“Please always remember the biological mother…” she wrote.
But birth mother, how could I forget?
When I look at my daughter I see your skin, your eyes, your uncertainty.
When I hold my son, I remember you nursing him, how you traced the lines of his face with your finger before you wordlessly said goodbye.
When I go dark, and my pain returns, I remember the swell of your belly, and the baby you carried, and we loved for five months, until the day before he appeared and you changed your mind.
You are always present.
You are what I could never be.
“It was the hardest thing in the world, and my heart still aches….” She pleads.
As does mine. Every day.
You don’t know me, but you are one of many that see me on TV and are angered at my adoption advocacy and my seemingly perfect family.
It’s not perfect. It never will be, because I am not you.
You made the brave and selfless decision to save your child while too many others choose to make their babies disappear. You went through hell between lawyers and judgment and child birth. You lost a part of yourself in those nine months and then you were abandoned by the system. But I promise I will never forget you.
Because so often I feel as forgotten as you.
I didn’t create this life that I love more than my own. He will never have my eyes, or hair or laugh. When she curls her nose, I will remember her mother before me, and I’ll be reminded that I will never see my mother in her sweet face.
I’ll watch a TV drama where a broken teenager finds his biological mother and solves all the problems in his troubled life. On the news, a reunion story of a mother and child thirty years later shows perfection in biological love and labels those like me as a cold “adoptive mother.”
My six-year-old will cry that she doesn’t look like me. I will push back my own pain when my ten-year-old asks if his birth mom misses him.
It will be me that’s forever asked by strangers, by friends, by my own family, about my child’s “real mom.”
You see sweet mother, you are never forgotten, because I will always be living the shadow of your choice. You are idealized. More beautiful than I am, smarter, kinder, funnier. You are the one that can fix everything that I can’t, if only you were here.
Our loses are different; my miscarriages, my inability to conceive, the birth mother who changed her mind. I won’t pretend to understand your pain. But I promise you, we aren’t much different. We both have unspeakable loss, and we both hurt over a child that was given a better life. And please understand, their life is better. I promise that. She is happy. He is healthy. They are adored.
But I will always hurt. Just like you.
“I hope that one day my phone will ring and someone will say ‘I think you are my mother.’” She writes.
But aren’t I his mother?
In our child’s mind you have everything, all I want is to be her mom.
“…there are two sides to every story.” She finishes.
There are no sides in adoption. We are in this together. You will never be forgotten, because without you, there is no me.
Kerstin Lindquist is a survivor of infertility and adoption. An Emmy award-winning broadcast news journalist, she is a host at QVC and author of “5 Months Apart: A Story of Infertility, Faith and Grace.”