There comes a time in your life when you realize there are things you need to say. It’s not important that they be heard, only that they be said. Abandoned as an infant, I never got to meet my mom. She died when I was in my twenties. This is a letter to her.

Dear Mom,

Let me start by saying thank you. You gave me life, and that’s a precious gift. I only wish you’d been a part of that life. I can’t imagine what could have brought you to such a decision as to abandon me. But you weren’t the only one who had to live with that decision. As a result, I will always be a motherless child.

When you abandoned me, the State stepped in and placed me in foster care. Because you neglected to relinquish your parental rights, I wasn’t eligible to be placed for adoption. Foster homes would be the closest thing I’d know to “family” throughout my childhood.

The fist “family” I can remember being placed with was when I was eighteen months old. I called them Mommy and Daddy, it was only natural, since they were my caretakers at the time I learned to speak.

If you abandoned me because you thought someone else could take better care of me, you need to know the kind of woman Mommy dearest was. She told me I came from dirt and would only become dirt. She said things like “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” and told me I couldn’t raise myself up by my own bootstraps. She called me “turd bird” and said I was’t worth the salt that goes in my bread. She called me poor little pitiful pearl and sang “Cry Me a River” as I sobbed. She told me if I ever met you, I should spit in your face. But I loved her. She was my mom. Or at least the only mom I’d ever known.

The level of abuse I suffered in that home is unspeakable; unimaginable to most. By the time I was fourteen, the State began to see the situation for what it was, and removed me. I had survived.

I was deemed emotionally disturbed and the State placed me with a few more foster families, offering top dollar to anyone willing to take me in. Finally, after moving to another new town and another new family, I found a home.

They were a young couple with two small boys of their own and a recently adopted baby girl. And they were wonderful. She was a beautiful, vivacious woman, full of laughter and love. He was a handsome, soft-spoken, hard-working man. They were wonderful parents. They loved their children and they loved each other. I wanted them to be mine.

I was damaged goods when I came to them. They knew that. But that never stopped them from loving me and letting me part of their wonderful family. For the first time in my life I felt loved. I call them Mom and Dad.

I’m grown now. I’m a single mom with two sons of my own. I love them in a way that overwhelms me. I celebrate each day of their lives that I’m allowed to share. And they love me. I’m their mom.They trust in the fact that I would never purposely hurt them; I will protect them; I would never abandon them; and that I will forever love them. They can’t imagine how it would feel to be a motherless child. I’m proud of that.

So you see, I survived. I turned out okay. You gave me life. What that life would be was up to me. I’m strong, and good, and smart and happy. And I am a wonderful mom. I love and I am loved. I wish you could have known that while you were alive. And despite whatever pain I’ve endured, I choose to be happy and I want to be whole. And so it’s very important to me that I can finally say the words I most need to say. Mom, I forgive you.

May you rest in peace.

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  • Erin Cree on Jan 7, 2009

    This letter is beautifully written and so moving. Its shocking to read that there are people that foster but have no love for children.
    Best wishes Erin

  • Kim Buck on Jan 8, 2009

    Joni, Joni, Joni…”And so it’s very important to me that I can finally say the words I most need to say. Mom, I forgive you.” – made my heart ache and it shouldn’t have as you have been able to move foward.

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • denus on Jan 14, 2009

    that was really good as always.

    very meaningful

  • Betty Carew on Jan 15, 2009

    Joni, I finally got the time to read your letter. My heart is broken to know that there are people in this world that would be so cruel to a small child. I am so sorry this happened to you. But you can be proud that you did make it through . I am taking this letter to my mom on my next visit I know it will break her heart but she can see the other side of fostering children, I;m sure she never realized that this could happen to anyone.
    Good Bless Joni
    Stay Strong and
    wrap yourself in the love you have now.

  • Sotiris on Jan 27, 2009

    Nice letter. It’s full of emotions. Sorry to hear about the things that happened to you!

  • Sandra Tapia on Feb 16, 2009

    I feel your pain. I’m a firm believer that no one can love your children as well as you can. I survived foster homes as well.

  • Dee on Jan 20, 2010

    Joni, your biological mother’s journey brought you to where you are today. Although we don’t know the whole of your mother’s journey, I cannot imagine that it was not easy…..nor was yours! But where you are today, how wonderful!! May you continue to feel the gifts of God with your two sons, and the continued happiness of future blessings in your life, as well as their lives.
    God bless.
    Dee

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