My Mother and I, 2013, Best Friends Forever
Back in 2009 my therapist at the time asked me to write a series of letters. The assignment was to write letters I would have wanted my Adoptive Mother to write to me as a young girl. The task challenged my loyalties to my Mother and made me feel very icky and uneasy. However, the healing that took place as a result was remarkable. As I read the letters aloud in the therapists office, I cried and cried like a lunatic. If only my Mother had known what to say or do when it came to adoption. If only she had the tools. The truth is she had nothing. She was handed a baby and was told that it was her own. In her mind, I was a blank canvas.
I have not looked at these entries since writing them 5 years ago. It took my breath away as I read through them earlier this morning. The way in which I wished my Mother had spoken to me is a mirror of the way I am parenting my adopted daughter. These letters no longer evoke any huge emotions in me. I still wish my Mother voiced these things to me to make my journey to self easier, but I am getting there on my own and that is incredibly empowering. She is by my side now [every day for 5 years] and we are walking together through my healing now. It's important to note that these letters were never sent to my Mother, nor were they meant to be. She will be reading them for the first time now along with all of you.
Dear Lynnie Bin [My Mother's nickname for me],
I want you to know that it is okay to love your Birthmom. It is okay if you even refer to her as Mom. She is your Mom as am I. You have two Moms and that is okay. That is what makes you special. Being adopted is very painful. It is okay if you ever want to talk about your Mom or ask me questions about adoption. I will try my best to answer them and if I cannot I will find someone that can. It is so hard to lose someone you love. Just because you don't know your Bithmom does not mean you can't love her. It is okay to love her. It is okay if you even love her as much as me or or even if you love her more than me. I think you should have a heart for your Birthmom and a heart for me. Know that it is okay - you can keep these two hearts separate.
The truth is that I do not know why you were put up for adoption. When you grow up, perhaps we can find out what your story is. I am sorry that we do not have too much information, but I do not mind telling you the information we do have over and over again. Everyone has a story. Yours may be short and incomplete , but you do have a story.
I am so sorry that those girls in class whispered about you being adopted. I will call their Mothers' and explain to them more about adoption. People whisper and stare at people when they do not know about it. Just because they are whispering does not mean something is wrong with you. It just means they don't understand. I can also give your teacher some books about adoption or I can come to your class and we can teach your friends more about adoption. Whatever the best thing is for you, I will do. If you don't want me to do anything, just know that I would do anything if you asked me to.
I am so sorry I cried all those times you were mad and said I was not your real Mom. I know that was a cry for help and I turned the other cheek - I made it about me. I always made you feel guilty for saying those words, instead I owe you an apology. When our fights settled down, I should have spoken to you more about your feelings. We all want our Moms when we are mad or frustrated. These are confusing times for you. Although it is not okay to hurt people deliberately, I realize that those words, in particular, are your way of expressing how much you miss your Mom. You needed to deal with the pain and anger of losing her. Because I never helped you do that, all your pain and anger is being brought into everyday situations. I am sorry I never helped you separate the pain, fear and loss of your Mother with the trials of everyday life. Please forgive me.
Have any of you used this letter writing method to help heal from your adoption loss? Did you find it effective? Do you feel I am being disloyal to my Mother by publishing these very personal thoughts? I look forward to hearing from you.
Lesson Learned: When you decide its time to begin to heal from the trauma of adoption, let down the guard that adoptees often put up to protect the feelings of our adoptive parents. Be vulnerable and don't feel guilty finally voicing the emotions you repressed for so long. The adoption was not your choice and you have the right to feel the way you want to.