Dear Starla,

I suppose I’m the last person you thought you’d ever get a letter from. The truth is, I’m shocked to be writing it. But I read an essay today in a magazine that put me on my knees. It was the story of an adoptive mother attending the funeral of her son’s birth mom. And I’ve had visions of myself doing the exact same thing, coming to pay my respects because you’d passed on. Paying my respects because the demons that chase you finally ran you down.

I thought about how unwelcome I would be there. About what you’ve told people about me, about how I fought you for your son. About the fancy expensive lawyer we hired, the one who raked you over the coals for an hour. I gotta tell you, he called you a soldier. You took that whipping like a champion. I figured it was because somewhere deep within you, you felt like you deserved it. Somewhere in you is the acknowledgement of what you did to your child, the pain and agony you caused, your failure to protect him, to keep him safe.

And then I thought about the people who would be there, thirsty just like you to hear how your boy is doing. To see even a photograph, any fleeting glimpse of the precocious, angelic child he became. To hear how he learned to swim at the age of two, how he loves his preschool and cars, and can sing all the words to “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen.

There has never been any doubt in my mind that you love your boy. Your family loves him too. Aunt, Uncle and their children lost something when you lost at court, too. Honestly, there are never any winners in situations like this. G’s birth dad adores him, but also needs him to validate his own existence, and my son was already born with the heavy task of simply surviving his first months on this earth. He doesn’t need any more jobs. He simply needs to be cherished and protected. I suppose I just want to validate that, the fact that you, and the people close to you, also love my son. Maybe we do it in different ways. You do it the best way you know how, and I am compassionate for what is broken in you that makes your love simply not enough to have allowed you to parent. 

I am sorry, truly sorry, for the way things shook out. If you’d told me in February 2011, when I first laid eyes on G, that we would end up locked in a battle over what we each thought was best for him, I would have laughed. My thoughts are that it happened the way it did so that John and I could have the big picture, the full scope of what we were dealing with in regards to your behaviors. Honestly, you terrify me. I think that, on a lot of levels, you terrify yourself. You know the things we heard during those six horrible days. You know fully and completely why the decision was made to keep G away from you. What I don’t know, and probably never will, is why you fought. Everyone told you not to, everyone tried to make a deal, work out a plan, and you held fast and stubborn, even as the judge begged. Perhaps you don’t even know why you chose for things to go the way you did. 

I am working on being less angry with you. It is a process of letting go, a practice of sitting in compassion. I understand more than you think I do about the way you grew up, the confusion and chaos and hurts. My understanding of all this is what led me so strongly to try and help you those many months. I honestly wanted you to be well. I wanted all the things I told you I wanted. None of that was a lie. I did the best I could with what I had. I hope you can see that some day.

After reading that essay, I had to speak up and write to you. I couldn’t leave my last communication with you being the things that were said in court by lawyers and people who don’t know our true hearts. You know my heart. You feel betrayed, I imagine, and more anger than I will ever feel, and all with good reason. But you also know, more than anyone, the depths of love I feel for my little boy. You know exactly why I had to fight to keep him safe. You know that I count each cell of his being precious and holy. And so I also want to say thank you. Thank you for bringing him Earthside, for this sweetest gift I received. 

And so I close by saying what I always said, in all those many letters to you, written a lifetime ago. I wish you all the brightest of blessings, the Highest and Best. I truly, truly do.

In Peace-