It will be nine years ago this August when I placed my only child for adoption, the hardest and smartest thing I ever did.

Our semi-open adoption keeps me updated on the details of her life; pictures, letters, videos, cards, gifts, and emails are exchanged a few times a year between her birth family and I, and I write her meaningful letters on her birthday. I so look forward to the two visits per year that we have arranged.

I didn’t believe that time would heal my heart, despite the many times I’d been reassured by other birth moms that it would. I’d been told that someday I’d be able to think on my little girl without tears and without pain, just with a calm assurance that she was happy, that I had done the right thing. I always nodded and pretended to agree, but deep down I doubted I could ever achieve that.

Now when I hear a little girl giggle or see a newborn infant all wrapped up in blankets, my heart doesn’t feel like it’s ripping in half. Instead, there is a dull aching which is almost always over-powered by a feeling of reassurance: I chose to be a birth mom because I love my little girl.