Dear Birthparents, Our Missing Villagers,

October 31, 2015 birth family, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, Rebecca 6 Comments

The village it’s taken to build our family is a wide circle.

It took a village of family, friends, adoption agencies, social workers, US and Chinese government agencies, donors, an adoption support group, grant ministries and orphan advocates to get our three China babies home.

It took a village of nannies, nurses, a healing home, orphanage directors, cooks, Half the Sky and Love Without Boundaries to care for our China babies before we could get to them.

It took a village of tour guides, drivers, hotel staff, and family at home to help us meet our China babies and navigate in China.

It now takes a village of friends, family, teachers, online adoptive momma friends, therapists, surgeons, specialists, lab workers, x-ray techs, and nurses to help us heal, teach, love and parent our China babies here at home.

But then there is you. The birth family.

The rest of the villagers get more attention, but you are the reason why the crowd of witnesses can exist. The miracles were birthed in you. I don’t know why it unfolded as it did, but I know that three almond eyed loves call me mom because of the life you gave them and the sacrifices you made.

You are our missing villagers. The mothers. The fathers. The siblings. The extended family.

That the women who birthed our babies are not present in their lives is a truth I can scarcely bear. It’s too heavy for my heart and too unfathomable for my head. It’s a fallen world that we live in when mommas can’t hold their babies and love them into adulthood. It’s broken when children will never know the guiding hand of their biological fathers, or listen to the old stories of their grandparents. When siblings will never play together, or even meet.


Our three China babies are too young to make sense of you. They know they are adopted and have China mommas. They know the facts, but grasping that they have flesh and blood birth families living on the other side of the globe is another matter.

I’d like to send a message over the miles, the separation, the culture differences, the loss and the circumstances to tell you that though you are missing in physical form, you are in the circle still.

I’ll admit that I’ve felt a flurry of mixed-up emotions when thinking of you. They are not all pretty, processed or ironed into fair just yet. Mostly, I am deeply sad for your unfathomable loss. For the gift you were given, but then had to release. I think on how you came to the decision, what the circumstances were, where you were, and what you felt. Were you forced or was it the only option? Did gender or medical needs make the decision for you?

It’s hard not to dream up romantic stories. I believe most mothers’ hearts are loving, but I attempt to not fill in details, because the opening chapters are yours and not ours.
Our relationship is complicated, yours and mine.

The momma bear in me has felt heavy with anger over the disparity between what should be and what is for my children. Anger at you. Anger at your family. Anger at a culture that has allowed this to be commonplace. Anger at a medical system failing families needing help. Anger at the brokenness flowing deep and wide through humanity. Anger at myself for feeling angry.

I’ve felt a cavern of grief. Grief for the gift that you were given in these precious soles, but then had to release. Grief for the labor you bore to deliver them from womb to world and then from your arms to mine. Grief for the anguish you must have felt when you first saw a cleft lip or heard the words sick and fragile. Grief for the series of choices you had to make. Grief for the moment the decision was made, and for final moments together. Grief for every day you can’t know what amazing people they are becoming.


We don’t know you and you don’t know us, but you are villagers still.

We talk about you. We pray for you. We wonder about you. Truth be told, sometimes we get about the business of living and forget that these little people weren’t birthed to us naturally. We don’t notice that their skin is a shade darker, their hair a bit straighter and their features not matching our own. They are just our kids, until we remember that they are your kids too.

Sometimes people ask about their “real parents”. Reminded again of loss and love, we respond imperfectly, but intentionally. Into little confused souls we state the facts. You are real and we are too. They have two real families, both bringing life, one in the beginning and the other for a lifetime. One in China, one across the breakfast table.

Birth family, know that in our less than perfect way, we attempt to honor you. Our family is a family of six because your sacrifices afforded us the gift of two daughters and a son.

We promise to keep praying and processing through our emotions and thoughts. As they grow older and their questions get harder, we’ll do our broken best.

We don’t know you and you don’t know us, but you are villagers still.

6 responses to “Dear Birthparents, Our Missing Villagers,”

  1. Julie Simmons says:

    Beautiful. Thank you so much for this.

  2. Janice Wilis says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Your words conveyed the bittersweet emotions beautifully.

  3. Stephanie Coston says:

    Beautifully said. We try, like you, to tell an honest story. All we know for certain is that we are eternally grateful.

  4. pd says:

    I suppose one might say that the village was never *there* for the birthparents.

  5. JohnDyess says:

    What a poignant, beautifully written expression of what is in your heart. Those children are blessed and so am I from reading this.

    What a team you, your husband and children make.

  6. Kim L says:

    Even though you may never know their stories, know that it takes a lot of courage to choose adoption, in a world that pushes abortion. Praise God for those parents who chose life for their children, knowing they would not be able to be there to raise them.

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