Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Of Letters and Serendipity

(Stick with me here-it's a long one.)

It is not unlike me to write a letter.  I love receiving "snail" mail, I love stamps and stationery and pens.  How the pen feels on the paper is very important to me, and I have been known to throw out a beautiful note card on which I have started writing to a friend simply because it doesn't feel right.

Before the advent of email, I had written many a letter informing people of momentous events in my life: the arrivals of my daughters, the death of my father, my own job changes, moves, and changes of outlooks, opinions, or feelings.

Since June of 1995, when my second precious child came into my life, I have dreamed for her of letters exchanged with her birth family.  Her first family.  The circumstances around her adoption are details that are hers only to share, but they are very different from those of Older Daughter, whom I was able to bring home in infancy.  Younger Daughter was three when I got her.  A whole different world.

The missing puzzle piece in her life has been monumental.  "Who do I look like?"  "Why did this happen?"  "Am I somehow to blame?"  "How different would my life have been?"  These questions have colored her view of her reality.

Three weeks ago or so, Younger Daughter and her long-time boyfriend, whom we love, respect, and thank for his kindness to YD, came home to visit on a Sunday afternoon.  They're expecting a baby.  The Attorney and I were not terribly surprised, and I must say we took it with amazing grace.  YD said she had known for a couple of weeks, but was afraid to tell us, because she was afraid we would be angry or disappointed.  While the timing is less than ideal, we were neither.  We went through the practicalities of it:  what about college (she's a sophomore), housing (he shares an apartment with his sister), and money (they don't really have any)?  When we got done with those obligatory issues, we moved straight into how exciting it would be to be grandparents, what we wanted to be called (me-Grammy, The Attorney-Grandma) and what we could do to help.  We are eschewing any negativity and celebrating a new life with the bundle that will arrive in early March, we think.

How does this relate to letter writing?  The very week that we heard about the baby, I found, after years of searching, a possible clue as to the whereabouts of YD's birth mom.  I sat down and carefully crafted a very short letter to her.  It included no identifying information, to eliminate the possibility of a misstep in making the connection with the right person.

"Dear _________"
I am writing to you to let you know that in 1995 I adopted a child through _________.  If you are the birth mother of a child who was adopted then, or if you have contact with her, and you are interested in having information about the child, please send me a letter with any information that will help me make sure you are the right person.  If you are unrelated to this child, or you do not wish to have contact, please disregard this and accept my apologies for any intrusion."
In Peace,
Yankee Transferred

Yesterday, I received this in the mail:
"Dear Yankee Transferred,

I received your letter on 9/9/2011.  My name is ____________ and I live in ___________. I am the mother of Younger Daughter.  I gave birth to her in _______hospital.  I have her birth certificate which I have kept in my safe for 19 years.  The reason you ended up with her is because I couldn't take care of her due to ____________.  God has been very good to me, He pulled me out of that situation and has stayed with me so that I could experience this very day.  Please tell her she can contact me at any time.  I have prayed for this day for 19 years.  Thank you for contacting me.
Thank you again,
Birth Mother

We asked Younger Daughter and Jazz Man to come over last night.  When they got there, we told them that we have tried her whole life to give her everything she needed and wanted, and we always knew that there was one thing that we had been unable to give her.  We handed her the letter. be continued...


liz said...

I am sobbing. How momentous.

Mazel tov on the future arrival.

Michaela said...

Oh, how incredible. Serendipity is amazing, isn't it? I'm tempted to bust out singing "The Circle of Life" here... partly to cover up my teary eyes.


susan said...

Oh how wonderful!!!

jo(e) said...

Oh, wow.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I think I've been reading your blogs since the beginning and my partner and I are now close to finalizing the adoption of our own three-year-old, though she'll be four by the time all's said and done. Congratulations to you for opening your hearts to these two new generations in YD's life. Best wishes to all of you.

kathy a. said...

oh, yankee! two such amazing pieces of news. xoox

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I am sitting here at work crying. Big salty tears running down my face. I am so glad that you were able to do this for her. Your heart...well your heart is something I really try to imitate.

You are going to be an AWESOME Grammy!! There is nothing like it in the whole wide world.

Kathy Rogers said...

Congrats, Grammy! And "whew" and "wow" and weepy on the letter news.

Anonymous said...

I have goose bumps! Mazel tov on all fronts!
--Neighbor Lady

Yankee, Transferred said...

Liz-thank you. ;)
MC-it's a Circle of Life thing for sure.
Susan-thought you'd appreciate all of it.
Jo(e)-wow, indeed.
M.I.-welcome and thanks for visiting! Continued good luck as you navigate the process.
Kathy A-xoxox to you, too
Momdy-your heart is EASILY as big as mine.
Kathy R-big year for all of us, huh?
NL-thanks. Nice to see you here!

Songbird said...

Omigosh. Crying.

Val said...

Ohhh, Yankee!!!! Yes, yes, YES!!!! Blessings, just pure blessings all around. I am so happy for you all--and for YD, especially. I remember from your old (old-old-old" blog YD's pain related to these things, and it continues to touch my heart. I am so happy for her and for you all. Hugs and Love!!! Val (who never uses exclamations points like this, but--Holy goodness!) :)

Yankee, Transferred said...

Songbird-thank you for reading. Here's a hanky.
Val-you are so kind. Thank you.

Lisa V said...

You know I love this. So very, very much!

Yankee, Transferred said...

Yes, Lisa, I do.

Jenevieve said...

Holy moly! Congratulations on all fronts. Hope both huge events work out for YD and all of your benefit!

New Kid on the Hallway said...

That is amazing and wonderful. Congratulations to you all on such wonderful life developments!

Yankee, Transferred said...

Jen and NK,
Thanks so much for your kindness. It's an emotional time and we are enjoying every second.

Anonymous said...

I'm blown away. So happy for you and your daughter, she deserves this. Thanks for sharing.

- Longtime lurker

Yankee, Transferred said...

I love me a lurker. Thanks for your kind comment.

Katherine said...

Oh I am so happy for YD. I pray that this is a great reunion for all of you. And I'm still waiting to be called on to help OD as a Wolverine!

Suniverse said...

Oh, my god. That is absolutely wonderful. I am so thrilled for all of you.

CONGRATULATIONS to the soon-to-be grandmas!!