We all have letters we'd like to send, but know that we can't. A letter to someone we no longer have a relationship with, a letter to a family member or friend who has died, a letter to reclaim our power or our voice from an abuser.
Letters where actual contact is just not possible.
Do you have a letter you can't send?
Why not send it to The Band?
I remember well the first time I ever saw you - it was in a dream.
I was a newlywed then. And in the dream, I was sitting in our living room, early in the morning. I saw a little girl, about two-years old with long, dark hair come down the hall and go into the kitchen. She was wearing yellow footie pajamas and carrying a teddy bear under her arm.
I took it as a good omen when I found out my husband told me he'd had a dream about a dark-haired little girl that same night.
Many painful years passed while I waited for that sweet little girl to come into my life. Dreams of becoming pregnant didn't come true as I'd so wanted.
Finally, eight years after that fateful dream, I had you. It was unconventional, sure - you were a foster baby with the potential to be adopted, but the state wanted to make sure we were a good fit for you.
That was all a formality to me. You were mine. You had ALWAYS been mine.
I bought you yellow footie pajamas and a teddy bear.
Less than a year later, the paperwork was final, and you were my little girl - forever.
My love for you was fierce and intense. I had endless patience with you; I'd do absolutely anything to make you happy.
I don't feel that way anymore. That makes me so, so sad.
It all started when I got pregnant with your brother. FINALLY, I had a baby growing inside of me. FINALLY, I had what I'd wanted for so long - a child that shared my genetics. No visitations, no sharing parenting with another mother. Just mine.
I'd wanted this so long, but I didn't expect it to affect me the way it did.
I always thought I'd love being pregnant. With my big hips, I was built for it. I NEVER expected what a complete bitch the hormones would make me.
Sadly, YOU were the target of my unending wrath.
I got pregnant around your sixth birthday, and like most six-year old girls, you never stopped making noise. Even now, there is almost always some sound coming from your mouth. Talking, singing, making little noises. It's like you had to make noise in order to breathe, and since we have to breathe to live, you never seemed to stop.
I hated it.
I also was very sensitive to touch. Your dad (new dad; old "dad" having walked away from you as he had from me) could touch me and it was soothing. Your touch was like sandpaper on my skin.
I found it easiest to function when you weren't around.
If you were home, I'd send you outside or to your room to play. Or I'd leave you in front of the television so that I could be alone.
I treated you like I hated you.
It broke my heart when I finally came out of that hormonal hell. Your dad told me how he'd come home from work and take you for drives so you'd have some love and attention. During these drives, you told him that you didn't understand why I was being so mean to you.
Your little brother is almost two now, and I still feel a rift between us. I'm your mother, and I'm supposed to love you unconditionally and always take care of you.
I know I don't do very well in that area.
Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely proud of you. I couldn't ask for a better daughter. You're bright and funny and sweet. You adore your little brother and are a huge help with him. You remind me of my beloved sister every day, and I can't get over how happy that makes me.
But some days, I still feel like I may not love you anymore.
I'm always happy when the school bus comes in the morning and you're leaving for school. When you come home, I pretend to listen to your stories about your day, but honestly, I just want you to finish talking and go in the other room. I pretend to be attentive out of a sense of duty.
I don't want this for us.
My mother is my best friend. Granted, she and I weren't best friends when I was eight, but I don't think I've EVER doubted her love for me.
It kills me that you may.
So I'm trying. I've been trying for a while. I pray for the ability to show you love. I'm making myself go through the motions of what a loving mother does. I hope it helps you feel like I mean it, and I REALLY hope that eventually, I'll feel like I mean it, too.
Maybe I really do mean it. Maybe it's just the stressful things in our current life that get in the way. Maybe next year will be easier. You'll quiet down a little or I'll become more patient.
Either way, you're a great kid and you deserve love. I'm the only mother you've got, and I intend to do my part.
Please, please, my sweet girl, be patient with me while I figure this all out.
I gave birth to three children.
I can only mother one of them.
Three years ago I made the most difficult, humiliating, and painful decision I've ever had to make. This decision was more difficult to make than deciding to leave my abusive ex-husband. It was harder than staying with my current husband, who wants an open marriage.
I chose to terminate my parental rights for my two oldest children.
This is the first time that I have put this information into writing of my own accord.
Five years ago, I received a phone call that set off a chain of events, culminating in that painful decision.
The information that call contained still makes me want to vomit and cry my eyes out.
My children were being removed from my home, because of allegations of abuse.
My own mother was behind that phone call.
My mother hated me from the time I was little. Everyone always tells me there is no way a mother would hate her child. I beg to differ.
My womb donor hated me so much, that she chose to team up with my abusive ex- the man who beat me - to tear my children away from me.
Hate is not a strong enough word for the way I feel about that woman.
The first twenty-four hours after that phone call are still blurry. I made calls, I panicked, I cried, I screamed, I puked, and I didn't sleep a wink.
Finally I heard from a social worker who very clearly told me that all I had to do was say that, yes, my husband was abusive, and kick him out of our home. Only then could my children come home.
I know my husband never touched my children.
We hired an attorney and fought a battle of epic proportions against my womb donor and my ex-husband. We fought so hard that first year. I am not certain when it happened, but one day a light bulb came on.
I realized that I had no options.
If I did not do something I would fail all of my children.
The decision I made was not easy. What I did haunts me to this day.
I decided that letting my two oldest children move in with their father - as they wanted - would enable us to remove my youngest child from the hell of foster care with the woman who called herself my mother.
I gave up my babies.
Every good friend I had told me I had no choice. The attorney said the same thing. I can't say for certain that I had other options, but I can say that I couldn't see any other options.
The day after everything was final, we packed our vehicles and moved across the country. New town, new place, broken heart and broken family is what I had.
Today, it has been roughly three years since we were released. The Diva does not ask for her siblings. She is happy and, most of the time, so am I, at least, on the surface.
I'm always sad and longing for my children; I know that will never change.
I know that I made the best decision in the worst circumstances. I hope to someday share the fine details without crying hysterically.
Today is not that day.
Today, I say that I am a mother of one child, when my body has the stretch marks from three children. Today is the day that The Diva calls the womb donor her wicked step-grandmother.
Sometimes all we have to cling to is our truths.
My truth is I gave The Diva a chance at happiness.
My truth is that it is okay to be sad sometimes.
My truth is that I am happy more than I am sad.
My truth is I feel guilty for being happy without my children.
Addiction is a family disease.
This is what addiction does to a family:
A few days ago, I got a text message from my sister asking me if I wanted to get together briefly this week so she could "make amends" and apologize. It was a mass text - sent to my husband and our parents.
I didn't reply.
Neither did my husband.
What do you say to that?
I wanted to respond with, "No, you are not sorry. You're just checking items off of your twelve-step program like it's a fucking grocery list." Our mom has agreed to meet with her and apparently our dad is letting her come over so my sister can spend time with her daughter. I don't know if either of our parents have decided to forgive her.
Surely, they feel just as betrayed as I do and it's going to take a lot more than some apology three months after starting to get help. It takes people YEARS to go through the program.
Do I think she's sincere? No, I don't.
I think that she wants things to be "normal" again but it's way too complicated now. She no longer has custody of her daughter - our dad and step-mom do - and they are doing a wonderful job raising her. My niece finally has a chance at a good life.
When both of her parents are trashy, where do the kids end up if no one steps in? In the trash. It's an endless cycle.
All I want is for my niece to have a normal life in a loving home. My sister and her now-ex-husband would yell and fight in front of her, and spent as little time as possible interacting with their daughter unless it was to discipline her (which they did out of anger - screaming and spanking).
It was such an unhappy home; a broken home.
When my sister divorced and moved back home, I knew she'd be kind of depressed - but we had no idea that she was using drugs and alcohol to numb her pain. This behavior is what got her thrown out of our mom's, dad's, and my house.
My niece stayed at our dad's house, where she was attending preschool while my sister crashed on couches for a few days before ultimately living out of her car. We aren't sure how long she did that, but after what we assumed was just a few days, she called our mom and asked her to help her get into rehab.
We'd suggested she go to rehab over and over, but we knew she had to come to that conclusion on her own. I still believe if she had found a more stable place to crash. she'd still be doing drugs and driving around town. I think living out of her car was enough for her and she looked at rehab as a free place to stay while our mom paid the bill.
The thirty-day program had my sister going to counseling on a daily basis, meeting as a group, and doing various self-exploration exercises in addition to the Alcoholics Anonymous program. We thought that she was doing well until we found out that she met a guy in rehab. If it was my sister's goal to find a bigger low-life than her ex-husband, then consider this a success. He is ten years older than her and addicted to heroin. Apparently, he's been in and out of rehab for years. How can someone afford that? In most places, thirty days of in-patient treatment is over $10,000.
Regardless, she nearly got kicked out of rehab for having a relationship and for throwing a monumental hissy fit when he graduated from rehab a few days before she was scheduled to do the same and she didn't want to be there without him. She is addicted to many things, but her main addiction?
She needs to be needed by someone who is needy. Apparently, having a baby wasn't enough - it had to be a guy. I had hoped that while in rehab she would have worked on all of her addictions but apparently they skipped this one.
Once she graduated from rehab, my mom set her up with a sober house in the same metro area as her daughter (and all of her family). After a week of living there, which my mother paid for, my sister bailed and decided to move four hours south to go to a sober house near her rehab boyfriend. He was in a sober house in town and she wanted to be closer to him. Not close to her daughter, close to some low-life guy who validated her.
She has been there for a couple of months and I must say, her distance from us has made everyone involved much more calm. When she was in rehab, she was constantly calling my mom and dad, bitching and crying about something or other.
Now? We hardly hear from her - it's like she doesn't exist.
can't handle the stress of her being around. Just thinking about her raises my blood pressure and since I'm pregnant I prefer to keep my BP in check.
When she first went into treatment, it's all we talked about. Every conversation with our mom or dad was about my sister. I couldn't escape it at home because I would let my husband know any new information I had heard and then I had to vent to him on an almost-daily basis.
It was exhausting.
I couldn't stop thinking about how betrayed I felt by my once-best friend. I still think about her a lot but I'm getting better about brushing the thoughts aside.
But when she texted me, I was confronted with my feelings again. You can't ignore your feelings forever. I've decided that forgiving her isn't in the cards this time around.
Time heals, right?
I guess we'll find out.
I made a choice many years ago not to have any more children. At that moment, it was the right choice. My life was not meant to have any more, at that time. Now? Things have changed drastically.
A baby is all I can think about. Every single time someone I know announces a new baby coming into their life, it stings.
It is so hard to put on a happy face - even for your best friend who tried desperately to have a baby- when you know it will never be you. It is even harder to watch people who have no business bringing a baby into their chaotic lives, popping them out like a machine.
That is all I want. It doesn't matter if that one is a boy or girl. It doesn't matter the race, color, nationality... nothing matters. Special needs? No problem. We would love him, or her, all the same!
Yes, I know there are options. They have been researched, to the ends of the earth and back again.
Tubal reversal: Not an option. I am not a good candidate and it would likely be a waste of $5000 or more.
IVF: Crazy expensive. Again, not our best option due to my "advanced maternal age" and hormone levels. Plus, I've watched someone go through IVF. The physical and mental anguish is more than I could go through, especially with no guarantee of a baby to show for it in the end.
Foster to Adopt: This would the most likely choice. There are so many children out there who need a loving home like we could provide. But do you know how many children we could learn to love, and then say goodbye to before we were finally given one to make our forever child? How many times can you leave a piece of your heart walk out your door never to be seen again?
Adoption: Sure, we could call up an agency and get things started. If we had $40,000 or more to spend on a domestic adoption laying around. I don't even want to know how much the cost would be for an international adoption.
We recently came very close to having our dream come true.
We were connected with a young mother who was considering putting her unborn baby up for adoption.
She and her baby's daddy were not together anymore. He claimed the baby wasn't his, and said he would sign the papers. Everything seemed to be lining up to make this possibility a reality.
She was 31 weeks along, and had not yet found out if the baby was a girl or boy. She asked if we wanted to know. I got a text that said, "The baby is a boy."
I cried with joy. A son.
We were going to have a son!
We chose a name for him. We planned some home renovations to get his room ready for him. We made all the calls to find out what we would have to do legally.
The paperwork came and I started to fill it out. Learning in the process that an identified private adoption is only $5000-6000, and even that would be reimbursed.
We met the birth mom. We really liked her, and she liked us. We talked for hours about the baby, and other stuff. We assured her we wanted her to be a part of his life. We would want him to know where he came from. He would know that he is loved by her.
With paperwork taking 6-8 weeks, we were in a time crunch. We learned we would be allowed to bring our son home with us, even if the paperwork was not finalized. It would just say "in progress."
And then it happened.
She had a change of heart.
My heart changed too. It broke.
She has a new boyfriend, who told her he would stick by her whatever choice she made. Although she has no job at this time, she figures he will support her and the baby until she is able to do it herself. I want to wish her the best, but in reality, they are young, and the chances are not good that they will stay together.
Not a day goes by that I don't think about that baby boy for hours.
What is he going to look like? What is his little personality going to be like? Will he like sports? Cars? What is his favorite color going to be? Will his hair be curly or straight? What color are his eyes? I can't get him out of my head, or my heart. He was to be my son. I love him!
I don't know how I am going to deal with it the day she sends me the text that he was born. I know she will send me a photo of him.
His birthday will be burned into my heart forever.
I am trying to be strong for my husband. He feels it wasn't meant to be right now, and it will happen one day.
But I'm losing hope. This has been such an emotionally draining experience. How do I walk forward and try again?
I mourn for the son who will never be ours.
I love you already, baby boy.
My Precious Little Girl,
When your sister was two years old, we went to the foster care office to sign the final papers for her adoption.
I knew you were coming. Months earlier, I'd heard your mother was pregnant with you.
I didn't want the challenge of a traditional foster child. I accepted your sister knowing they couldn't get her back. Your parents ran out of time and the state needed someone who could adopt her.
While signing the papers that day, the social worker brought you up again. This time was different.
I couldn't say no: my little girl's full-blooded, baby sister needed help. You were about to be born and the state was going to take you from your mother.
We said we would think about it.
I knew I couldn't let you go to strangers when you were born. The social worker wanted me to take you immediately, but I couldn't.
I had commitments at my job that I couldn't break. I asked for a month.
Since I didn't take you right away, the red tape slowed the process.
You had health issues, due to your mother's prenatal drug use - it was best that I didn't have you during those two months. Your first foster mom was a nurse so she knew more about how to take care of you.
One week after your sister's finalized adoption, I brought you home.
The extra foster income meant that I could quit working and stay home with my little girl and you, a tiny baby.
It was a dream come true! After years of waiting for children, I finally had not one, but two babies who needed me.
I didn't want to fall in love with you.
I tried to protect myself from loving you because I knew your mother could get you back. At first, she tried really hard; as time passed, she fell back into her old ways.
Her addiction took over, and she was back on drugs.
Meanwhile, you were growing and becoming such a fun baby girl.
I had to admit that I adored you.
I wish I could say the same about your foster father, my husband. He never bonded with you. Even after we'd had you for almost a year, he would still introduce you as "our niece" instead of "our daughter."
I'll never be able to erase the memories of the horrible things he said; did to you.
Your father was in prison. Your mother was addicted to drugs. And you were my baby.
When you cried, I was the only one who could comfort you. When you were sick, I took care of you.
Your mother still had visitation, but she would nap during the visits. Four hours a week as a "nap buddy" does not a mother make!
You were my baby.
Sadly, you were assigned to a different social worker than your sister. This one never seemed to have your best interests at heart.
Your sister's social worker would have officially made you mine after six months.
Your social worker kept giving your mother chance, after chance, after chance.
Your first birthday was a tough time for me. Your foster father left me for another woman.
You and your sister were the only reasons I could even semi-function. I had to get out of bed to feed and take care of you.
Listening to my little girls play together was my only light for a while.
Then a miracle happened.
Your social worker said your parents weren't getting things done the way they needed to and that I should start planning for your adoption.
She was even okay with the idea of me adopting you on my own. Even though I was just weeks from a divorce, I was going to have my baby girl forever.
Just days before my divorce was finalized, the social worker came for a visit and dropped a bomb on me. Suddenly, your parents were doing everything right and would get you back! IN TWO WEEKS!
I was devastated.
Your parents now had your baby brother. All I can figure is that they decided to do better after he was born. Perhaps the social worker decided to let them have him on the promise to do better.
Since you weren't officially mine, they could also take you.
You were sixteen months old and I was the only mother you'd known.
As if taking you from your Mommy wasn't bad enough, they were going to keep you in the same day care.
This meant that you got to be with your sister during the day, but I had to leave you again and again.
I couldn't avoid picking you up when I saw you. You would reach out for me, and I just had to hold you, hug you, and tell you I loved you. Then, I would have to leave with your sister.
I will never forget hearing you scream as I walked away. It broke my heart every single day.
Your parents eventually put you in a different day care, and we lost track of each other.
Over the years, we would see each other on your birthday or your sister's birthday.
And then I moved out of state.
During the last year, I found out that your father was back in prison and your mother was on probation.
I was sick. Where was my little girl?
I tried calling the state, but they couldn't legally tell me anything. I later found out that you and your brother were with your grandmother.
She and I are now friends on Facebook, and I can keep track of you and see pictures of how you've grown.
Your mother got you back last week. Again.
I can't help but wonder how long it will be before she succumbs to her addictions again.
I wonder: do you even have a chance? Will you be a teenage mother, too? Will you use drugs like your parents?
I can't guarantee that you wouldn't get involved with drugs or be a teen mom if I'd raised you.
Life offers very few guarantees.
But I know your sister's chances are better - she's being raised in a home with morals; the understanding of what happens to addicts. She won't see her parents using drugs. You most likely will - the statistics aren't in your favor.
I wish I could protect you, my baby girl.
Today on Mother's Day, I hold my two children, knowing there should be one more child in my arms.
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