In the final weeks of my mom’s life, she made me a promise. When she got to heaven, she said, she would ask God if she could send me a love letter. She was sitting up in her wheelchair, a prayer shawl wrapped around her small frame. Laying my head in her lap, I wept. “Please send me a love letter . . .” I whispered.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the Lord was already working on a love note for my mom to send. As I prepared to say goodbye to the only mother I’d ever known, Christ was preparing my heart to say hello to the mother who knew me nine months longer than anyone else.
Adopted at six weeks old, I often wondered about my biological mother. And as a young adult I even thought about searching for her. But the timing was never quite right. I just wasn’t ready.
Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, I was 36 years old with three children. My mother was dying. My health was at risk with a recent cancer diagnosis of my own. I needed answers. The timing was now and I was ready.
I contacted the private agency used for my adoption and was matched with Suzanne, a Post Adoption specialist. Walking me through the process of opening my closed adoption, paperwork was submitted and questions fielded. The hardest part was the waiting.
On August 9, 2016, my mom lost her battle with cancer.
My family and I laid her to rest and I returned home, trying to piece back a life that had been shattered by her death. By November things had started to feel a little more “normal.” My kids were back in school and our daily routines were in full swing. On the morning of November 7, I was enjoying the quiet and a cup of coffee when my phone rang.
“I spoke to your biological mother today.” Suzanne said. “She would love to speak with you, meet you. . . . She’s been waiting for you.”
Her name was Teresa. Plans were made to connect on the phone, and when the day arrived I nervously made the call. We spoke for three hours, full of joy and tears. Like Mary, I treasured it all up and pondered it in my heart.
My relationship with Teresa has gone from carefully and slowly to weekly phone calls, emails, and care packages. After one particular call, I learned she didn’t have any baby pictures of me. I decided I would create a photo album for her.
Determined, I turned my house inside out until I found my box of childhood memories. Lifting the lid, I saw some folded pieces of yellow notebook paper. I opened it up and immediately recognized my mother’s handwriting.
It was my love letter.
It began A letter to Rachel’s birth mom. Today—Rachel’s sixteenth birthday—I am filled with pride and joy. It was written for Teresa by my mom. I slowly read it aloud. Tracing each word with my finger. I held the crinkled papers to my chest. No tears came, just joy.
In a few weeks my family and I will be traveling to the east coast to meet Teresa in person.
My love letter continues.