To My Birthparents (If You're Out There)


Dear Strangers,

I have no idea who you are, what you look like, if you’re even alive. And yet I will always be, in some small way, connected to you. It’s a very strange thing to think about, and I think about it pretty often. I’ve been working on a paper about adoption lately, so I’ve been thinking about it even more. I don’t know if you need this or want this, and I’ve never really even considered doing anything like this before, but here it is anyway.

Thank you.

I cannot imagine the difficulty you faced. Whatever situation caused my placement for adoption, whether it was a loving relationship, just a moment in time, or a sort of trauma, I hope there has been peace in the aftermath. Carrying a child for 9 months (possibly less, since I was probably premature), giving birth, having to leave that child at the steps of a Social Welfare center. No one can possibly imagine the emotions that must have accompanied you. I hope that you did not have doubts in your decision, though I think you must have. I want you to know, in your heart, deep in your soul, that I am happy, I have a wonderful family, and amazing friends, and I have had every opportunity possible. I want you to know that my mom writes a letter to you almost every year on Mother’s Day, thanking you for your decision. I want you to know that I don’t harbor any disappointment or sadness or resentment in your decision. I know that birth mothers often have concerns about that. I understand why you might have needed to relinquish me. It doesn’t hurt my feelings.

I’ve never thought about you very much, if I’m being completely honest. I think that part of this is because I don’t appreciate the emphasis that everyone puts on reconnecting with birth parents. I am a whole person with or without genetic connections to anyone in my life. I am a content person. I don’t think that DNA is necessary in making a family. 

But, I do wonder if I have inherited anything from you. Do you have my eyes? Do I have your eyes? Do you hate tomatoes? Do you have a good memory? Are you bad at singing? Are you short? I will never have the answers to these questions. I am okay with that.

I have never had an adoptive father. My mother was single when she adopted me, so I cannot speak to what I have missed out on in a father. Personally, I don’t think I’ve missed out on anything. I’ve never been in need. And there are lots of father figures and role models in your life, whether you realize it or not. They don’t have to be with you 24/7 to impact you. My grandfather tells me war stories and buys me rocking chairs. My uncle says I could be president if I wanted to be. My golf coach tells me that he’s proud of me at every tournament. My history teacher laughs at my jokes and says he likes the way my mind works. My math teacher tells me it’s okay if I don’t do well on a test. He answers all of my stupid questions in tutoring and he answers them multiple times. Obviously, I don’t think these people are the same as a father, but I think they provide the things that others believe I am lacking. I wonder if you knew about me at all.  I wonder if you are short, are bad at singing, hate tomatoes, et cetera. I wonder if you were kind to my birth mother. I am okay with the possibility that you were not.

I hope you are okay with the fact that you will never know me. I hate tomatoes. I have a good memory. I’m terrible at singing. I am fairly short. I hope that you have lived full lives. I hope that you were able to maintain the freedom and stability you may not have had if you had raised me. I hope that you are happy. I hope you know that you made the right choice.


Your Daughter, a Stranger