She was a seventeen-year-old with love on her mind. Her nice-looking boyfriend convinced her that he would be around forever. They would marry. They would grow old together.

It was the same song and dance you’ve heard a hundred times.

But promises changed when she developed morning sickness.

She broke the news to him on a school night. They were in the car together.

“I’m pregnant,” she said.

He didn’t answer. He only stared forward and grit his teeth. He called her a bad name. He told her he didn’t want any “damn baby.”

It shattered her. It was her baby.

She jumped out of the car and walked home. They never spoke again.

That was a hard time.

And her parents only made it harder. When she told them she was planning on keeping the baby, they erupted in a mushroom cloud.

Her mother wanted her to get the pregnancy “managed.” Her father didn’t care what she did as long as she got rid of it via adoption.

They forced her. And because seventeen-year-olds are supposed to do what their parents tell them, she agreed.

She had a girl. And for many years that was all she remembered. She never saw the hair color, eye color, or chubby fingers. She only saw a newborn from a distance. Her parents didn’t want her to see the baby.

When nurses took the infant away it wasn’t a pretty scene.

“My baby!” she yelled until her voice gave out. “My baby, my baby!”

She bawled for years. A piece of her body had been stolen. Her biggest part. She felt like her entire person had been cut into sections and auctioned off to the highest bidder.

But seventeen-year-olds eventually grow up. Even sad ones. And kids turn into adults.

She went to college. She became a woman with a good career. She found a nice life, a man who loved her, and in time she had more children. Two boys.

But she never quit thinking about the girl she’d given away.

And she never quit wondering. That’s what all mothers do. She wondered what the girl looked like. What color her hair was. Was she a good athlete? Did she have posters on her bedroom walls?

And when nobody was around, she cried for a child she never knew.

Forty years. That’s a long time. Long enough to become someone else. Long enough for a wound to scab. But not long enough to forget.

She had a dream. It woke her from a heavy sleep. The dream was a strange and serious one. In the dream, she saw a beautiful blonde, tall, graceful. She couldn’t make out the woman’s features, but she knew who it was.

“My baby,” she said to the woman in the dream. “My baby.”

She thought about that for weeks. Weeks turned into years.

One day, she received a phone call. The man’s first words were, “Hi, I think you might be my wife’s biological mother.”

The next voice on the phone was a woman’s.

They met in a crowded restaurant. There were people everywhere. Families, children, and young couples.

She arrived early for lunch. She inspected every face in the place. Then, she saw a blonde woman. All forty-some years of saltwater fell from her eyes.

Nobody said anything. They only embraced. Customers in the restaurant gawked. A missing piece of her body fell back into place.

“Hi,” said the beautiful blonde.

“My baby,” said the woman.

My baby.

55 comments

  1. David Charles Clubb - August 23, 2022 8:54 am

    Every kid needs their Mama. And deep down inside, we’re all just kids.

    Reply
    • Carol from GA - August 23, 2022 9:11 am

      Love this response… so true!!

      Reply
    • Desertshire - August 23, 2022 1:54 pm

      So True David Charles Clubb.

      Reply
    • Joyce Bennett - August 23, 2022 5:50 pm

      Very well said…I’m 75 and miss my Mama!

      Reply
  2. Carol from GA - August 23, 2022 9:09 am

    Sean… it’s 5am and now I’m a crying mess! I agree with David Clubb’s comment… “every kid needs their Mama”.

    Reply
  3. Ed (Bear) - August 23, 2022 9:15 am

    And every moma needs their kids.

    Reply
  4. C Gardner - August 23, 2022 10:12 am

    Beautiful.

    Reply
  5. Lucetia Jones - August 23, 2022 10:54 am

    Thank you, Sean.

    Reply
  6. Paul McCutchen - August 23, 2022 11:20 am

    Thanks Sean, another morning I don’t have to use my eyedrops. Natural tears are always better. Just like a mom.

    Reply
  7. Patricia Collins - August 23, 2022 11:23 am

    Oh how things have changed in this world. Now kids are having babies without the concept of a daddy being in the picture. I admire the young woman in your story but I also have to say I’m grateful to my parents for putting work toward 50+ years of marriage. I had a wonderful daddy and I could not have imagined growing up without him !

    Reply
  8. Kathy - August 23, 2022 11:25 am

    Sean you just told my story. Except for the reunion part.

    Reply
    • Ed (Bear) - August 23, 2022 11:47 am

      Hi Kathy, I’m sorry and I might know how you feel but in a very different light. I left my mama when I was 17 and rarely saw her after that. But it was my own doing. I don’t feel good about it and never will unless I get to see her in Heaven. I think in Heaven, we will both be able to reconcile.

      Reply
    • Alice - August 23, 2022 6:45 pm

      Kathy Please see my comment farther down. I hope it will help you to know many adoptive moms experience that same deep longing for what feels like a missing piece of their hearts. I encouraged my adopted son to search for his birth mom because I felt in my spirit that both of them needed that reunion but this far he has not followed through. May God give you peace and reassurance.

      Reply
  9. Paula - August 23, 2022 11:36 am

    Beautiful, I am so thankful for my daughter. Both of my children are by another mother and I am so grateful to her.

    Reply
  10. Joy Jacobs - August 23, 2022 11:45 am

    A mother never forgets. ❤️

    My brother is adopted and our mom found and contacted his birth mother when he was about 25, my parents knew her name. His birth mother had married but went back to her maiden name upon divorce so my brother could find her. She never had any other children. He has a great relationship with her. Recently he found his birth father through DNA but he had died. He met his half sister and has contacted others in his birth father’s family.

    I asked my daughter’s boyfriend if he would want to find his birth parents and he said “no” that he had a great childhood and parents. But still I know his birth mother has never forgotten him, and I do feel sad for her. ❤️

    Reply
  11. Donna Albrecht - August 23, 2022 11:48 am

    Before We Were Yours
    By Lisa Wingate
    A wonderful novel based on the depression era baby marketing and corrupt adoption agencies in the USA.

    Reply
  12. 1018le - August 23, 2022 12:03 pm

    Sean! How can words you share paint such a realistic picture…and I am sure it is real, more often than we know! This story will stay with me through the day, as I realize that often, the person we see who is sad has just such a story or one that is also sad. May it help me and others to be more compassionate! Thanks for your words! 🙂

    Reply
  13. Anne Arthur - August 23, 2022 12:11 pm

    Moms never forget the child they’ve carried. Therefore, we always have to support mothers, no matter the circumstances.
    Beautifully written, Sean.

    Reply
  14. Gdbritt - August 23, 2022 12:15 pm

    What a wonderful story! I’m so glad for your Mama.

    Reply
  15. Linda Lewis - August 23, 2022 12:16 pm

    Oh, wow! I loved this story. It touched my soul. My heart was overwhelmed. Keep up your wonderful writing. Thank you.

    Reply
  16. Pondcrane - August 23, 2022 12:25 pm

    This would have happened to me and my baby, in 1976 if not for GOOD godly women. I love them dearly.

    Reply
  17. Sean of the South: Mama | The Trussville Tribune - August 23, 2022 12:37 pm

    […] By Sean Dietrich, Sean of the South […]

    Reply
  18. Joy Hunter - August 23, 2022 12:47 pm

    So beautiful, Sean. Thank you.

    Reply
  19. Pam Williams - August 23, 2022 1:00 pm

    ♥️

    Reply
  20. sjhl7 - August 23, 2022 1:03 pm

    Such a sad, beautiful story. Unfortunately, there have been many such stories. So glad this one had a happy ending! Thank you, Sean!

    Reply
  21. David Britnell - August 23, 2022 1:30 pm

    I’m all teary eyed again! I’m going to a “Gotcha” celebration today for 2 beautiful children. I have been wondering how anyone could give them up but after reading this story I now realize that we don’t know what goes on in someone’s heart and mind when giving up a child. Thanks Sean. I sure do appreciate you!

    Reply
  22. Lyn Brown - August 23, 2022 1:31 pm

    Well, that was a good cry.

    Reply
  23. Jack - August 23, 2022 1:36 pm

    Lyn, I can attest to that. Thank you Sean.

    Reply
  24. Brenda Hittle - August 23, 2022 1:42 pm

    Beautiful. What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing, Mama.
    I also had my first child at 17. A boy born in 1970. Small town whispers still haunt me. His dad & I did get married but shouldn’t have. Long story. Vietnam. PTSD. Abuse. Divorce.
    But God: been married to the best dad I could have ever asked for -43 years now. When God sends them they stay.

    Reply
  25. Beverly - August 23, 2022 1:51 pm

    I cried. So tragic what her parents did to her. I’m grateful the daughter wanted to know her mother so this poor soul can now have peace.

    Reply
  26. Joy - August 23, 2022 1:51 pm

    This could have been my cousin’s story. She found her beautiful daughter eighteen years later. I would’ve known her on the street. She is a smitten image of her mama. Unfortunately, my cousin passed away a few years ago, at age 53. I stay in touch with her daughter and love watching her raise her four children.

    Reply
  27. Joy - August 23, 2022 1:54 pm

    My story took me 62 years to come full circle. Hazel was 19 and didn’t tell anyone that she was pregnant, she knew her family wouldn’t approve. She was poor and the boyfriend had other plans. She found a job as a nanny in another state and took a long bus ride in hopes of keeping her baby. But the job fell through and she was alone, broke, and pregnant. There was a couple who knew Hazel’s landlord. They had lost two babies and were hoping desperately to adopt a healthy baby. Hazel chose to give her baby up so that she could have a better life than Hazel could provide. It was a courageous and selfless act that I was finally able to thank Hazel for 62 years later. She also never forgot the baby girl that will always be a part of her.

    Reply
  28. Carmen - August 23, 2022 2:13 pm

    One of your very best, IF not the best.
    So thankful those two got to meet. Her baby.

    Reply
  29. Gigi - August 23, 2022 2:17 pm

    Poignant story with a happy ending, and I love happy endings! You brought tears to my eyes Sean.

    Reply
  30. Ann Davis - August 23, 2022 2:33 pm

    This brought so many tears to my eyes. It didn’t happen to me but I know of so many “girls” that it did happen to. It’s amazing how you know the exact words to express what they were feeling as I imagine you were right on every feeling. Beautifully written.

    Reply
  31. Bryan - August 23, 2022 2:38 pm

    That was moving beyond words. Nothing to add.

    Reply
  32. Bettina Peyton - August 23, 2022 2:56 pm

    Every story you tell pours so much love into this world.

    Reply
  33. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - August 23, 2022 4:13 pm

    ❤️

    Reply
  34. Alice - August 23, 2022 5:29 pm

    I cannot speak for this mama but I instinctively know you got it right. Those feelings are very close to those of many women who feel the loss because they long for what she had to give up. Many of us feel as if a piece of us is missing. Until that precious baby that she gave up because she was forced to or she simply couldn’t take care of his/her needs was placed in our arms…..and the hole in our hearts was filled. Most of us adoptive mothers absolutely know the depth of your pain dear birth mothers.

    Reply
  35. Sheri Musselman - August 23, 2022 6:58 pm

    Great! Now I’m bawling at the office. You should post warnings! Spent 10 years as an adoption paralegal and this hits the mark.

    Reply
  36. Abbe Laboda - August 23, 2022 7:21 pm

    OMG just beautiful, crying now…

    Reply
  37. BranWick - August 23, 2022 8:07 pm

    This is devastatingly beautiful. Can’t see for the tears …

    Reply
  38. PAPA - August 23, 2022 8:53 pm

    A little over a year ago I got an email: “Hi, my name is Cxxxxxx. I’m from Brazil. Sorry to bother you and I’ll understand completely if you don’t want to answer, but I was wondering if you knew my mother in 1987.”

    I’ll make it short. Yes, I’d known her mother. The details are beside the point.

    We’ve spent the last year getting to know each other over a two hour weekly Zoom call. Her mother had hidden her pregnancy until the last minute because she knew her mother would insist on an abortion. She carried her to term, loved her and raised an absolutely magnificent human being. Cxxxxx’s working on her PHD in philosophy, works for a publisher translating from English to Portuguese, and is a literary critic for one of Brazil’s largest newspapers.

    On her birthday this year I realized something, something that codifies Mama’s experience and your telling of it:

    Every parent’s greatest fear is the loss of a child (I have two other girls for whom I live). But there’s a very real corollary:

    The untold joy in finding one. Now I have three girls for whom I live.

    Thank you, Sean. I read you first thing every morning. As others have said, this is one of your best. It certainly hit home.

    Reply
  39. pattymack43 - August 23, 2022 9:23 pm

    As the Mom of 2 adopted sons, I often think about and pray for the biological Moms of my sons. Thank you for writing this, today. May every woman who has had to give up a child (for whatever reason), know that there is a “counterpart” who gives thanks for her.

    Reply
  40. MAM - August 23, 2022 9:52 pm

    Saltwater fell from my eyes, too. Sean, it has to be God speaking to us through your fingers that makes your messages so real. We can picture them all the way through. Sean, you are absolutely the most talented writer I know who spreads joy and hope throughout our world every day. Thank you!

    Reply
  41. Linda Moon - August 23, 2022 9:59 pm

    “Baby Girl”. That’s still what I call my beautiful blond daughter after all these years. I can only imagine the embrace from missing years of love between Mama and her baby. What a wonderful mother and child reunion!

    Reply
  42. Lynn - August 23, 2022 10:50 pm

    I just boosted the stock value of Kleenex. ❤️

    Reply
  43. patriciasimmonstaylor - August 23, 2022 11:21 pm

    What a wonderful story despite all the tears and wondering. It took forty years but she got her baby back! God’s perfect timing! What a blessing! One of your best stories…thank you Sean!

    Reply
  44. Cindy S Moon - August 23, 2022 11:55 pm

    I love this!

    Reply
  45. suzlcahill - August 24, 2022 1:14 am

    Oh my. Waterfalls here.

    Reply
  46. Patricia Gibson - August 24, 2022 1:58 am

    So sad when mothers are forced to give up their child. So glad this Mom and daughter were United❤️

    Reply
  47. davidpbfeder - August 24, 2022 4:29 am

    Thanks for making a 64-year-old curmudgeon tear up.

    Reply
  48. Dee Thompson - August 24, 2022 1:55 pm

    As the mom of two adopted kids I can tell you that the separation from a birthmom is a profound loss for everyone involved. My kids were older when I adopted them and had been severely neglected and abused but they still will always feel grief for that loss. It transcends everything…

    Reply
  49. DiAn - August 24, 2022 3:39 pm

    WOW! This column hit me exactly where I needed. THANK YOU, Sean! Change the words from the Dad to a fearful, “I just don’t know . . .” and this could be my story too. But I prefer the Happy Ending – instead of mystery. Thanks for bravely giving us all a really Good and true story.
    – K. D. Kempf Jones

    Reply

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