Monday, May 11, 2015

A Letter to My Birth Mom

It is at this time of year that I think most about my birth mother. It may sound a bit calloused, but Mother’s Day is one of the only days of the year I think about her. Somewhere, a woman I have never met, whose name I do not know, is celebrating Mother’s Day, because my very existence labeled her as one. This year I took some time to write some thoughts and feelings I have about her.

Dear Mom,
Happy Mother’s Day! I’m the reason you can celebrate today. I don’t know what kind of emotions and feelings you have on this symbolic day of the year or if it evokes more or less than other days, so I will tell you mine.
Today I celebrate you, someone who is a total stranger to me, but essential to my very existence. I don’t know the specifics of the decisions that lead to my conception, but I do know some of the ones that followed. You must have been scared, Mom, and maybe even alone. But somewhere along the line you valued my life more than your own. Thank you. It didn’t have to be that way. It was “your body, your choice.” And I don’t know what I would have done if I had been in your place.
You did the best you could. You worked hard and sought out help. What humility. I’m strong-willed and determined…something I may have gotten from you. I struggle with asking for help sometimes, but you knew it was the right thing to do. And everyone knows the right things to do are some of the hardest things to do.
You picked out a family to adopt me. You took the time for someone who barely existed to have a chance at a better life. I’m sure if you had chosen to keep me that you would have continued to do your best. But you saw beyond that to me and the future I could have. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but it is the LORD who directs their steps.” God’s hand was moving both in my new life and in yours, whether you recognized it or not.
I don’t know what happened in the days before I was born. I don’t know if the weight of your decisions had finally taken its toll on you, or if life was just bearing down on you as it so often does. But I do know that in a moment of obscurity you found yourself in the midst of substance abuse. Was it at home? With friends? Did it bring comfort? Temporary freedom from everything life had dealt you? You had to have known that this choice wasn’t your finest. That it could have caused harm to both you and me. Was it worth the risk?
Whatever the circumstances were that lead you to that decision I can’t and won’t hold it against you ever, Mom. Who’s to say that I wouldn’t do the same thing if I were in your shoes? But I know God was watching over both of us. Despite the weight of the choices you made, I was born with perfect health. I learned years later while looking over my file that you were concerned about my health, yet refused to hold or interact with me. Many people would take that information in a variety of different ways. I choose to believe that you made that choice so that you would follow through with letting me go. I know that must have been hard. But there are no words to express the gratitude I have that you
made that choice.

I am so happy with the life you chose for me. I have been given a foundation that is solid. I have had the chance to excel and have been taught that my potential is only limited by my own lack of effort. You gave me this chance, Mom. So today of all days I’m asking you not to live in the past, in moments of doubt or regret. Be proud, Mom. Celebrate. Today is as much about you as it is the mother who raised me. You may not have had the chance to watch me grow, but you were the reason I got to. Thank you.
I love you. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
Your Daughter

Joya Shenefield

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