When I was pregnant and had finalized my decision to place for adoption, I was shocked at how many letters I received sharing their stories and their support. Most of these were from people I knew, but I had never known that adoption had touched their lives. I remember very well two letters I received, one from a friend of Dave and Amy's who lives in Florida. She gave the letter to them before I announced I would be placing with them, and told them to give it to their birthmother when they were chosen. I received the letter from Dave and Amy about a month before I delivered. I kept it by my bedside for the entire month, then in my journal for months after placement. That letter was from a dear, wonderful woman who placed her daughter 15 years ago. She expressed her love for me (someone she had never even met!) and told me of the love she felt from our Heavenly Father every day. She assured me that I would be blessed and grateful, and that Dave and Amy were incredible people (I already knew that) who would be amazing parents (already knew that, too!). That letter made me want to help other girls. I figured that if I could give comfort to just one other birthmother, then I would succeed in my mission. I wanted to change the world, even if it was just one person's world.
The other letter I keep close to me still is from little David's maternal grandmother (Amy's mom). I hadn't met her when I received the letter, but Dave and Amy gave it to me the night of placement. I never knew a grandmother could be so grateful and so humbled by a child joining her family. She had other grandchildren, but in her letter she expressed her unconditional love for little David and my part in bringing him to their family. It made me realize the magnitude of my decision. I wasn't just placing a child into Dave and Amy's family, I was placing him into a long line, reaching back hundreds of generations, and it will continue hundreds of generations... all because he was placed into that family. Adoption is an eternal principle, and I am often humbled by that thought.
So, as I've been thinking about others a lot lately, here is my letter to birthmothers or birthmothers-to-be,
You don't know me, and maybe you never will. I can tell you that I don't know exactly what you're going through because all our stories are different. But I can tell you a few things about what you are about to experience.
Please, love your baby. Connect with your baby before he or she is born. Bond with them after they are born. Your baby needs to feel that love from you, because a part of them will always remember that love. You don't ever want to regret not connecting with that baby. It is so worth it. The love you will share, for however short a time until placement, will stay with you forever. It will buoy you up when you start to ache. It is real, and it is unending. You will never stop loving your baby.
Placement will hurt. So much. You may be numb right after, and that's okay. But let yourself hurt. Open yourself up and just ache. You need to feel that pain, don't try to hide from it. There will be mornings you wake up and you will honestly think you can't live another moment. Sometimes the grief will make you want to just curl up and disappear. But I promise you, it will ease. Slowly, day by day, it will ease some. Pray often, and pray hard. No matter how you lived your life prior to placement, our Heavenly Father is there for you. He will hold you, and though you won't be able to see Him or feel Him, He will be there. Then, one day, you'll wake up and you won't immediately cry. One day, you'll be able to look at a picture of your baby with his or her new parents and you will smile. You will be able to recognize the love that is there, and you will be able to relate to that love. One day, you will do something normal. And you will remember how much it hurt before, and be grateful that you made it through the pain.
You will run into people who don't understand, and who will not want to understand why you decided to place. That's okay. You don't need to justify yourself to anyone. It was your decision, and yours alone. Nobody else can possibly know what was best for your baby or for you.
And then... someone will come into your life. He will fall in love with you, and he will think you hung the moon. He will learn your story, and will love you BECAUSE you made the decision you did. He will recognize that you are a strong, amazing daughter of God. You made a selfless, incredible sacrifice on behalf of someone else, and because of that your spirit will radiate out to those around you. He will recognize that, and he will cherish you. He will treat you the way that you deserve to be treated.
Not all of this will happen fast, and not all of this will happen in that order. But I promise you this, birthmomma... You are loved. By me, and by thousands of other women who made this decision. You are in a sisterhood, and there will always be someone there to hold you. There are thousands of couples waiting to be chosen who love you because you give them hope by what you have endured, and by what you about to endure. Most important, there is a family out there that already feels, or will soon feel, unable to express their love and gratitude. The love they feel for you is overwhelming. You may never know how important you are to so many people. I pray for you every day, and I hope you can look back on this experience in the future and say "I did something so hard, and I survived. I am happy."
All my love,