My Hope as a Parent Is Something I Share with My Birth Mother
This folder contained memories I did not have, information about a family I did not know.
These are my parents with whom I belong, the people who will care for meTo whom do I belong?
Until one Easter morning, when I was restless and unable to sleep. I was in the basement of my home, shuffling through a filing cabinet that contained old report cards and school projects, when I discovered a blank manila envelope. Inside the folder I spotted a cover page from Catholic Charities, a page that hinted at what the goosebumps on my arms were already telling me: This folder contained memories I did not have, information about a family I did not know.
Did it make any sense that the woman who gave birth to me was someone I had never heard of and would never know?
The birth mother began receiving her pre-natal care at six weeks of pregnancy . . .
She had a total weight gain of twenty-two pounds during the pregnancy . . .
Michael was born after an eleven-hour labor . . .
The foster mother described Michael as a good baby who enjoyed being talked to and who smiled and cooed . . .
The birth mother is allergic to pollen, dust, and mold, has hayfever and wears glasses for reading . . .
She describes herself as social, introspective, pensive at times, assertive and open . . .
She relates she has a special skill of singing and enjoys this . . .
I am quite the letter-writer but I must say that this is the most difficult letter I have attempted so far. I wish that we could have more communication than this, but in some ways it may be best for all of us. I have decided that the surrender of my little boy is in his best interest and, from the beginning, I want you to know that he is yours to love. Never be threatened by my being his birth mother. The longing I feel for him is so intense that I could never explain it to you, but I cannot go back on my decision. I know I have made the right choice.
The reason I am going into all of this is because I want you to try to love him without any reservation. You see, he has my love, but he won’t know that 1st hand. I have had to trust many people in this past year that I never would have met if not for my pregnancy and though I am a trusting person, this is different. This tiny life was in my care until just over 2 months ago. Now he is with people I don’t even know. The separation is difficult but the worry is worse. I am trusting him to you and I am sure you will make wonderful parents to him, but it’s not enough to give me peace of mind. What I have turned to is God. I am entrusting him first of all to God. This brings some comfort.
Today, it feels like the pain will never go away and my life will never feel full. I don’t know what life holds in store for me now, but at least he will not suffer my struggles too . . . I hope you will do what is best for him. For now, I’ll do my best to go on.
I understand that he is pretty demanding of time and attention. Please be patient with him and shower him with love when it’s difficult. In our short time together, I realized what a wonderful person will blossom from this little fragile life. He deserves the best that you can give him every day. Believe it or not, I have learned a lot about life and love from him in ways too numerous to explain. I will always feel connected to him and though the intensity and immediacy of my feelings may fade a long time from now, I will never stop loving and missing him.
All You Can Ever Know,
The Golden State,
I would love to say that I am unreserved in my happiness for you, but I am very, very jealous. I am jealous of the time you will have with him, the smiles you will see, the trials you will face, the love he will return to you.
Michael Wear is the author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America.
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