Today is my birthday. And like each birthday before there is a part of this day that takes me to thoughts of my mother. Not the mother who raised me (alongside my father), who taught me to walk, talk, who celebrated all my accomplishments, and helped me tackle obstacles in my life with grace and perseverance. Instead, my thoughts turn to the mother who gave me life .

I am adopted .

I was adopted as an infant and never met my biological mother. I know next to nothing about her, except that she was 16 years old and not ready to be a mom.

Growing up I thought very little of this fact about myself. It was just another sentence I learned. “I'm adopted." It carried very little meaning to me, and I think it's because I was adopted into a loving and caring family who provided me with every want a child could ask for. I never felt different or like an outsider in my family. My mind never wandered to thoughts of another family, a 'blood' family.

As a child I was, and to this day, loved beyond measure.

Then I became a mom.

And my first birthday after becoming a mom it hit me like a ton of bricks—sadness. I have never been angry at my biological mother or have never felt abandoned or unwanted. But for the first time, I felt such immense sadness for her.

I thought, "How did she do this? HOW DID SHE HAVE THE STRENGTH?" I couldn't bear the thought of ever handing over any of my children to never see them again, to never know what would become of their lives, the people they would become, the joys they would experience and the suffering I would help them get through. I couldn't imagine my child roaming this earth and not knowing me and me not knowing them.

It's with that sadness that I also developed a deep sense of gratitude for what she did. And maybe she didn't feel the sadness I imagine for my own self as a mother giving up a child? There's a part of me that likes to think maybe she felt some happiness in knowing she was providing something greater for me than herself.

If I could meet her and know her today, it wouldn't be enough to thank her. She has my unconditional love for not only giving me the very air I breathe but for being able to say goodbye so that I could have the best life possible.

It's mothers like her who every day make what I believe has to be the hardest decision of one's life, to give up a child . A child who is nurtured from day one growing inside a mother to the moment they enter this world.

To this mother, I am eternally grateful and indebted to. And I may never know how easy or how hard it was for her to give me away, but she will always be dear to me, and on my birthday she will never be far from my mind.

Because with her goodbye she gave me my greatest hello .

Originally posted on World's Average Mom .

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