To The Mother of My Adopted Daughter

An adoptive father expresses his gratitude to his daughter's birth mother.

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I was placed for adoption in 1967. My adoptive father wrote this letter to my birth mother while I was a baby, but was never able to find her to give it to her. Twenty-two years later, I met my birth mother and gave her this cherished letter.

TO THE MOTHER OF MY ADOPTED DAUGHTER,

I’m writing to thank you for your daughter who recently became ours, not primarily because you allowed her to be adopted, but because you allowed her to be born. I know you didn’t have to; there are ways of not having a baby when you don’t want one. It might have spared you anguish, grief, despair. I don’t know, but I do know it would have destroyed a beautiful little girl, as lovely a creature as God ever had a hand in making.

It all started when we decided we needed a girl. You see, we have two children of our own, both boys, and we all wanted a baby sister. Several months later when we were told to come for her, we were told, “You don’t have to take her, you know, but if you want her, you boys tap on the window.” Then they drew the curtain, and there she lay, dark-haired, dark-eyed, and unbelievably tiny. And the boys, without taking their eyes from her, began tapping.

The first time we took her to church she was immediately elected queen of the nursery, and it was about the same thing around the neighborhood. Everybody loved her and she loved everybody, sort of one big love affair. It wasn’t long before she learned to recognize my voice and reach for me, wanting and needing, trusting and accepting. And so many times I held her close, loving her more than I can tell you. Her favorite spot is our low long front window. She likes to lean on the low sill and look out while our boys and the children from the neighborhood kneel outside and press their noses against the screen, and they laugh and she laughs with them.

The other day she discovered the pots and pans. Now she knows what a glorious sound they make when you bang and clang them together and throw them on the floor. Tonight while we were eating she crawled to my chair, and pulled herself up, and looked up into my face, and I looked down into hers, and just for a moment she was too wonderful to be real. Then I picked her up and kissed her again and again. Then, because it was her bedtime, I changed her and put her to bed. She’s asleep now, nestled in her crib, hugging her fluffy yellow blanket. I see her in the light from the hall, with the dark ringlets about her head and the darkly arched eyebrows and the innocent face serene, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

If I had never believed in God before, I would now. But for your decision, she might never have been. By your decision you assured her not only of love and care, but of being and becoming. You could have snuffed her out before anyone could know the lovely sight of her, see her smile, feel her softness, hear her laughter, and love her ever after. But you didn’t, and whoever you are and wherever you are tonight, we love you for it.

God bless you.

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