Back in 2005, I wrote a blog post about my birth mother in honor of her birthday. Back then, I had only known her for a year, and I was feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude. This gratitude stemmed from the fact that I knew very well that I was one of the lucky ones. That hasn't changed. In fact, now that she's no longer here, that gratitude has intensified.
Many adoptees don't have the desire to even try to locate their birth families. For most of my life, I was one of those. I was afraid of rejection. I was scared beyond belief that it was true what I had been told; that I was "let go" because I was unwanted (not true, I came to find out). Yet, I knew down deep inside that I was SO different from the family that I was raised with and I had so many questions as to why. It wasn't just a physical thing. More importantly, it seemed a spiritual thing. Something so much deeper. It was something that clenched at my soul that made me know that as happy as I felt with my own husband, and my own children, and how they completed my life, that something was missing. Pieces of the puzzle of my life were not yet complete.
If it were not for Charlie, I would not have gone on that search eight years ago. He encouraged me because he knew me. He knew that I did not want to stir up anyone's world, or place blame, or disrespect my adoptive parents. He knew that I simply wanted to find the missing pieces. To answer the questions that caused upheaval in my world that I didn't even know existed. But he knew.
The day I located her in early 2004, was the day without any hesitation, that she opened her arms and welcomed me. The answers to any questions would eventually come, but on that day of discovery, she only said one simple thing to me; "I knew you would find me. I prayed you would come. I always missed you. I always loved you." I feel like I was born that day.
She gave me life and gave me up to give me a new life. It wasn't a choice she made easily or without regret. But it was a choice that was right, for both of us, for that time in our lives. When I found her, I was a grown woman with a family of my own, but I gained a whole world that day. My children added an incredible new legacy of aunties, and uncles, and cousins...more than we ever could have imagined. Charlie and I gained two best friends; my sister Loke and her husband Phil, who, as it turns out, lived only 90 minutes drive from us for decades. My puzzle no longer had missing pieces. I looked like someone. I talked like someone. I laughed like someone. I was someone. Yes, I always knew I was important to Charlie and the kids, but now, things are so much more full, more joyful, more abundant.
In 2009, it would be my turn to let her go. I was so lucky to have her in my life for 5 years. There are no words that would adequately describe my gratitude to my mother. But there isn't a birthday that goes by that I don't remember her and reflect upon the gift she gave me. Not only when I was born, but when she opened her arms and gave me a whole new family.
Happy Birthday Mom. I miss you. Thank you for giving me 'ohana. I will ALWAYS be grateful.