To my daughter’s birth mother,
In a world of seven and a half billion people, it seems impossible that my words will ever find you. Still, they’ve been on my heart for years now and today I feel compelled to send them out wherever they may go. Maybe they will find someone else who needs to hear them, or maybe, the same sovereign hand that brought a precious baby to me will bring these words back to the one who bore her. So I send them out and trust that God will do with them whatever He sees fit.
You have sent out and trusted in far more unimaginable and enormous ways than I can ever comprehend.
This is why I write.
She is playing on the floor beside me, the one who has your eyes and your smile, and your laugh. I don’t know your name, and you don’t know mine, but those small pieces of you I do know—I know them so very well. They are memorized like a piece of my own heart now.
You must be so beautiful, because she is.
My husband sometimes says that there is an empty seat at our table, meaning maybe there is still another child out there for our family. He does this to be funny, in truth. But I admit to sometimes noticing that empty chair. Except it’s not a child who is missing, in my mind.
No matter how much she smiles, your empty chair in her world will always be there.
Loss is like a haunting. It’s a vital cord being cut, the ends left loose, never to be retied again this side of eternity. That cord searches for its other end nevertheless, with a gaping openness where there should be closure. Sometimes it looks like seeing a face in a crowd that isn’t there. I remember searching for my own mother’s face when she left this earth too early, and I have to wonder: Are you on the other side of the world today haunted by the absence of a little girl? Do you see an empty chair too and wonder?
Or look for her face in the crowd?
She looks for you.
She gets lost sometimes, in her mind, whenever a brightly colored sari catches her eye, or she sees an Indian baby with her Indian mommy. Her gaze will linger, haunted by a woman she never knew.
But you did know her, didn’t you? The way a pregnant woman knows the soul growing inside of her—every kick, every hiccup. There is deep knowing like no other kind in this world. Maybe the deepest parts of her remember and know too.
You and I were pregnant at the same time. And I could never have wondered at the miracle of another daughter growing elsewhere at the same moment. You knew her then, this baby that would forever link us together. You know those things that I will never know: her first flutters of movement, her first breath, first cry. Like two planets orbiting a sun, we have both felt her warmth in different seasons, and yet we have never intersected paths. We both know what it is to hold her and to love her enough to want the very best for her. For you, that love was far more costly.
There was a time when you had the power to put that radiant light out…and you didn’t. You live in a culture that devalues the life of a female child and from what little I know, your pregnancy was dangerous. It could have cost you your life. What made you push through and fight for her?
I choose to believe that it was love.
And this is the story I give to her.
Every September 14th I wake up thinking of you, and the choice you knew you would have to make that day she left the safety of your body and was ushered into a broken world where mommies don’t always get to keep their babies and where brokenness sometimes seems to win the day. You did the hardest thing that any mother could ever be faced with—entrusting your child to the unknown…to the seven and a half billion. Like Moses in the basket that drifted from his mother’s view, God’s sovereignty was the reach in those years of her life where neither of us could go.
A part of her will always belong to you, and maybe that’s how it should be in a world with loose ends.
She is a happy little girl with the biggest heart you’ve ever seen. I believe that is a reflection of you. Some things are learned, but some things just are, because of who we are on the inside and what our parents pass down to us in the fibers of our being. She has not lost that piece of you.
I am eternally grateful for the gift of life you gave to her, and the gift of her you gave to me. You are—somewhere out there—still entrusting me with her, a stranger you will never meet. I pray every day that I am a suitable woman for the task and that you might somehow be thankful that God made a way, even when the way feels broken.
If these words do somehow find you, I want you to know…
You are loved.
You are prayed for.
You are missed.
You are beautiful and brave. And she is beautiful and brave like you.
Thank you for the way you loved her with all that you had to give.
This article about a letter to my daughter’s birth mother originally appeared here.