Student Lily Doton writes open letters to both her adoptive and biological parents
Dear Mom and Dad,
You and my siblings have supported me through everything. You’ve all loved me unconditionally and been there for me when I’ve struggled. I hope that you can continue to do that now.
Before I say anything, I just want you to know that I love you and I’m so grateful to you for raising me with the same love you did all of my siblings. Without any hesitance. I didn’t feel out of place when I was a kid, before I understood race and culture and what that meant for me and for you and for everyone looking at our family from afar.
I never thought, before, that there was anything in the world that you couldn’t provide for me. It feels terrible to tell your parents that there’s something they could never give to you as hard as they try. That it’s not their fault, but there’s something missing. Something that I don’t even know if I can give myself.
Most people have a box they can fit in, experiences that overlap with others even if it’s not a perfect fit. I’ve felt different from everyone around me for a long time, but I endlessly appreciate your efforts to keep me from feeling that way.
Finding yourself is hard as a 20-something, and while you have been the most important people in helping me become the person I am now, a part of me needs to try to connect with my birth parents before I can feel like I know who I am.
You told me a while ago that you were wondering when the day would come – the day I would start asking questions and searching for answers to them. When you said that, I realized that this has been hard for me, but it’s probably been hard for you too. I wonder what kinds of things you struggled with but didn’t tell me about? What kinds of questions you have?
Despite everything, I just hope you know that I love you, even if I only say it casually, in the same breath as “bye!”
Even if right now it feels like I’m saying “I love you, but…” I need you to know that everything I’m feeling is not because I don’t love you or because you didn’t love me enough.
We may not be related by blood, but you are always my parents.
I’ve never blamed you. I’ve wanted to, sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly confused or frustrated. But, how could I? I know you were young, and I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. You did what you could, and I appreciate that.
Even though we’ve never met, I feel like I love you too. Not in the same way as my parents, but in some way. You brought me into the world, however it happened, despite how difficult it was.
I think about you often. I wish I knew at least something about you. Where are you now? Do you still know each other? What are your families like?
And do you think of me too? Do you wonder where I am and who I’ve become? Do I have your eyes? Your nose? Your smile? If we met on the street, would you recognize me?
I know closed adoptions are common, especially when they occur internationally. But even though I know that, it still hurts my feelings sometimes. Maybe you don’t want to know me. Maybe you’ll never want any kind of connection with me. I want to be okay with it if that’s the case.
I want to know you, but I don’t want to force myself into your life. I worry. I don’t know how to go about any of this, and I wish I knew where you stood. I wish I had some guidance.
I hope, over anything else, that you’re healthy. That having me and putting me up for adoption didn’t negatively influence your life. You’re my parents too, even if that means something very different for each of us.