Saturday, May 7, 2016

Birth mother

Dear First Mom, 

This is all new to me. I honestly spend quite a bit of time not thinking about you because there's so much I don't understand and so many feelings to process. But for the sake of the little girl who shares your features and DNA but who calls me 'mama', I will attempt to process those feelings. Because one day she will ask about you. And ultimately, though I will never know your story, I want to express my gratitude and love for you- even though it is messy and complicated and even a little painful. 

For nine months she grew inside of you. Brain cells and bones forming, tiny legs kicking and stretching. Your hearts being knit together. Then she was in your arms. I wonder if she has your eyes or your forehead shape. I wonder if you could feel the vibrancy of this tiny person radiating off of her even as a newborn. I know the first time I laid eyes on our girl I knew there was spark and fight and personality that was larger than life, buried under layers of clothing and layers of self preservation. 

And that self preservation.  That's where things start to get messy inside my heart. She wouldn't have those layers of protection if she hadn't been given away, sent to an orphanage, and left for three years. I don't know why you made the choice you made. Perhaps it was the only choice you had. Every time my little girl closes her eyes tight, closes me out, I battle the anger that it shouldn't be this way.  Little children shouldn't grow up inside institutions. Mothers shouldn't have to choose to abandon their children in order to follow the law or even to save their lives. But if this wasn't the reality, then our daughter wouldn't be in my life.... See the complications and messiness that I struggle with?  

I wish she didn't have trust issues.  I wish dozens of caretakers hadn't been in and out of her life, giving her a tiny taste of what a mama is, only to leave and never come back. I wish she didn't know hunger.  I wish she didn't know neglect. I wish she didn't have the skills to charm every adult in the room in order to have her needs for attention met.  I wish she had only known nurture and comfort from her mama- from you. But she is here with me and while I wouldn't ever wish her away, my heart is still broken from the what ifs. 

So on this day before Mother's Day- what the adoptive community refers to as 'Birthmother's Day,' I will attempt to express my gratitude for you. Your choices were your own and beyond my understanding.  But I do understand that you chose to continue your pregnancy with our little girl. You chose to give her life. You nurtured her for as long as you were able and then brought her somewhere safe, somewhere she would have the best opportunity at a life that you were unable to give her. Your hearts were knit together- and now through your sacrifice, my heart is joined to yours as well. Mila will only know my love and gratitude for you- a task I take very seriously. She will know that she was always wanted, cherished.  And I will pray, every Mother's Day eve, that by God's grace and mercy (for which Mila was named) you will experience a peace beyond all comprehension that your little girl- our mighty Mila- is safe, loved, and treasured. 

With love and respect, 

Mila's Mama

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