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Do You Think of Me? A Mother's Day Tribute
In July of 1979 a baby girl was born in Cleveland. She was tiny, even for a newborn, and she gave her mother particular pain during the vaginal delivery as a breech-birth baby. She was born with shocking red hair and blue eyes in the early hours of the 22nd day of the month. You never held her. You never put her to your breast or kissed her cheek. You never reached your arms out for her.
Instead she was taken from you to the nursery to wait for her foster parents. That little girl never had the opportunity to know you or to know very much about you except that you loved her enough to put her into the arms of a family who could care for her as you could not. You cared enough about your daughter to give her opportunities that you couldn't provide. You cared enough to know how much you could handle.
I respect you for that.
I am 29 years old now, and have spent most of my life wondering about you, Mother. I have limited information, just enough to tell me that you were taller than my 5'3" (you were 5'9") and that I didn't get my red hair from you (yours was brown). I know when and where I was born, and I have an idea that you lived close enough to my adoptive parents that I might have passed you on the street without ever knowing it was you. I know that there was another child (also adopted) before me, possibly another girl. I know that your last name might have been Link, before you were married (if you were married).
I know a lot of things, Mother, even if I have never seen your face.
I know that you cared.
For so many years I thought that you would never have given me up if you had cared about me. My heart told me that if you loved me you would have been there for me, you would have held onto me with everything you were worth. I wondered how you could pass your own child into the hands of another and walk away.
Then I did it. I felt at the time that I had no choice but to surrender custody of my children to another person. I felt desperate and frightened. I was homeless and my husband and I were alone. We knew that we couldn't do what we needed to do to take care of our children, and we signed the papers that allowed them to be adopted.
For a long time I thought that my heart would break. I can understand now how you might have felt walking away, Mother. I can understand that your recovery in that hospital must have been difficult for you. I understand that there must have been such an ache in your heart.
I used to ask myself and others "does she think about me?"
Mother, not a day goes by that I don't think of the little girls I gave up. Not a day goes by when my heart doesn't feel some agony for their being gone. Some days I feel as though I will never recover and that things will never, ever be better for me without them in my life. Some days it is pure agony and I don't want to go on living. I question my decision, I wonder if there was something else that we could have done. I miss my girls.
I talk to other birth moms, and I'm not alone in the way that I feel. It isn't uncommon for birth mothers to miss their children and to wonder what could have been. We aren't different, you and I: we both look at our lives and wonder "what could have been?"
I don't miss you so much any more. It pains me to know that one day my children will feel the same way. They won't want to find me and get to know me the way that I have spent most of my life hoping to find and get to know you. They will stop missing me and the void will somehow be filled. They will move on with their lives as I have, have children of their own, and they will forget about me.
They will forget except for every Mother's Day, and every birthday, and then they will be reminded that there is someone out there for them. Is she thinking about them? Are you thinking about me?
A part of me still longs to meet you, Mother. A part of me wants to reach out my hands and embrace you. I am a part of you as my children are part of me. It pains me to know that the circle of my family isn't complete, that there is something missing. I hope that one day all will be restored, but until that day, I hope it is enough for me to say...