A Letter to My Son’s First Mom on Mother’s Day


Dear First Mom,

You’ve been on my mind a lot these past few weeks. With our adopted son, Oliver’s birthday at the end of April, and Mother’s Day here, I find myself thinking about his first mom, or his “China Mom,” as we call you, and the list of things I’d love to ask you and tell you about the amazing boy I have the honor and privilege to mother.

first mom

It seems that my list of questions grows each month. As he continues to shed his baby weight and his features become more pronounced, I wonder if his sweet nose looks more like his China mom or his China dad. Are his bushy eyebrows like his China grandfather? And what about his crazy toenails? Is that a trait that runs in the family? Oliver loves to make us laugh. He imitates and exaggerates, and it’s hilarious. I wonder, does he have biological siblings who do the same?

Of course, I also have a million “why” questions, too, but the answers to those are far less fun to think about than the facial features and personality traits. The “why” questions matter, maybe even more than the others, but because I know we’ll likely never get answers to either, I often find myself filling in the blanks, just as I’m sure our son will do as he gets older. The potential answers to these questions are heartbreaking, and I can’t image the pain that must consume you around this time every year. I can’t imagine.

Regardless of the “whys,” please know that you are a hero in our home. We speak of you with reverence and gratefulness, and we celebrate you every year on Birth Mother’s Day. We talk about how smart you must be – and beautiful too. As our son gets older and the hard questions about his first mom are asked, I promise we will lace our honesty with grace and love.

I’d love to show you how Oliver climbs the play structure at the park and slides down the fire pole, one hand and all. I wish you could hear him slurp his soup and sing “The Wheels on the Bus.” You’d giggle, just as I do, at the smell of syrup on his hand after sneaking into the fridge (maple syrup is his favorite food). I’m sure you must wonder about him all the time. I can’t imagine the weight of worry and guilt you must carry, and I wish more than anything that I could sit with you and assure you that our son is good and safe and so very loved and wanted.

My prayer for you on this Mother’s Day, is that somehow, in the midst of your grief and pain, you’ll feel a new sense of peace and hope as you think of our son. Thank you for giving him life. Thank you for caring for him so well while he grew inside of you. It is my pleasure and honor and joy to be his mom. 



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Amber is wife to her elementary school crush and mother to three kiddos, ages 10, 7, and 4. Having recently moved to Portland from California, Amber is embracing her “new normal” as she navigates parks in the rain (bring a towel), the line outside Pip’s Donuts (it’s worth it), and where to find good Mexican food (still searching). As bio mom to her two oldest and adoptive mom to her youngest, special needs child, Amber understands and appreciates the importance of “mommy-time." Amber is also a grad student and soon-to-be Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapist. She shares the highlights and gems of what she's learning on her Instagram: @learnandliveproject.