Dear Claudia,

In March of ‘96 you became a part of me. And for 9 months and 1 week, we spent all our time together. I knew this would be the longest time we would have together before I sent you on to your next Journey. I’m pretty sure you don’t remember any of that, but let me just say it was an emotional overload. During that time we actually played in a couple of softball games, moved to Fort Worth, attended a college football game, caught a few musicals and I also got to watch you grow up in pictures. Some people call them sonograms and find them very confusing, but I knew every detail about every black and white sonogram I had. Nowadays, I still get to see you grow up in pictures but they are mostly all in color and on Instagram.

Placing you for adoption was one of the hardest, but best decisions I ever made. When I chose your adoptive parents, there was a peace about my decision and I knew they were perfect. Apparently, a little too perfect. In your first year you had already been to every corner of the United States, and by 6 or so you had traveled to other countries.

I am often asked, “Looking back would you change anything about your decision?” I really don’t think I would. Especially knowing how things have turned out (well, maybe I wouldn’t have put you in the silly Santa suit for your first hospital picture. On the day I had you, I knew I only had hours with you and in my mind I was dreaming up what I thought was a fantasy; just to keep my mind in a positive place because of what I knew was to come. I had visions of you with family that focused a lot on….well, FAMILY. Not just immediate family but having large gatherings for reunions, or holidays and birthdays or even gatherings for no reason at all. For whatever the event or occasion I just saw plenty of friends and family around. I imagined you in places where sometimes you had so many decisions that it would be overwhelming. I imagined you having opportunity after opportunity in sports, schools, events, friends, etc. Never did I “really” think you would have all that!

You have turned out to be such a beautiful, talented young lady, and I appreciate always that you and your adoptive parents have allowed me to be more than a part of your life. I know you will continue through the years with happy moments, sad moments, confusing moments and just pure silliness (you get that from me) and I know, at times, you will make good decisions, incredibly horrible decisions and even some “what the heck was I thinking” decisions; but always know some of the toughest decisions may turn out to be some of the greatest decisions.

I love you always, Traci