If you love NBC’s This is Us, you’ll love this tear-jerking letter a mom of an adopted son wrote to his birth mom on her birthday. Art imitates life.
In episode 16 of NBC’s This is Us, William and Randall take a road trip to Memphis. They stop along the way at a tree where the family had scattered some of Jack’s ashes.
William wanted to pay his respects. As William contemplates what a good father Jack must have been to raise Randall to be so faithful, he delivers one of those lines that will sit with you for a long while:
“I would’ve liked to have met my son’s father.”
My family was no stranger to adoption, but it wasn’t until my brother was a dad that he met his birth father. Like the TV drama, the man who gave him life died shortly after their reunion.
But the woman who chose life for my brother still lives. And on her birthday, my mom wrote this tribute letter (below) to her on Facebook.
The message transcends any specifics of any particular story.
She gave me permission to reprint, but I have changed other names to protect privacy, noted with [brackets]. You might want to grab a tissue before you read.
This is Us
Ours was not an open adoption in 1970.
Not until eight years ago when our son received a phone call from his biological dad, did it become open in every way. I continue to look and see the hand of God in this story.
In the beginning, His hand was all over it. My husband and I come from families with no history or experience with adoption. But when we were dating we decided this would be something we would do. I believe God put this on our young, tender hearts.
[Ann] was a child at the time.
When our first child turned two we decided it was time to apply for our first adoption. We were told it would be a lengthy wait, but instead, we brought our son home in less than six months.
21 months later he became a middle child when our second son was born to us. We decided we could not afford to adopt #4 and so we turned to foster work for a few years.
Every person involved in any adoption story has a unique perspective.
I’m not sure there are words to tell mine but it can be summed up in a phrase we often said, “One of our children is adopted, but we can’t remember which.”
As he grew up, my only concern with the fact he was adopted was how it was affecting and would affect him. I could easily forget that I didn’t give him birth.
As America sits mesmerized on Tuesday nights by the family drama This is Us my family searches for truth in Randall’s adoption story. So far there has been much truth there.
Nuzzling, cuddling, feeding, bathing and training a child from birth will make you fall in love with him immediately. Calling him “son” makes him yours in every sense of the word.
But the truth that only the parents (like Jack on This Is Us) who have both adopted children and birth children know is that there really is no difference.
Yes, their eyes are different colors (sometimes their skin) and the talents (gifts) that emerge are different. And your heart aches when you know they are searching for glimpses of biological inheritance and find none.
But when your sons are playing baseball or instruments in a jazz band or when they are involved in a tragic auto accident, your mind NEVER separates them into “adopted” and “natural.”
Never. Never. Never!
God never separates His children into “begotten” and “adopted.”
However, there is a difference.
There came a time when only the begotten could save the adopted. And so He did.
Last week, (back to the TV show) Randall had a breakdown. We had seen it coming for weeks. He was overloaded. His brother, Kevin, was in the middle of a dream-come-true as he was opening on stage for the first time.
A few minutes before the curtain went up Kevin got a call from Randall saying he could not make the debut. Kevin recognized the anxiety in his brother’s voice and he remembered how their dad (now deceased) once calmed Randall.
Kevin was confused and as the curtain was coming up on his lifetime dream, someone asked what he was thinking and he said, “I’m thinking what would my dad do.”
He then left the theater and went to be with Randall and do what his dad would have done.
The begotten went to comfort the adopted.
But there were no labels.
They were just brothers.
Truth:[Ann] and those like her are the ones — the only ones — who can understand the cost of choosing to give up a begotten child. I have never had to do that.
She better understands the sacrifice our heavenly Father made to send His Son to us.
I am thankful today she is living the rest of the story in sweet reunion.
My prayer is that God will continue to use “our” story to show the truth in His love for us, the truth of what family really is and can be. And I am thankful that we four parents have had a glimpse into the heart of God as we have either given up or adopted a child of our own.
Happy Birthday to [Ann], my special friend and sojourner.
God blessed us both to be part of a story He continues to write. I am thankful your sorrow has been turned into joy. Have a lovely day!
I don’t have anything to add to my mother’s beautiful words, so I’ll sign off here.
Encouragement for moms can be hard to find.
You’ll be reminded why everything you do matters for God and for your family.