January 6th

Anthony Brent was born on January 6, 1992. Despite not hearing from Anthony’s adoptive parents since he turned 1-year-old, Sharon decided to write her son a letter in honor of his January birthday one year.

Anthony,

Choosing Your Parents

The day I sat down and looked at profiles of people wanting to adopt I didn’t shed a tear. I didn’t show that inside I was still struggling with the fact that you wouldn’t be mine. I wrote out a list of what I wanted your parents to be like: 

But inside what I really wanted was to be that parent. Basically I wrote down everything I hoped and dreamed to be one day. The reality was that I couldn’t be and wasn’t all that I wanted for you. That is why I chose adoption.

January

Every step to the nurse’s building was like stepping on glass. My body ached from my toes to the very top of my head. This was it; the journey to the beginning of my new life.

It was around midnight, and I was lying on the couch surrounded by some other women who were in the same situation as I was. We were there to give our babies chances we could not give them. All with different stories and backgrounds, our decision to place our babies for adoption bonded us like sisters.

Going into Labor

The first pain I felt that January—I didn’t really think anything of it. But then…the pain! I have never felt such pain as I did when I went into labor. Seven days later when I signed those papers relinquishing my rights as your mother, I felt the worst pain I’d ever felt in my life. And I’ve yet to feel anything worse.

Relinquishing My Parental Rights

I signed those papers with full knowledge of what I was doing. There was no pressure or trickery when I reviewed my options. And honestly, I was given all kinds of workable options. I still decided adoption was the best. Not only for me, but also for you. Believe it or not, mostly for you. I was counseled for months before that day to try to help me mentally and emotionally prepared.

After You Were Born

I was given a teddy bear the day you were born. I guess they thought this would comfort me in some way. Or maybe somehow replace what I was losing. But a stuffed bear doesn’t compare to holding you in my arms, stroking your cheek, and kissing you on the forehead. I couldn’t feel your heartbeat when I held it close to me or feel the warm breath come from your lips.

But for years I slept with that bear. It went everywhere I did. It wasn’t a replacement, but it was a piece of that day, January 6, 1992—the day you were born.

Sadly, some years later, as I moved from one state to another I somehow lost it. I think I cried as hard as the day I let you go. By losing that bear I literally lost a piece of me again. For so long I had clung to that stuffed animal. It kept me linked to you and, as sad as it may seem, it was all I had. After one year I never heard another thing about you. I stopped getting pictures and updates about you.

This was in the agreement, but I was hoping your parents would be understanding and somehow know I needed something different. I wanted to know you knew I loved you. And I not only wanted but needed to know how you were. I wanted to know who you were and what you looked like.

My Regrets

In the past year, my life has seemed to take a sudden turn. I have met several people from all sides of the adoption triad. Since meeting them, I have reflected on my decision again. I don’t regret my initial decision to choose adoption, but I regret the years of not seeing your face. The fact that your adoptive parents haven’t sent something in years, and that you can’t see me or know more about me, breaks my heart. I guess you could say I am angry, to be honest. Not at you, your parents, or myself…but at the regrets I have.

Maybe I should have kept a journal about my life for you. I should have saved all the pictures I could, just for you. Because I didn’t get anything about you, I guess I just thought that maybe you wouldn’t want anything from me.

For your birthday this year, though, I am starting a journal. I will start to save as many pictures as I can for you. Perhaps if I reflect on the past ten years of my life I can compile enough details to fill in the gaps. I want to give you my life as I gave you yours—full of love, compassion, and yes, even some pain.

My heart and love are with you every day, Anthony Brent. Not just in January.

Happy Birthday, son.

Forever Your Birth Mother,
Sharon