An Open Letter to my Birth Mom


Dear Birth Mom,

It’s National Adoption Month, so I thought I would take a moment and talk to you. To think about you. In a world that is full of orphanages, group homes, and foster care, you, Birth Mom, might get lost in the shuffle. You are easily forgotten. But not today. Today, you are on my mind.

One of our first pictures after my adoption.

If I am honest with myself, I think about you often. I think of you every time I go to the doctor and I have to write “N/A” in the family history blanks. I think of you every time someone asks me where I was born. I think of you every time someone meets my parents for the first time, makes the connection, and then has a strange look on their face. The one that says, “I never would have put you guys together because you don’t look a thing alike.” I think about you on my birthday and wonder if you are thinking of me. And all those TV shows where they reunite families! Kill me. Make it stop! My heart waffles between jealousy and horror as I connect with their stories.

You came to mind on the days each of my own kids were born. As I LABORED and fought and cried and prayed it would all be over. And as those babies were laid in my lap, even as disconnected as I might have felt, I cannot imagine having to hand that little thing over to someone else. In my wildest imagination, I can’t conjure up those feelings.

As a family of four, after my sister came home.

And then there is this personality I have. Oh, some of it comes from Frank and Judy, my parents. For sure. But the other parts… are they from you? The disorganization, extreme extrovertedness, the uncanny ability to speak my mind at inappropriate times. I’m loud. I’m dramatic. I’m a procrastinator. Are you? How do you handle stress, pressure, and conflict? Do you love to travel and learn about other cultures? What about faith? Do you know Jesus? Where do you turn when life is hard and doesn’t make sense? Who do you thank when life is good and peaceful? I just wonder about all of it…

Then there’s this: Do I look like you? The skin color, the eyes, this crazy hair? What do your hands look like, or the shape of your nose? When I had kids, I was excited about the prospect of looking like someone. Anyone. Nope. They look like their dad. Of course. (It’s a good thing he’s cute.)

Many times through the years, I have been asked if I ever think about meeting you. The short answer is “yes.” The reality of that response isn’t so simple. I hate research. (All my college professors just shouted “AMEN” on that one.) Finding you seems soooo tedious, and with my lack of information, I just wouldn’t even know where to start. What if you are dead, or a drug addict, or have no desire to meet me. Could I even handle that? And what if you have your own family, that has no idea I exist? I have no intention of causing conflict or heartache in your present family. Above all, I have NEVER wanted my family to feel like they were not enough, or that they could be replaced.

Because the truth of it all is this: I am so incredibly grateful for the life you gave me. Really.

This amazing family brought together by adoption.

I was blessed with two amazing parents who raised me in security and love, who have been married for 51 years and have modeled that beautifully. They gave me a sister who needed a family too, opportunities to grow and spread my wings, and allowed God to shape me into something purposeful. I have traveled the world and have had experiences that make me pinch myself. They sent me to college and I met a boy, who would change my life in more ways than I knew possible. He introduced me to a world I didn’t know existed, and together we are raising these three crazy, incredible kids. I guess they would be your grandkids? (That thought just blew my mind.) Through all of life, an unbelievably supportive and loving community of people have walked each step of this journey alongside me.

Thank you, Birth Mother, for the sacrifice you made, whatever your motives. I don’t know if this was the “easy way out” or the hardest decision you have ever made. I don’t know if you decisively made up your mind, or the thoughts of my future kept you up at night. I don’t know if you did drugs, or drank a lot, or suffered at the hands of an abuser. But now, as a mama, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you sacrificed for me. You had other options, but you chose this one. You altered generations and I hope you understand the gravity of that. This decision was not just about you or me, but about my kids, and their kids, and on and on. I want to know your heart is settled because you made the right choice. You gave me life. My life. And it has been amazing.

Sincerely… With best regards… Yours truly… Love,


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Jill grew up in the Washington, DC area and migrated south for college. She has a degree in Religious Education from Gardner-Webb University and also got her MRS. degree there. She married a fine southern gentleman, Heath, in 2001 and they have three kids: Will, Micah, and Lydia. Traveler. Homemaker(ish). TV watcher. Crafter. Natural birth advocate. Spanish speaking wannabe. Minivan driver. Organic shopper. Beach lover. Mosquito hater. Jill's resume is littered with randomness. She has recently hung up her hat in the preschool world to write and speak and be able to greet her kids with fresh gluten free cookies and almond milk, as they joyfully skip through the door after school. (Mom of the Year!) Check out her Interrupted Life at


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