An adoptee writes to the birth-mother he never met

I was so touched by this letter from Kevin to his birth-mother, who he never got to meet, that I had to share it. I am sure there are many adoptees who have not reunited with one or both of their birth-parents and can relate to the emotions he expresses…

30 Seconds

November 16, 2010

A year has passed since I found out my birth mother died in 2003.  I never got to meet her and talk to her and over this last year I have had mixed feelings about that.

Part of me was relieved that I didn’t have to bathe in the tub of emotions that that meeting would’ve stirred up, and part of me is saddened that I didn’t get to hear from her what she was thinking and feeling all these years.

Recently, I was watching the Dr. Phil show and there was a woman on the show who lost her parents at an early age and she was dealing with so much years and years later.  Dr. Phil suggested she write a letter to that parent and share her feelings both good and bad as a way to deal with the emotional powder keg that was contained behind her rib cage.

I sat there and wondered it that would help me.  I wondered if writing a letter to my biological mother would help sort out some things for me.  Below is that letter.


Dear Helen,

I call you Helen because calling you mom just doesn’t feel right.

On October 24, 2009, I found out from an adoption angel via a text message that you had died in 2003.  Sitting on the cold metal bleachers at our local high school watching a football game I found out you died in May of 2003.

I searched my heart to find the right emotion to feel and couldn’t find it.  To that point, you were a stranger to me and I wasn’t sure how I should mourn the death of a stranger.  I really didn’t feel sad.  I was more disappointed than anything.

Over the last year, I have had some time to sort things out,  but the right emotion still doesn’t register.  When I think of my wife or my boys, I immediately get powerful emotions that fill my heart.  When I think of you, it just goes blank.

Part of the reason I think I was so hesitant for many years to look for you was because I feared being rejected by you…again.  I think even in death I still feel that.  I feel rejected because you never spoke about me to ANYONE.  When I ask your daughter/my biological sister, or your best friend what you said about me, they both say the same thing.  You never talked about me.

It is my understanding, your death was not a sudden death.  I can’t help but wonder why in those last months, weeks, and days, you didn’t speak of me.  How come you didn’t leave a message for me or tuck away in a private place something that you wanted me and only me to have.  How come you didn’t take 30 seconds to tell someone that I mattered?

There are days when I think the separation from me was just too painful to talk about and I try to spin it in a positive light.  Then there are days when I think, that you just didn’t care.  As a father, I can’t understand that.  I can’t conceptualize how that is possible; how you can have a child roaming the earth somewhere and not care or think about them.  I have no evidence that you did and more evidence that you didn’t.

In this past year, I have struggled with telling myself over and over that I matter; that I am important; that I am worthy.  I artificially construct and build up my self esteem that could have been raised to an all-time high if you would’ve taken 30 seconds to whisper to someone your regret.  Instead, I am left to do as have always done from as far back as I can remember; fantasize.

My imagination fills in the holes created by you that you were meant to fill.  My creative mind tells me you suffered in silence and thought about me on my birthday, and on Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, The 4th of July, and again on my birthday in August.  Reality tells me I have nothing to support this fantasy.

Like a child on Christmas looking for that one special gift that isn’t there, I still wait and hope in some chest, some book, in your personal belongings somewhere, someone will find a letter written to me that kills reality and awakens fantasy.

These are the feelings, that surround me today and guilt drips from my fingers as I type these words.  As an adoptee, I have learned really well to protect others around me often at the expense of my own feelings and thoughts.  So I wrestle with guilt and push it into the nearest closet so I can express what I need to to protect me.  I needed only 30 seconds and I have a right to those 30 seconds.


Kevin’s blog can be found at:

    • Karen Heruska
    • May 12th, 2014

    My son is 18 and found out his birth mother died a few years ago. I contacted biological family and they have all ignored my letters and contact. I was friends with his grandmother who we have a picture of her holding him at one day old. Due to circumstances with our sons birth mom the grandmother (my friend) felt it necessary to leave the state with her daughter to protect our son from her drug use etc. However, due to unforeseen circumstances we were told by our attorney to not have any contact with family until our son was older. I spent several years looking for his birth mom n grandmother but to only find empty searches. By the time I was finally able to locate her I found the birth mom had died and that the grandmother was and had been living with someone else ( a relative) and this is why I was never able to locate her. I wrote to several family members on fb as I found their names listed in another relatives obituary. And I mailed the grandmother a letter but no one has responded. The half brother responded but is mentally unstable and has MANY issues. (Faking his own death etc). His half sister seemed to have her head on her shoulders and was also adopted out, but after a year of contact deleted us all off of face book n no longer responds to text messages. The brother did live with the mother and the half sister was able to speak to her right before she died via telephone calls. Neither of them knew about our son. So no one knew about him or at least has acknowledged it making him feel horrible. Our son has had medical issues all his life and this has crushed him mentally and emotionally. He knows how much we love him and how much his brothers n sisters love him as he is the center of our family literally the bridge that led to 8 more adoptions. As his mother, it is breaking my heart to see him hurt so much. Yesterday was mothers day and he has cried for two days with the question, “Why?” We will never know the answers to the “Why did she have to die and he never having the opportunity to meet her”, but as parents what can we do to help him or what can he do to lessen the pain he is going through? Do you have any answers or direction to send us in? It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for writing your letter as it showed me even yet another way an adopted child would feel. Gave me another outlook. Thank you. I can be reached at

    • Dear Karen

      I found your son’s story very moving. I was fortunate enough to meet my birth mother and still have contact with her, but I have yet to search for or meet my birth father. While I feel your son’s pain, in that I know what it feels like not to have all the answers you need, I am blessed in that at least half my life puzzle is complete. I know of other adoptees who were denied a reunion with their birth mother (for various reasons) and it is extremely painful for them, having to live without knowing your true life story.

      Unfortunately, I no longer have Kevin’s email address, but you can contact him via his blog. I am sure he will be able to provide the support you need.

      God bless

        • Karen
        • May 13th, 2014

        Thank you so much! Blessings.

    • Michelle
    • January 9th, 2012

    I can understand Kevin’s letter. My story is mixed. Myself is an adoptee and then on the other hand I’m also a birth mother of three. My children was taken from me and I did everything I could to keep them. I have been reunited with all three children and out of the three only one rejects me….. It is very painful being rejected. I have never found my birth mother and it has made things very difficult to find who I am. I do know that when I get to meet my birth mother I will not reject her even though she may reject me. For the reason I know what it feels like and I wouldn’t want to give her that pain….. I have a great relationship with my son and a working on a better relationship with my oldest daughter. I decided to give my youngest her space and she can contact me when she is ready. I only wish she will give me the time or the chance to explain everything to her. As an adoptee we attend to jump to conclusions and blame our birth parent for being adopted. In some cases they may be in a bad area of life and made the hardest decsion that they could have made. They wanted better for us and signed their rights away. At least that is what I tell myself about my birth mother. I can honestly say as a birth mother I never signed my rights away the courts took them because of my first husband……. But I don’t want to go there…… I’m sure the birthmother does think of her child that she gave birth to its something you can never forget. Espically on their birthdate and holidays. I wish you the best that one day you will get your answers.


    • clare o’brien
    • January 19th, 2011

    dear kevin, i am a birth mother who at the age of 17 was told by my parents that should i decide to keep my baby i was not welcome back into their home. i gave my beautiful baby boy up for adoption hoping i would be giving him the home that i so obviously could not. my parents refused to talk about him and i was never allowed to share any of my grieve with them. as i grew older i did talk about him to friends and later to my husband and children. however you will be surprised at the reaction you get from a lot of people when you mention a child you gave up for adoption. my son was born on the 25/05/1982 and ever year around that time my nerves became overwrought i was angry at stupid things, would shut myself off from people because too many years had gone by when i would make the comment “its my sons birthday today”, only to be told “i dont know how you could ever give a child away” as if i was a bad person. i loved him so much the last time i saw him as i was leaving the hospital i physically felt as though i was beeing ripped apart. the drive home in the car with my mother was fraught with tension, we never said two words to each other, and that im afraid continues to this day regarding my son. so kevin, your mother may never have put anything in writing, she may never have mentioned your name but believe me your name was inscribed on her heart and her love for you was always there. dont blame your mother understand that people can be very cruel and say hurtful thing, some unmentionable. i hope some day you find a answer to your questions when you WILL be reunited with your biological mother and feel her love eternal.


    • Guy Randolph Beckett
    • January 8th, 2011

    I have been searching for my son who was adopted against my wishes in January 1977 in Pretoria. All too often I read of heart-rending experiences of rejection, and I can identify with these people. My entire life has been one of rejection, first by my parents and now by my children whom it would seem want to have absolutely nothing to do with me. For the sake of brevity my “story” can be read on the Adoption Reconnect website at http://www.adoptionreconnect. Having read Kevin’s heartfelt expressions of rejection I am perhaps beginning to better understand what my son has experienced and is continuing to experience, but I need to be able to tell him that he was never rejected by me, and therein lies the suffering of it all. The draconian, harsh and cruel laws imposed by society on biological fathers in the 1970’s have denied me any form of access to the adoption records thereby perpetuating this cycle of rejection and concomitant pain and suffering. I want to be with my children but the flawed society within which we all live continues to deny me this basic human right.

    • debby
    • November 17th, 2010

    Such a heart-breaking and touching letter Kevin has written and how right he is to say that 30 seconds from his birth mother was all it would’ve taken to fill so many holes in his heart and life. I only hope that his letter will move other birth mothers to leave something behind for their birth children. Well done to Kevin for being so brave and for sharing this letter with us.

  1. March 2nd, 2011
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