The Deepest Kind of Gratitude: A Letter to Our Child’s Birth Mother

November: the beautiful month full of life’s little pleasures. You can watch squirrels so diligently gather and hide acorns for the winter, see wild turkeys majestically strut across the empty fields, and see children’s sweet breath as they run around outside on chilly mornings. Everyone is a little kinder and gentler to each other as Thanksgiving approaches, and it is the one time of year that everyone examines their blessings and realizes how much they have to be thankful for.

November is all of those things to me and much, much more. This month is important to our family in so many other ways because November is also National Adoption Month. It’s no secret that our daughter is adopted. In fact, I’ve written about our entire journey to parenthood on this blog a few different times (A Forever Fairytale: Our Adoption Story). It is also no secret how thankful we are for our daughter’s birth mother and her family. They are an essential part of our family story, in fact possibly the most important part (A Gift of Love: Why I Gave My Daughter Up For Adoption).

Gratitude: A Letter to our Child's Birth Mother

There is not one day that goes by that I do not look at our daughter and tell myself how lucky we are to call her our own. Her birth mother absolutely knows how we feel about her and the courageous act she did when she chose adoption for her baby almost five years ago, because we tell her every time we see her. Even though I could tell her 100 times a day how thankful we are that she chose us as the adoptive family, I still feel like it is just not quite enough.

I mean, how do you say thank you to someone who literally has given up a piece of themselves to you and has entrusted you with a little human being? A little being that they felt inside of them, heard the heartbeat of, and gave birth to. It baffles me so much, that in this month of November, National Adoption Month, I feel compelled to publicly say thank you to our birth mother for all of the little thankless things she did and has done to help create who our daughter is today.

An Open Letter to Our Child’s Birth Mother

Dear A,

I know you probably think it seems a little over the top for me to once again feel the need to thank you, but when I think about everything you did for our daughter before she was even born, I can not help it. I have never known how to put it all into words and so I am not going to even attempt to do that, because no words will ever express the way we feel about you and your family. Instead, here is my best attempt at thanking you and your family.

Thank you for:

Giving us a chance.

Thank you for looking at our profile book that the case workers put into your hands. I am sure you probably had a lot of couples to choose from and a lot of books to go through, but I am glad that all of the hours of hard work putting our book together spoke to you enough for you to ask to meet with us that very first time. We all clicked from the moment we met and that made it so much easier for us.

Thinking of the future and the big picture for your life.

When you did that, you were able to figure out that adoption was the right choice for you. You changed the course of so many lives, including your own, in that moment.

Enduring strange looks and judging eyes from people when you went out in public.

I am sure that you had a few people see you as just a pregnant teenager, while in fact you were (and still are) a very mature and strong young women. Little did they know that they were staring at and judging one of the bravest people they would probably ever meet.

Sitting out of certain school activities during your pregnancy.

I know how much sports and dance mean to you and I know that it must have been extremely hard to see all of the fun your friends were having during those times and not be able to be a part of it. I know that you missed out on your junior prom, which breaks my heart, so thank you for making so many social sacrifices as well.

Going to all of your prenatal appointments.

I am so glad that you had the support of your family and parents that would take off work to go with you to your doctor appointments. It could not have been easy for them to watch their first born go through a pregnancy at such a young age. You are part of an amazing family, so amazing that you all invited us to one of your ultrasound appointments. Being able to see K and hear her heartbeat was something I thought we would never get to do and your family made that happen. You took care of K and made sure she was the healthiest, happiest little baby before she was even born.

Allowing us to be at the hospital before, during, and after K’s birth.

Not everyone gets to be there for the labor and delivery of their adopted child, so that meant everything to us. Being able to joke around with you and your family before the birth, hearing K’s first cries through the hospital room door, and being able to see and hold her just minutes after she was born, was such a selfless thing to do. You did not have to let us and all of our own family come see K in the NICU, but you did.  You let all of us hold, cuddle, and love on K for as long as we needed and wanted to.

Including us in your life.

You’ve invited us to your graduation, softball games, and other family events over the past few years. For four years now, your family has allowed us to be a part of some very important events and milestones. That has made our connection to you so much deeper and meaningful. I am so grateful that K has been able to see and experience all of that with you as well. She may not know it now, but someday she will look back and realize how special all of those times were.

Always showering K with love and affection every time we see each other.

She has seen and felt nothing but love from you and your family. It has helped her create a relationship with all of you that will continue on as she gets older. There has not been one holiday or birthday that someone in your family has not sent K something special in the mail, which is so very sweet.

Continuing to be such a great role model.

I love the fact that you continued to work hard in high school and college after the adoption was all said and done. You are chasing your dreams and making it happen, all through hard work and determination. We want that for our K as she grows as well, so it makes my heart happy that she has such an amazing role model in her life.

Just being you.

When K smiles, we definitely see a part of you in her face. You passed on your beauty, laughter, and fun personality to her. She can be a stubborn little girl, but also has a completely soft, loving side. She gives the best hugs and kisses, which she loves to share with anyone that will take them. Her crazy dance moves and that spunk about her always makes people laugh. We would not have ever been able to experience all of that, if it were not for you.

Gratitude: A Letter to our Child's Birth Mother

There are so many other things I could write here that we appreciate about you, but there truly is not enough space in this post for that. We are forever grateful to you and proud to call you a part of our family. This November, National Adoption Month, hold your head high because you have made such a difference in so many lives and should be extremely proud of your decision almost five years ago. We love you very much from the bottom of our hearts.

Love always,

M, E, and K


Melissa was born and raised right here in Iowa. Although she grew up in southwest Iowa (about as close to Missouri and Nebraska as you can get!), she has called eastern Iowa home for 15 years. She and her husband Eric live in North Liberty, along with their 4 year-old daughter Kennedy. Melissa attended the University of Northern Iowa where she earned her BA in Early Childhood Special Education and her MAE in K-6 Learning Disabilities. She currently teaches kindergarten for the Clear Creek Amana School District, where she has taught for 14 years. In her spare time, Melissa loves to be outside playing or working on projects in their yard, spending time with family and friends, and baking up goodies for her family. She also enjoys taking walks with their two dogs, plump beagle Lenny and shy dachshund-beagle mix Cooper. Life as a full-time working mommy keeps her very busy, but Melissa wouldn't have it any other way!


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