An Open Letter to My Son’s Birthmother

To the woman who delivered the boy that I love:

I know very little about you. I know how old you were when you gave birth, and I know a smattering of details related to your pregnancy. That’s it. Strange that I should know so little when you and I share so much.

When I traveled overseas to meet our boy, I wanted nothing more in the universe than to be his mother. In those first moments when I held him—more precisely, he sat on my lap as he was already 4 years old—I thought of you. (Strange, perhaps, since the room was raining Duplo blocks and the noise level was considerably higher than a fleet of turbojets.) As someone who was adopted, I should have had a better understanding of what it means to share a life, but I did not, at least not from the perspective of a mom.

I was unprepared for the instant love I had, both for him and for you.

I am sometimes asked what I feel towards you—Sympathy? Curiosity? 

Yes. But mainly no. What I feel most strongly for you in my heart is gratitude. I am grateful you gave me the chance to be his mother, of course.

But it’s more than that. I am thankful you protected his life. At a time when the unborn have fewer rights than any other protected creature, I do not take for granted that you gave our son a birthday. I am told that abortion is still illegal in the country of our son’s birth, but that—should a woman find herself in a difficult place—there are other options. I’ve read about some of these options and they are horrific.

You chose life. You did the hard thing one hundred times over and I applaud you.




I imagine you like to smile because our son loves to smile. And laugh? He does it all the time (especially when he should be napping). I suspect you are good with numbers because he is, and I am not. And his love of music? Maybe that is something you and I gave him together. I like the thought that you and I may have worked as a team.

There are so many things I’d like to tell you, but since I cannot, I will tell our son as he grows. No matter where you are today or what you are doing with your life, know this much. Every time I look at our boy, I am reminded by his chocolate eyes and silky hair that there is a woman on the other side of the world whose love for him inspired mine.

And so for that—and for you—I am eternally grateful.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you … making my prayer with joy.
—Philippians 1:3-4