Shannon: Before We Met

A letter leads a birth mother and daughter to their reunion after 40 years.  Meet Shannon. She was adopted and is getting ready to meet her birth mother Lesli for the first time today. We invite you to enter in to their reunion story, before they meet...

As the child of a closed adoption, I never thought to think of my birth mother’s sacrifice for me as anything but heroic. No doubt my thoughts on the subject were influenced by how my parents always framed the story – that my birth parents loved me so much they chose to provide a better life for me through allowing someone else to raise me. Perhaps, too, I benefited from my parents’ community of several other friends who had chosen to adopt so that it was not particularly unusual to me. Regardless, I grew up with the knowledge that I was loved. I was taught that I was deeply loved by two people who might not ever meet me, but considered giving me life and then providing me with parents who were equipped to parent me more important than the inconvenience of being an unwed, expectant teenage couple. Moreover, I knew that I was loved and wanted by my parents who raised me. I was shown that my parents had hoped, prayed and waited for me.

While I felt confident that my birth parents were at peace with their decision to ask someone else to raise me, I regretted that in my closed adoption there was no way for me to say “Thank you” to them. Thank you for choosing life when abortion was available. Thank you for sacrificing your senior year of high school to carry me to term. Thank you for choosing not to be children raising a child. Thank you for trusting God and the adoption agency to place me in a good home. Thank you for loving me enough to let me go.

Today, just a couple of weeks before my 40th birthday, I’ll meet my birth mother for the first time. We've been in contact for the last year and a half, but live in different states. I've learned through our chats that I have a few more thank you's for her. Thank you for carrying me in your heart and allowing my existence to shape, but not define you. Thank you for reaching your goals and becoming the person you are. Thank you for going to college and graduate school, getting married, having another child, and building a life. Thank you for sacrificing then so that both of us could reach our full potential.

My cup runneth over.