May 4, 2010

A message to Josie's birth mother...

Very rarely do I get political in my blog, but I finished Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love by Xinran and feel this should be required reading for anyone adopting from China. The girls were sleeping when I finished the book last night. I crept into Emma's bedroom first and just stared at her and then kissed her forehead. I then went into Josie's room and did the same. My tissue box was practically empty in my living room. I had no more tears left. It was a painful read, but life-changing.

Told through a series of interviews and stories with women across China, Xinran shares an honest look at Chinese mothers' lives. Although times have changed, women (especially those living in poorer areas) have suffered so much. Some of the stories were downright horrifying to read. Many women talked about smothering their daughters at birth because they didn't want them to suffer the same fate as they had endured. Outdated customs combined with a one-child policy continues to drive abortions and suicide rates sky high. For anyone who thinks that these birth mothers, don't have feelings about their daughters, you're wrong. Time and time again, these mothers talked about the pain of missing their daughters.

After reading this book, I firmly believe that abandonment is the ultimate gift of sacrifice. Josie's mother would have known right away that she was different. She was born with six digits on her right hand and a serious heart condition. These medical issues would have brought shame to her family and the grim reality that she required medical attention that they couldn't afford. Her mother could have ended Josie's life, but she didn't.

Although not officially on the calendar as a holiday, did you know that the Saturday before Mother's day is celebrated in the adoption community as "Birth-Mother's Day?" If I could share message with Josie's birth mother, this is what I would say.

Your daughter is beautiful.

Please know that her medical conditions have been taken care of and she is now healthy and full of endless energy.

She’s smart, funny and brings incredible joy to our family.

She enjoys going to preschool and has many many friends.

She loves to eat...especially sweets.

Playing outside makes her extremely happy.

She has a big sister that is a wonderful role model.

Her big sister loves her very much and Josie loves her back unconditionally.

When I see our two daughters together, we know our family is now complete.

Thank you for your sacrifice and your selflessness. Thank you for choosing life for this precious little girl.

You have shared with our family a priceless gift. We are forever grateful. We will never forget you.


Beach Mama said...

What a beautiful post. I feel the same way that you do. My girls haven't mentioned anything to me yet about their birth mother. I can't imagine our family without the sacrifice these women made. We are blessed beyond measure.

Sarah said...

Lovely Kim.

Jodi said...

Kim, I really need to read that book! I didn't know that Saturday was "birth-mother's day". We may have to figure out a way to celebrate that - J and J don't understand yet, but some day they will!
Thank you for your post!
I love your blog!

Phyllis said...


Shanna said...

Thank you for this post. I have had Kai and Chloe's birth mom on my mind so much lately. Her horrible loss and sacrific, was our beautiful gain. My heart struggles with this constantly.
Beautiful post.

PandaMom said...

Oh my word, Kim! I want to get this and read it, too. It sounds sobering, but a much needed read for us. Thanks!!

Cindy said...

What a wonderful post. I would love to read this book. It is a blessing to all birth mothers for the gift of our girls & boys.

Karin said...

That was so beautiful, Kim. I often wish my kids' birth-mothers could know how well their children are doing.

a Tonggu Momma said...

I really need to read that book. I've ordered it, but it hasn't come yet. Thanks for the push... when it finally arrives, I'm gonna sit down with it right away.

Jodee Leader said...

I will definitely check out this book. I read Silent Tears in two days and I cried the entire time. I feel soooo bad for these birth mothers.

Mike and Barb said...

I just finished one of her other books (the good women of China) - very heartbreaking and disturbing also. Maybe we should do a book swap????
I struggle with the feeling that I will never understand the chinese mothers of my daughters - so much cultural difference, such a different perspective on life.
I'm just sad that they didn't seem to see any other way out, whether it was their choice or someone else's.
I'm looking forward and terrified at the same time to be reading this book.

Sophia's Mama and Baba said...

I am reading this book right now and feel excatly as you do. I wish I could write as elaquintly as you do.


Melinda said...

Beautiful post Kim. I need to order this book and read it. It sounds like a difficult read but necessary to understand the pain of the birthmothers. We are so blessed for the loving sacrifice our daughter's birthmothers have made.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings


Anonymous said...

Friend, why can I not find this book in print??? It seems like it is "unavailable" ... ???

I would love to read it ...