To the first mothers I never got to know

We are lucky to be in contact with many biological relatives for our three sweet boys, but for two of our sons, there is little to no chance of us ever meeting this side of heaven. This is the letter that I would send to them if I had that ability, to bend time and space and find lost people across the earth and across the line between this life and after this life. How I wish that I could make it be so! Anyways...


To precious you, the lost mothers:


I didn't always realize how deeply sad this is, the absence of you. I'll admit that it was a loss I used to avoid really reflecting on or thinking about. But lately I've been learning and unlearning...a lot.


Becoming a more educated adoptive parent has opened a lot of doors for me and my family, and behind some of those doors lay sacred relationships with biological family members. These relationships have been hard to navigate at times, but they've also been joyful and restorative and I wouldn't trade them for anything, Because of these relationships I have a better understanding of our children's beginnings and origins, I have baby pictures and memories and stories I never would have had otherwise (and more importantly, so do they.) And it is only now that I'm fully realizing the loss.


The stories we'll never hear. The pictures we'll never see. The conversations we'll never have together, as mothers.


I'll never sit down with you and ask you about your pregnancies. I'll never be able to get your take on the choices made during those times. I'll never be able to hear you retell the moment of them joining this world, not ever. THEY will never have access to those moments, except in the far reaches of their shadowed primal memories.


But it's the loss of the right now that breaks my heart. It's the now that makes me the most sad, the most longing for things to be different. If only you could see them, who you made! Their smiles like the sun, their funny little ways, their tiny hands and wonky feet. They are SO beautiful. And I know that even though their Papa loves them the very most and so do all the biological relatives and parents that we ARE lucky enough to be in contact with...there's not a person alive on this earth who would know how I feel about these babies like you would.


In the in between place of my daydreams I visit with you. We sit in the sun and watch them play and you hold them and make them laugh and we marvel together at the miracles that they are.


The list of What I Would Tell You if Only I Could, is absolutely endless, ENDLESS. And all the more frustrating because I'll probably never get to share it with you in this life.


What I want you to know: He's so perfect and beautiful, your son. Everything turned out okay, all the things you were worried about are behind him, or just a unique part of him. Please don't worry; I want you to have peace above all else. And I want you to know that I think about you all the time, ALL the time. In the ordinary moments of motherhood (in the bath when they're laughing in the middle of the night when I'm singing to him and the moon visits us through the blinds in the early morning sunrise while I'm watching them sleep in the moment when he turns his head and I see your smile in his smile, EVERY day) I feel you with us like a benevolent loving ghost. You rise up, a memory of someone I never got to know, and I feel your spirit there.


I take it very seriously, my role of second chance mother, and I want you to know that also. I try hard to do right by you, to do it well, this work of motherhood that I know would've been your joy, had things gone differently.


I want you to know that he's safe, will always be safe, will always be loved. I want you to know that as long as I'm alive he'll have a day to day mother who does her best by him. And I want you to know that I know that you did, too.


You did the best that you could, and it's the greatest injustice ever that I'm here in this role that was made to be yours. It really is. I'm sorry life's circumstances took the chance to raise your son from you. I'm so, so sorry. It's not fair and it will never be fair. It is an honor to spend my life standing in the gap left by your absence but I also want you to know that it is never entirely filled. There's a place beside me, beside them, for you always. Right in the space between what should have been, and what is. Your memory is there in that space, and I promise not to let it be forgotten.


And as always, I could never ever thank each of you enough for bringing into this world the most wonderful human being. I hope you know in your soul that you've brought a much needed and much loved light into this all too dark universe.


Okay. I guess that's all for now. Sending so much love to you both, wherever you are.



Infant baby J on the remarkable day of his birth

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