Letter to a birth-mother
In celebration of my birth-mother’s birthday this month, I am publishing this letter (with permission) from adoptee Shefalie Chandra, who wrote to her birth-mother this last Mother’s Day. Her words really moved me and echo so many of my emotions, which is why I wanted to share it…
I am really sorry that I never got to reach the stage in my life and yours where I could have emotionally adult responses and choices in a relationship with you. I am sorry that I never actually got the chance to have a relationship with you, except mostly in my head where I am writing all the scripts and narratives.
I wish I could have got to the place where I could have shown more respect and care for you, without having to change you into who I thought I needed or wanted, or become critical and judgmental.
I can now see that I expected you to be almost perfect in meeting my relational needs as a mother. I never got to be able to appreciate you for who you are/were as a whole individual and person in your own right. For the good and bad, and
not for what you could give me or make up to me, filling in the voids.
I have been learning how to deal with all the fallout of being relinquished and all that comes with being fostered and adopted and being raised by people who don’t reflect back to me who I am.
I am learning to take responsibility for my own thoughts, feelings, goals and actions, so that when I am under stress, I don’t fall into the victim mentality or blame game as I used to.
I am also learning to state my own beliefs and values to those who disagree with me, and that includes how others perceive adoption and birth-mothers and I don’t have to become adversarial.
I am learning to self-assess my limits, strengths and weaknesses and be able to freely discuss them with others who are swimming in the same waters. I am even swimming into the emotioanl world of others, meeting them at their place of need without getting sucked in and down. I think that means Mum, that at last I am becoming more emotionally mature; like more of a grown-up adult adoptee, and not the emotional infant or child I once was.
I wish you could have known me as this person. I wish I could have helped you learn to swim in these waters as well with me, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to then, so what I am going to do is try to help other people and I hope
you would have liked who I am becoming.
Oh, just one more thing, Mum, something else that I am learning to hear and know that I am loved by Christ, and that I have nothing to prove. And so that means as well, Mum, neither do you.
Happy mothers day Elizabeth, I hope you can hear me, because I mean it.