Letter to My Family

Originally Written: June 1, 2011 at 7:20am

In honor of Krista’s eleventh birthday, I am sharing the letter I wrote to my family on 3/27/05.  It is my hope that this letter might help others make tough decisions about their own lives and have the strength to tell their families what they need.  I am lucky. I have an incredible family and we all adopted Krista!  It is so interesting to think that I did not meet Krista until February 3rd of 2006.  Her parents, after meeting me and many visits, realized it was in Krista’s best interests for them to surrender their rights and legally free her for adoption.  Had they not done that of their own free will there is a possibility we would still have DSS involved in our lives and family.  On December 22, 2006 we became a LEGAL forever family.  I honor her parents today as I  know without them and their hard choices I would not have a daughter I love with all my heart….even when she acts like an eleven year old!

Dear Family,

This letter will be photocopied and sent to three households, however, don’t be offended.  This is not some kind of Christmas newsletter.  This is a  letter about my choices and life and the support I need from all of you as I go forward with my exciting new endeavor.

You all know that I have decided I would like to start a family now.  I know this lead to some questions.  Such as, have I given up on marriage?  Absolutely not. I do hope to meet a man at some point in my life who will join my family smoothly (well, as smoothly as possible) and we will support each other and move forward happily together, encouraging each other to be our best selves.  He is taking a very long time finding me and I know that I can begin my family and still he will find us and love my child as much as he loves me.  It happens all the time.  Your next question may be if I realize how much I am giving up?  Probably not.  I am not sure any parents are fully aware of the changes life is about to take before they bring their child home.  However, I am ready for a child.  I am ready to be a mom.  I know there is a child waiting for me right now who needs me.  Whatever I am giving up for that, I know it will be worth it in the long run.

The thing we all have to be aware of as I move forward is the idea that I may bring a child into our lives who cannot be with us forever. I know this causes all of us to be a bit fearful about what to expect.  I have asked for a child who is between 3 and 5 years old.  At that age, children are usually not freed for adoption.  The age of those freed is usually 10 and above.  I am not comfortable starting at that age level.  So, let me tell you how I made the decision to move forward even with this wrench in the adoption process.  First, there is Nan Phillips who reminds me that all relationships are temporary and we never know how or when they will end. We just try to do the good we can do while we are in the relationship.  In the case of my daughter, even if she is with me just a few years, I can teach her that she can have a stable, structured life full of love.  She will remember that.  It will change her life if only in a small way.  Also, if everybody who thought of adopting backed out because of a hurt that may or may not happen, we would have even more homeless children in the world.  I cannot back down because it may not happen exactly the way I want it to happen.  So, with that being said let’s think about the worst possible scenario.  I have to give my daughter back to parents that I will probably never think are good enough for her.  That is my own prejudice because of course I will never be very tolerant of parents who could not take care of their children to begin with.  However, all of my social worker friends remind me that people make mistakes and that her parents may have done the best they could. I am about to intertwine myself with people I have never, and may never meet.  They are my daughter’s first set of parents and I had better learn to think they did the best they could because they are giving me an incredible gift…my first daughter….their child.  You understand (I hope) that I have to find something in my heart that helps me empathize with them.  They will always be my daughter’s other parents and no matter what, I will have to respect that.  But, at some point, it may be time for her to leave us and go back to them.  At that time, I will be heart broken.  I cannot tell you I won’t be.  It is not something any of us need to argue about.  What you need to understand is that this decision is not just about me.  In fact, there is very little about it that has to do with me.  It is about her. It is her life that will be turned upside down and I am going to be strong for her.  I am going to have to do what I believe is best for her.  I will do what it takes to make sure she is safe and happy and healthy…just as you would for your children.  If the courts and social workers say that it is best for her to go back with her parents. then I will have to do that.  What you need to know is that it will hurt me, but it will not kill me.  There is a reason God is pushing me to do this.  This decision has not come lightly, but it has never come with any doubts.  The day I spoke with the social worker regarding the fact that my daughter would not be legally freed right away I was very sad.  And yet, I knew I was still going to do this. I woke up the next morning with the following saying running through my head.  When you read it, you will understand where I am coming from…

Listening to God

We do not mind coming to Mass to sing hymns, to organize celebrations, putting on our Sunday best, giving offerings.  But to sit down and listen to God in the quiet of evening in our room or on a mountaintop as Jesus did, that is too dangerous, too hazardous, just think what God might ask us to do.

Then that same day I came across a part from a book that I had loved so much I wrote it in my journal.  I cannot help but think reading these on that day were signs that I am on exactly the right road. This is from the book Remember When:

There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may even seem crazy to others.  When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else.  Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it. “The fact is that we cannot ignore the odds or the complications.  We have to have our eyes wide open as my daughter joins our family.  I hope none of us will let fear of losing her stop us from loving her absolutely and completely.  For the time that she is with us, I want her to experience safe love as much as she can.  I am going into this adoption with a positive attitude and my eyes wide open.  I know you will support me because you always have.  That is what family does.  I cannot wait for my daughter to experience that.

I know that life is soon going to change in an amazing way.  As I clean my apartment from top to bottom I can’t help but feel like a pregnant woman waiting for her due date.  Come to think of it, I am even eating like a pregnant woman!  Anyway, I wanted to share everything with you so that you may be aware of what may and may not happen, so that you can have your eyes wide open too, but also hopefully fully give of your heart.   I am sure this little girl will touch us in an amazing way and I want you all to feel a part of it because you are, you are her family.  By the way, I believe that means already, even though we do not know her yet.  There is a little girl out there with our name on her heart!  I hope you are as excited as I am to meet her!

I love you!