A Love Letter

According to something I saw on This Morning recently (I was only watching because they had an adoption feature) the most asked questions by pre-approved adopters is ‘Could I ever love someone else’s child?’ and ‘Could they love me?’.

Recently it was the first anniversary of my son’s adoption. This is the letter I wrote him on the day he was adopted. If you are thinking about adopting, I hope it answers those two questions for you.

Dear Son,

Today I received a phone-call to tell me that you are officially mine. You are my son. With all my being I wanted to rush upstairs, wake you from your nap and share this monumental news with you, but you would have no idea what I would be trying to tell you. You’d probably just giggle at me and say, ‘silly Mummy!’. Because for you nothing will change – you’ve been with me exactly 6 months. Six months in your little life is a lifetime. I doubt that you can really remember your foster carers and, much as it pains me, I doubt you can remember the hours you spent with your <Foster Sibling> – the funny language you shared together and dancing together in their kitchen. I know you definitely won’t remember <Birth Family Members> as its been ten months now since you’ve seen them. For you, life carries on as ‘normal’ is now – you live with Mummy now and that’s how it is. And that’s great, its wonderful in fact, to see and feel how safe and secure you are. But it does mean that the enormity of today is kind of lost on you!

But may be your future self might want to know how it feels to become your Mum. Most women have the pain of childbirth to go through and then they have a beautiful tiny baby at the end of it. There are some definite labour moments in the adoption process – emotional pain, if not physical pain. But just like a normal delivery, that pain is worth it for what you get at the end. And my feeling is that I lucked out. I couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful, funny, cheeky, affectionate little boy. The last six months with you have brought me more joy than the rest of my life put together. People keep saying, ‘he’s lucky to have you’ but that is so untrue – I am the lucky one to have you. And now to be your Mum! Wow! To have the honour and privilege of having you as my son, to be able to love you and take care of you and to help you find your place in this world. It is an indescribable joy. I am truly blessed.

People said when I wanted to adopt that they ‘admired’ me, that they would ‘struggle to love someone else’s child’ that it was impossible to love a child not of your flesh and bone. That is all utter twaddle. I can’t imagine loving anyone else as much as I love you. I have never felt such intense emotions for another living being before. Sometimes when I am giving you a cuddle before bedtime I look at you and it all just wells up like a surge of intense heat. The desire to protect you and keep you safe from the horrors of this world is just huge. All this is likely to be embarrassing for your future self, so I’ll stop there. But my hope is that as you grow up you will know that you were always loved, deeply and ridiculously. And that no matter what, that deep ridiculous love for you will always be there. No doubt there will be difficulties, arguments, disagreements in our journey. No doubt there will be times when you are angry with me for decisions I make. No doubt there will be times when you wish you lived with your family of birth, or that another adoptive family had been found for you. Perhaps one with a Dad and where the Mum was not <doing my job>! But however you feel, whatever you say or do, I will always love you and I will always try to make decisions based out of that love and desire you keep you safe.

I cannot stop what the world throws at you, however much I want to try. But as we start this journey together – as Mum and Son – know that I will always be here for you. I will always support you to the best of my ability. I am going to make mistakes, I will get it wrong, but I will always do my best for you…and that’s all that I really can do.

My hope for you is that you grow up to be a good person: thoughtful, generous and loving. That if you choose to be a husband and a father that you will be best you can be. That you will love others with abandonment. That you will find your passion in life and make that your career. And most of all that you find joy. Yes, the world is full of so much pain, but there is deep joy to be found too.

And most of all as you come to terms with being adopted, I hope that it never holds you back. That if it defines who you are, its only because you are proud of who you are and what you have become.

‘Precious child you have blessed me so and I love you more than you can know.

Home at last I hope you’ll see, you’ve found your forever family.

Sometimes quiet, sometimes wild, I’m glad you’re my forever child’.

Love, your Mum.xx




Contact Part 3: Compassion

Not long ago we received our first piece of ‘official’ contact from birth family. There have been others (see previous blog ‘Contact’), but this was the first that was actually appropriate.

There were several places in the communication where the truth was stretched somewhat, there were several places where the underlying tone could be taken that the person writing was trying to undermine my son’s current family relationships, nothing new there, but still somehow this one communication has allowed me to feel something that up until now I could not feel – compassion.

Whereas before I would have just felt anger, disgust even, now I read the letter and got a glimpse in the truth stretching of how the person would have liked their life to have really been with my son. In the undermining, I saw them trying to hold on to whatever link with him they could. And one line, which I won’t share here, showed me that in the three letters I had already sent, I hadn’t been writing to a brick wall, but to someone who was grieving and struggling to face up to their loss, even if they wont ever face up to their own responsibility for what happened. Someone whose own life experiences as a child and young person brought them to the irreversible place and situation they are in today.

Of course deep down I did know that already, but I was too angry about the life my child had before to be able to feel anything else except anger towards his birth family. I guess if I’m totally honest, I was also threatened by them and insecure. In my son’s Life Story Book I wrote that there was no competition between the family he is a part of now and his birth family, that there wasn’t a limit on the amount of people he could love or who could love him. Now I actually believe the words I wrote.

It struck me as I read the letter that I am the one who has everything. I have all the power. I really am the lucky one. I have a beautiful son. He calls me Mummy and he knows that’s who I am to him. We laugh, we cry, we have fun, we fall out, we make up, we play, we dance, we sing. I get to enjoy this and share this every single day. I get to hear the silly songs he sings, to hear that dirty laugh and to watch those beautiful eyes shine.

Yes, of course there are things that have happened to him in his short life that I wish hadn’t and I can’t erase those from his past and they continue to affect his daily life. We have to face and deal with those ‘things’ as he grows. There are difficult parts to his story which he will have to face up to. I have no intention of lying to him or creating a false picture of his birth family or the reasons that led him to be removed from their care.

But I can still have compassion for the people involved, I can remember that they all had back stories that led them to what happened and I can try to show it.

Recently I attended a funeral and one of the prayers stuck in my head afterwards:

‘look with compassion on your children in their loss, and give to troubled hearts the light of hope’.

I can now do that, I think. I can look on them with compassion and I can try to give them hope. Not false hope – its up to my son if he ever wants to meet them or have a relationship with them. But I can try to give them hope for his future through contact by giving them what really is the briefest glimpse into our lives. I can try to be generous by showing them with my words how amazing he is and that he is happy, loved and well cared for.

I’m sure if I had ever been allowed to meet birth family compassion may have come sooner, but the situation for us was, for safety reasons it just wasn’t possible. I’m still sad about that. But I am glad compassion is finally here.