To The Mother Who Gave Me Up For Adoption, “I Now Understand.”
We have seen some truly powerful stories about adoption. From the adoptive mother who defended herself as a “real mom” after being challenged online, to the amazing parents who adopted 7 siblings at once.
But what about the other perspective in an adoption story? That of the child who gains a new family?
In the letter below, a 35-year-old mom named Dana Mason Womer writes a love letter to her birth mother and to her adoptive parents. As an adult and mother, Dana has the most beautiful insights as she reflects on her story.
I am adopted. This is a phrase I have said hundreds of times in my life…There has never been a time in my life when I didn’t know I was adopted, that I was chosen.
It all started with a young woman who made a brave decision.
My birth mother was a twenty-year-old who was not yet ready to raise a child, but was willing to grow and keep a baby safe for nine months. She was generous and gracious enough to send me into the arms of a couple that had been waiting years for me. My mom and dad had struggled with infertility and after a casual conversation about adoption with her OBGYN, the wheels of our collective fate began to turn.
My entire life is a love letter I’ve been writing to my birth mother and to my mom and dad. I try to live each day with intention, to be kind to others, to smile, to be open to new opportunities. I am very aware that my life was a gift given to me by these three people and I do not intend to waste it.
Dana goes on to describe her “lovely childhood,” full of happy memories and lots of love. Then came the teenage years, with all of the angst that entails.
But, as she entered adulthood, Dana became more reflective. She found herself contemplating what she would say to her birth mother if they were to ever meet.
To my birth mother: I don’t think that we will ever meet, but I already know you. I have your blood running through my veins, your curly hair, your laugh. I have your messiness and your feisty attitude. But I also like to think I inherited a “kind and generous” gene from you. After growing my babies inside of me and watching them come into the world two times over, I now understand the weight of what you did for me–choosing to keep me safe those long nine months, every scream you let out and every aching pain you felt while bringing me into the world, bearing the burden of giving your child a future by giving her away–for all that and more I thank you. I love you and I thank you.
But as Dana contemplated what she would say to her biological mom, she also realized there was so much she’d never said to the mom and dad who raised her.
And to my mom and dad: At Christmas you always say you don’t want any gifts, that you have everything you need. Well, this is my gift to you. Thank you for choosing me, for waiting and for keeping your hearts open and for saying yes when that call came.
Thank you for renting a VCR every weekend and watching Annie with me over and over until your ears bled. Thank you for encouraging me to spend time outside–for letting me run loose in the the woods by our house, and for the bonfires and park time.
From movie-watching as a child to their support through college and early adulthood, all the way to her wedding, Dana thanks her parents for being with her every step of the way.
You accepted my husband and (not surprisingly) turned into some of the best grandparents the world has ever seen. Thank you for being the role models I base my parenting on and for supporting my family’s decision to move across the country, and for answering every phone call, every text, every FaceTime. Thank you for always knowing when I need you. Thank you for keeping me safe for thirty-five years and counting.
I am adopted. And I am so very lucky.
Share this mother’s powerful story today.