The Beauty of What Is

Dear 20-Year-Old Melynda –

It’s been a long time coming, I know, for me to be able to write you this letter. For many years, you were not able to hear what I am about to say, but I think you might be now. As you read this letter, please remember how loved and cherished you are by your husband and the children you have with you – here, now, today. Please remember you are surrounded by people who love and support you, people who truly understand the hurt in your heart.

This is what I have to tell you: Melynda, when you made the soul-shattering decision to relinquish Ms. Feverfew for adoption, you were doing the absolute best you knew how to do at that moment in time, given the information with which you were provided.

You trusted your priesthood leaders and your parents. There is nothing inherently wrong about trusting another person, especially your Bishop or your mother. Yes, the advice and counsel you were given was faulty, based on lies and half-truths, but that is not your fault. It wasn’t even really theirs either, especially not your mother’s. She was only doing the best she could at the time, too.

You must remember, dear friend, this was before the Internet, before you became a skilled researcher who specializes in the synthesis of large bodies of research literature. Yes, the information was out there about how this would affect both you and your daughter, but you did not have access to it and the people who DID have access and should have given you that information withheld it from you. It is hard, no – brutal, but you must accept you were not able to give your informed consent because you were not informed.

You are not to blame for others who used your overwhelming sense of responsibility towards your daughter as a tool to pry her from your arms. They should have been there to help you, and they weren’t. They failed. You didn’t.

You were hopelessly in love with your beautiful, darling baby girl and others convinced you that YOU, simply by being single, were the greatest potential threat in her life.

They convinced you adoption was the only way to protect her from all the vicissitudes of life. They told you she would be more likely to grow up and have premarital sex if you raised her, that she wouldn’t be active in the church if you raised her, that she would drop out of high school, do drugs, be abused…you know the list of things they told you, I don’t need to repeat them because they are etched on your bones. But none of that was true for you and her. NONE OF IT. How do I know this is true? One only need look at your other children to know this. One only need look at your life to know this.

You did not deserve to be separated from her and she did not deserve to be separated from you.

You did not know how this needless adoption might affect your beloved daughter’s sense of identity and worth, that she might struggle her entire life with not feeling like she belonged or that she was truly cherished and adored. You did not know. How can you be held responsible for not knowing? Certainly you know the consequences of not knowing, but you are not to blame for it. You are not to blame.

I know you struggle, and will continue to struggle for the rest of your life, with your self-worth, with believing you are a competent and capable mother. I hear the cries no one else can hear and I feel the crushing ache in your heart. It is OK for you to hurt. You are not broken, nor are you wrong for mourning what could have been…what should have been. I even understand your anger. Who wouldn’t be angry at the callous treatment you and your daughter received by a culture that draws near unto God with their lips, yet their hearts are far from him? Please know there are compensatory blessings awaiting you, even if you cannot believe or possibly comprehend how you can be compensated for this staggering loss.

I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you.

You are a blessed woman and mother. Look up from the ashes of what might have been and see the beauty of what is.

That beauty answers to the name of Matthew. That beauty answers to the name of Luke. That beauty answers to the name of Penelope Rose.

Much love and belief –

An Older & Wiser M.

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19 thoughts on “The Beauty of What Is

  1. (((Melynda))) What a beautiful and sad post all intermingled. Much love to 20 year old Melynda too.
    “That beauty answers to the name of Matthew. That beauty answers to the name of Luke. That beauty answers to the name of Penelope Rose.”

    Amen! xxx

      • (((Hugs))) I am really very happy you were able to write this – and thank you for sharing it with us… Timing is so important in our journey xxx

  2. Beautiful post Melynda.

    This: “Look up from the ashes of what might have been and see the beauty of what is.” Such simple words, so very hard to do sometimes… The ashes ~ indeed…

    • Ah, yes. Ashes indeed. I have only come to recently realize that from the ashes we can make good strong soap to cleanse the wounds and burn away the lies that were riveted upon our young and tender hearts.

      • Oh Melynda… these words are so profound, almost magical to me. I’m typing this through tears. The poetry of your words reaches into the depths of my soul ~ thank you.

  3. This is breathtakingly beautiful in its simplicity and its truth…bravo to you for writing (and more importantly manifesting) it into reality! Many hugs & wishes to you…xo Two

  4. Melynda-
    This was just what I needed to see right now. I’ve been struggling with the same feelings…how if I just had the Internet, read some literature, researched adoption even just a little bit, I would have never relinquished my daughter. I just received some pictures of her growing up, and one that was taken in June. She is so beautiful. I last saw a picture of her when she was 9 months old. 19 years later, I see all that I missed.
    I was able to send letters to her, but I haven’t heard anything back from her or the agency. Who knows if she even got them? Now, I’m trying not to expect anything back, but I can’t help but feel a flutter in my stomach every time the mail man comes. It is such an awful feeling to lay your feelings all out in the open, and for them to be rejected or ignored. I know I shouldn’t feel that way, but I do.
    So much to work through…if only I had known. Thank you for your voice.

    • “It is such an awful feeling to lay your feelings all out in the open, and for them to be rejected or ignored. I know I shouldn’t feel that way, but I do.”

      Why shouldn’t you feel that way? It is natural and human. But I understand, I truly do. Most of us natural mothers have spent so many years acting “as if” we were OK with all of this, playing out the role of “hero” and “good birthmother” assigned to us by the NCFA and social workers. To admit we *are* in fact human is one of the hardest things we can do, because then we have to come face to face with the raw human emotions adoption loss brings.

      There is nothing wrong with feeling terrible when another rejects your efforts for forging a new relationship. Just realize your daughter is very young, as is mine. They are still waiting to get their woman legs under them. Patience, friend, patience.

      • I guess I think I shouldn’t feel that way because I’m the one that gave her up in the first place, and maybe I don’t have any right to expect anything from her. I know I just need to be patient, but I’d appreciate hearing something, anything…even if it’s “I’m not ready now”. But I’m sure there are so many changes going on in her life that this might not be something she can do right now. I remember 20….
        I completely understand where you’re coming from when you say you sometimes wish you were still in the adoption anesthesia…sometimes I wish I was too.

      • Have you read my next letter yet? This feeling of “shouldn’t” is the inspiration behind it. I am so appreciative of being reminded of when I felt just as you do now. It isn’t that I demand anything of my relinquished daughter or even have any real expectations, I have just allowed myself to be human, and us mere mortals hurt when we open our hearts to another. I eventually shed the “good birth mother” image and embraced those parts of myself the adoption industry shamed me for.

    • It is a tough thing to do and I backslide on occasion (more often than I would like to admit!). Overall though, I do sense I am finding myself making some forward progress – baby steps. Waking up from the adoption anesthesia has been so brutal for me. There are some days I wish I could slip back under and pretend this isn’t my reality.

  5. I read and re-read this daily…only changing the characters of the story each time…
    I hope someday I will be able to forgive myself for not knowing the effect my adoption would continue to serve everyone involved..

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