them forever. I know how it feels to love someone so much more than you ever thought possible. I can't imagine the decision to lay down my child and walk away. Considering the hopelessness you must have gone through in coming to such a decision shatters my heart.

Did you save the news clipping in the local paper that featured his picture asking you to come forward to claim him? Did you ever consider doing just that but then realize your circumstances hadn't changed? Do you think about him every day even though it has been nearly two years since you 've seen him? Does your heart ache this Mother's Day with thoughts of a child you once held that has your eyes?

The truth is that I will never have answers to the questions. I will never know his family medical history. I will never know if he has your nose. I will never know if you were too young, too sick, too poor to meet his needs. Maybe you hid the pregnancy so that you were not forced to kill your unborn child. Maybe he was a forbidden second child that you were forced to hide as he grew in your belly. There are a million maybes and all I have are a few rudimentary facts. Someday when he asks, I will tell him that you chose life for him in a country that encourages and at times forces women to abort their babies. I will tell him that you left him in a place where you knew for certain that he would be found and cared for. I will tell him that you did the best you could. I will assure him that you loved him.

If I could, I'd tell you about this amazing boy that you brought into this world. I'd tell you how he loves watermelon and red raspberries more than anyone I've ever known. I'd tell you  how he loves bath time and peek-a-boo and how he starts to dance at the first note of music. I'd tell you how smart and funny he is and how he has the best belly for blowing raspberries. I'd describe how he smiles and laughs with his whole face until his eyes disappear.

I would assure you that he is safe, that he is well fed and that he is loved. Oh how he is loved!! He has the kind of daddy most people only dream of having. He has a big sister and a big brother who dote on him constantly. He has the best sets of grandparents in the world and a slew of aunts, uncles and cousins that adore him.

I promise you I will always put his needs above my own. I will make sure he gets a good education. I will make sure he eats his vegetables and washes behind his ears. I will comfort him when he is afraid. I will nurse skinned knees and broken bones and head colds and tummy viruses. I will hug him often and protect his heart and his mind and his body. I will be there when he has his first broken heart, when he makes the team - or doesn't, when he graduates from high school, when he marries the one he loves. I will teach him to balance a checkbook, to scrub a toilet and to iron his own shirts. I will encourage him to pursue his dreams and work hard to achieve his goals. I will do these things and more because I am his mother.

There will always be a part of his heart that belongs to you. There will always be a piece of his life that is yours. The truth is that without you he wouldn't be mine and I would have missed the blessing of mothering him. Thank you for the precious gift of this boy's life.

I pray that your heart finds peace and that you know that he is loved.

1 comment:

  1. He is so cute . Looks like he enjoys being a part of your family. Blessings