Friday, May 17, 2013

Mother's Day is for you too: A Letter to my Unknown Foster Mother

I was delighted to discover that one of my blog posts from last year "A Letter to my Foster Mother" was nominated for the "Best of Writing About Adoption and Mother's Day" list at Open Adoption Bloggers.  Unfortunately, sometime between when I was nominated and when the award came out, I must have taken the post down as a part of re-vamping and re-freshing my blog.  It was a post that I had intended to add some things to and re-shape.  A year has gone by since I wrote it and there are some more things I would want my unknown foster other to know, if I had the chance to tell her.  So in honor of my old post being nominated for this award, I re-release the letter for you today.

Dear Unknown Foster Mother,

I have often wondered if you would remember me if we were to meet someday.  I wonder if I was just one child, or one baby, that you cared for or if there were many more.  How would I describe myself to you so that you would know which little baby was me?  Then I remember a story my adoptive parents told me.  They were told I did not have a name and they could not even meet you.  On the day they came to your home to take me home with them, a little boy, maybe your son, slipped into the room to say goodbye.  "Good bye, Sarah" he said.  I imagine peeking over my father's shoulder at him as we disappeared through the doorway of your home, returning that goodbye in my own way.

My parents were perplexed as to where this name came from--was it a nickname?  I know now that you named me Sarah.  My legal name that my first mother lovingly gave to me was not used by my agency, except where legal matters were concerned.  It's unlikely you were told what it was.  So, you called me Sarah.  It means "princess."

I did not realize the importance that you had in my life until I gave birth to my first son. In the first 5 months of his life, I took hundreds of photos of him.  I wrote down his every move, chirp, and giggle.  I nearly exploded with joy at every milestone because, like every mother, my baby was the strongest, smartest, and most beautiful child ever.

I was with you for my first five months of life.  I have no pictures or mementos from that time.  I often wonder if there are any.  Your perceptions as the historian of my life during that time are unique.  Your perspective was not one of observation to be added to a file somewhere.   Your perspective was the kind that gets down on the floor with the child and makes silly faces until the child erupts with infectious laughter in the way only little babies can.  That's something special.

When my first son was born, I found myself wanting to know more about my own birth.  How much had I weighed?  What did I look like?  How long was I?  My agency narrative was so bare and edited looking, and I had not yet realized I could unseal my adoption files.  When I combed through my adoption file just one more time, a thin yellowed piece of paper was stuck between some photocopied sheets.  Faintly jotted on this very small piece of paper were my birth statistics.  My adoptive mother said, "your foster mother must have slipped that in there before the file was given to us.  I don't think she was supposed to do that but she must have known you would want it."

Taking a stand, even in a small way, when it is the right thing to do is a part of themselves that all three of my mothers have given me.

Yes, you were, are, and forever will be a mother to me in some way.  You are part of my narrative and personal journey through life.  I celebrate you and my other mothers on Mother's Day.  This day is for you too.

Happy Mother's Day,

Amanda