Dear Birthmother of my son,
With technology today, contact with others on the other side of the world is just a mouse click away. I wish it were so with you, but I have no way of contacting you because I do not know who you are. Today is our son’s birthday, and because you left him with a note stating such, I am sure that somewhere today in China, your thoughts most likely turned to him…a son you could not keep.
I am confident it was a decision that caused much grief and pain as no Mother-heart could care for a child for the first couple of years of his life and then be asked to relinquish him without so much as a backward glance. Did you make the decision on your own, or was it one that was forced upon you? I have read of Chinese women who 10 and 15 years later speak of the day that they were forced to relinquish their child. They cannot finish speaking as they talk about it because their pain causes them to dissolve into sobs.
Thank you for loving him enough to leave his birthdate pinned to him. He lost so much with the loss of his parents and family, but that small bit of information is a part of his identity that no one can ever take away. I pray that his birthdate and the location where he was found might someday lead us to you, but that may be a wish that won’t be granted in this life.
I wish you could see him today. I am blessed to have photos of him at the age of 2 that another parent adopting from his orphanage took over 10 years ago. Because of this gift, we will never have to wonder what he looked like when he was young. I wish I could return the favor and share with you what he looks like today. Here are some photos, and perhaps someday through some miracle, you will be able to see them. He has a dimple on his right cheek and a face that truly lights up when he smiles. I often wonder if he got that from you.
He is doing remarkably well in school, and learning English at a rapid pace. I bet you could never imagine on the day that you relinquished him that he would end up in America. Perhaps you wonder if he is still out there close by in China. Last night, as he gleefully opened birthday presents, I thought of how he told me he only got cake in the orphanage for his birthday. There was no money for gifts, and when I sent gifts ahead before we arrived in China to adopt him, he said they were taken away. He was only allowed to pose with them for a photo and then told that because he would have a family, he needed to give them up to other children who would remain behind. He is a kind and forgiving boy, however, and took the loss in stride.
Our son is an obedient boy and a very hard worker. Last year, he won the President’s Award at his school for a child who has excelled in school despite challenges. His certificate is signed by the president of the United States. Having to conquer the English language is not an easy task for someone who spoke Chinese the first 11 years of his life, but his teacher told me that he was the hardest worker in her class. You would be proud.
His medical issues have been resolved, and you’ll be pleased to know that he is healthy and happy. He is very slight in stature, and often when I see a Chinese man who is also slight in build, I wonder if his Chinese father is built the same way. He doesn’t like being so small, and is quick to share with others that he can pull his share of the load. He chooses the heaviest bags of groceries to carry in from the store, and then flexes his muscles for me saying, “Mama, I strong boy!”
The Olympics is happening in Beijing right now, and he is happy to cheer for athletes from both the United States and China. Just as he is a boy with two mothers, he will grow up as a boy with two countries. He has asked me if China is bad when he has heard stories on the news that don’t always paint China in a positive light. We have focused on all that is good in China and how he can be proud that he is from a country with such a rich and varied history.
However, it is most likely the lack of your civil rights–the one child policy– that led to his relinquishment and adoption. He and I have not yet discussed that in depth, but questions have surfaced on occasion. I worry what that governmental policy has done to his self esteem. He saw a baby once who had been left at the orphanage gates who died a few days later. He told me how sad that made him, and told me “That baby’s parents no want her, just like my parents no want me.” I told him nothing could be further from the truth. Some tell me I cannot know that. I can, because I too have a mother-heart that loves.
Adoptive parents often only focus on the joy they have in gaining a son or daughter. There is no denying, however, the pain and loss that are also a part of adoption. In order to gain his present family, he had to lose his first one. To have me as his mother, he had to lose you. At night sometimes when I kneel down to pray for all of my children, know that I pray for you as well. I pray that your heart may have peace, that God might speak to your heart somehow to let you know that he is doing well. I pray that I am raising him in a manner of which you would approve.
If not in this life, then in the next, I know I will meet you someday. I will give you an accounting of my stewardship as his second mother, and pray that we can compare notes someday. You can tell me what he was like when he was born and when he first learned to crawl, or got his first tooth. I, in turn, will share with you his life from age 11 on. Please know wherever you are, that he is loved. I thank you that in those first few years of his life, you taught him how to love. People have told me it is a miracle that he can, given that he spent so many years in an orphanage. I have no doubt, however, that it was his early years with you that gave him the love and confidence he needed to be able to bond with another family.
Thank you for the gift of our precious son.