Dearest Gayle,

I have put together this album for you, as many pictures of Sam’s childhood that I could find, and lots of photos from the eight years he and I have shared together.

I struggle to find the words to adequately describe how strongly I feel that we were all meant to be part of the same tapestry of life. As you read this letter, I believe you will feel the same way.

First, let me tell you about Sam. He is the most gentle, kind, wonderful person I know. I have never met a man more capable of compassion. He hasn’t got a single enemy– everyone is a dear friend to him from the moment they meet him.

Sam has been my best friend since we met in high school. He was always only my friend during those school years– he would take me to dances when I didn’t get asked, or invite me along to the many banquets and activities he was involved in.

After I graduated, I became pregnant and decided that adoption was the best option for me. I was completely alone and had to move back home. It was the saddest and loneliest I have ever been. One afternoon, while sitting at a traffic light, I heard a car honk and looked up to find Sam across the intersection in his enormous white truck, smiling and waving. He wasn’t aware of my situation, and I knew he would never treat me unkindly, so I decided to visit him at the ice cream shop he worked at. That small decision changed my life forever.

Sam became one of the two friends I let into my life during the pregnancy. He would visit me every day after school and invite me to come have ice cream at work (I subsequently gained an obscene amount of “baby” weight from the free ice cream). Sam took me to the movies and to dinner all the time. If he was ever embarrassed to be seen with a pregnant teenager, he never let on to it.

He and I discussed you a great deal that summer. I would always find comfort in his answers to my questions regarding his feelings toward you. He didn’t feel any anger or resentment; in fact, I was often surprised by how little he seemed to think about the fact that he himself had been placed for adoption. I found peace in knowing that an adopted child could be so happy and so balanced. I hoped and prayed that my child would be like Sam.

That summer, my family fell in love with Sam. There was still nothing romantic between us, but on the day I delivered, Sam was there. I was allowed one hour with my son before I was to give him to his parents. Sam was there for my hour, and he got a chance to hold the baby. He sat there with that baby in his arms and sobbed. He wept for a child that was not his own. He cried tears reserved for only the deepest of pains.

Later he shared with my mother the profound impact being there to hold my son had on him. He was able to see the great deal of love and loss involved in surrendering a child to another mother. He saw first-hand the amount of love both parties (birthmother and adoptive mother) had for this little person. He always had a lot of respect for you, but this experience made his gratitude for you immeasurable.

We began dating a month after the birth and married the following summer. I love him with all of my heart. There is not one thing I would change about him.

I have placed in this album pictures of some of the most monumental events in our lives. At every one of these events, you were present in our thoughts and in our hearts. No matter what happens in the future, you will always be held in the highest esteem by Sam, his parents, our children, and myself.

I want to hear your laugh. Sam’s laugh is contagious and hilarious, and when he passed it on to our children, I couldn’t have been happier. I don’t know why exactly, but I feel that this trait came from you.

Regardless of whether that wonderful laugh is yours or not, I want you to know that I love you. I love you for bringing my husband into the world. I love you for placing him in a home with loving parents who raised him to be the best that he could be. I love you for the love my life is now full of, all because of Sam.