ORTY-THREE years ago today, Dona had to make a decision, one I cannot even fathom beginning to think of let alone do – give birth to a baby, never even touch or hold her, and give her up for adoption. She loved children. She and her husband already had five children. This time though, she was alone. Silently she gave up this little girl, and went home with empty arms and a broken heart. She told her children at home the baby died, and she was not spoken of for many years. She felt she was paying the ultimate price of a “brief affair”, though she knew without a doubt in her heart that this baby was her husband’s also. Her marriage survived, and they had two more children together.
Every year September 9th was a difficult day for her. As the children grew older, they saw that their mom really struggled the beginning of September through the first couple of weeks. They did not understand. She began having health problems, and finally a doctor told her, he felt it was stress maybe a “secret” she was withholding. Her children were older. They’d understand now. She told them about a sister they had somewhere “out there”. But being it was a closed adoption, she could not look for this daughter. After this girl turned 18 her hopes were higher that she’d get a call . . . a letter, something, to know she was okay.
She finally got the call from social services through the county that the adoption took place in. Her daughter was now 24 years old, married and had a first child. The social worker asked her if she would release her name to the birthchild. She did not hesitate and gladly gave the needed info to the social worker. The social worker also had a letter from the birthchild to pass on to the birthmother and would forward it to her.
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In this letter, I was able to thank my birthmother for giving me LIFE. About the time I was conceived began the big debate of Roe vs Wade. It could have been easier for their marriage at that time to abort. I think she was hopeful to the day she gave me up, that her husband would believe I was his child. He did later . . . 24 years later when we met, and had no doubt I was his daughter.
Ever since I was about 5 years old, on September 9th, I wondered if this woman who gave me up for adoption ever thought of me. I shared some of this story a few weeks ago. Just as I think more of my stillborn daughter and deceased son on their birthdays and have that ache in my heart, missing them so, I imagine the same for my birthmother. We have lost touch over the last 10 years. I imagine they remember today. I also think of my birthparents Donna and George today, and am thankful for the life they gave me, and for the opportunity I had to share my gratitude with them. They gave life and yet gave it up – a very enormous, unselfish sacrifice.