My beautiful daughter celebrates her 29th birthday tomorrow. Like a welcomed summer shower, following a dry and parched season, she arrived on a June afternoon in 1986. I call her my gift from God, because that's exactly what she is. And while I didn't carry her in my womb, she is the child of my heart, the child I wished for in all the barren years.
It was on the eve of her seventh birthday that I sat down and penned a letter to her birthmother. The letter was never mailed, as I had not met her birthmother at that time and didn't know where to send it, but writing the letter proved therapeutic for me. Years later, my daughter and I met this special woman, and I shared my thoughts with her at that time.
I'm sharing this letter with you, my dear readers, so you will know just how special adopted children are.
Dear birthmother of my child,
I am writing this on the eve of my daughter's seventh birthday—make that our daughter's seventh birthday. Even though we have never met, you have a special place in my heart. That is why I’m writing.
First, I am aware of the choices you had when you discovered your pregnancy. Thank you for choosing life and for choosing adoption. Giving life to a child is miraculous.
We named her Anna Marie. I know you must think about her from time to time—especially on her birthday. I think of you too, and I thank God for you. Anna Marie was an answer to hundreds—even thousands—of prayers.
Without you, I would never have been celebrated on Mother's Day. My home would not ring with the sound of a child giggling and singing. The bathroom would not be cluttered with dolphin sponges and Big Bird bubble bath. The refrigerator would not be covered with notes scrawled on ragged pieces of colored paper. Notes like: "I love you Mom. I love you Dad. I love you Nana. I love you Papa. I love you God."
My house would not have children's books stacked in every corner. Photos of a round-faced little girl would not line the bookshelves in my family room. In fact, my photo albums would be largely empty, if not for her. I would never hear a pink bicycle and doll buggies squeaking up and down the drive-way. The backyard would have no need for a swing set or tree house. Our collie, Princess, would have nobody to trail around behind, or roll in the autumn leaves with.
There would be no one to meet at the school yard, if not for her. No one would hand me folded papers bearing crooked letters of the alphabet. There would be no little girl standing in a line at the end of the school year to receive her honor roll slips and trophies; no one to wave shyly at me from the stage.
Without you, I would have no one to take to a Sunday school class; no one to recite Bible verses to me. No little voice would tell me I was beautiful—even in my grungy yellow robe. No small hands would braid my hair or massage my tired shoulders at the end of a grueling day. There would be no one to surprise me with flowers and clover from the yard. No one to make up songs and sing them to me on rainy Saturdays. And I would never have even considered that raindrops could actually be "God's kisses."
I have told my daughter about you. She said she would like to meet you one day. I said I would like that, too.
Birthdays are especially exciting around here. Last night she got so worked up about her party tomorrow—leaping through the house, singing silly songs—that I finally asked her to please sit down and give my nerves a rest. That is when she brought me to tears. "But Mama," she said, her eyes so serious and brown. "I'm just so happy 'cause God gave me such a good mother and father. I'm just so happy ‘cause I'm alive and not in a dark grave somewhere." With tears in my eyes, I scooped her up and held her tight, my heart almost bursting. She’s always seemed wiser than her years.
Tomorrow, she will bound into the dining room and gasp at the presents and balloons and cake with seven candles. She will hug me and her father and say, "Thank you, Mama. Thank you, Daddy," a dozen times. Then, just before she blows out the candles, she will shut her eyes tight and make a wish. And while she is wishing, I will make a wish of my own—that more young women would choose adoption when facing an unwanted pregnancy, because the world needs more children like ours.
Happy Birthday, my beautiful daughter.
My love for you cannot be measured or spoken.