Your wife and I had a instant connection, maybe it was because we are both women or maybe it was because we both understood similar griefs. As a matter of fact your letter to birthmothers is what help draw me to your family in the first place. I needed to know that not just the mother, but also the father who was adopting my child, could have some sort of empathy towards me. Not sympathy. I didn't want you to feel sorry for me, I wanted you to just feel for me. In the letter you made mention about when you discovered that conceiving a biological child would be impossible, you felt like something was stolen from you. That was it! You got it! But if you 'got it' than why was it awkward for me the first time we met?
I practically had no choice on our first face to face. Christine pulled me close to her chest and squeezed, almost refusing to let go! I was comfortable there, not like we meeting for the first time but instead reuniting. Me and you, we shook hands. Why is it that I could not hug you with the same natural effort as Christine? Again, maybe its because we are both women. No, I know that's what it was.
I was raised to believe that a man and woman could not have a friendship. Men and women naturally have 'feelings' for each other, and not friendships. That a platonic relationships between men and women are impossible. When humans "fall in love", it's a romantic gesture.
I cannot speak for you about how you felt that day, but I wanted to make sure that absolutely no feelings for you were started. They didn't. However, that lead to me to build a wall against you. For that, I am truly sorry. So so sorry. Despite my resistance, it did not stop you from loving me. As my belly continued to swell, I was aware of the love but confused on how to accept it.
The wall I had built up around you was shaken on the day of placement. You embraced me the way a father would. I was being cradled by my daughter's father and I felt your love for me so strongly, that for a moment I let my wall down. I allowed myself to feel loved by a man whom did not and will never have romantic feelings for me. And it was okay, better than okay, it was essential! If not for the love that I felt by both you and Christine that day, my path towards healing would have been much longer.
It's been over 8 years and the open relationship I have our daughter has been amazing. I witnessed you taking her to the temple and blessing her. I have seen you play princess games and make amazing shape pancakes. I have seen you patiently teach her the value of hard work and discipline. I have heard the silly names and songs you exchange. I saw you baptize her and confirm her a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I continued to fight this love and keep my wall strong because I was still afraid of how other people would misinterpret.
The other day we had dinner together; Me, a friend of mine, you and Christine. Like always, adoption was being discussed. You made mention to the miracle of Christine's pregnancies, which has given you guys many opportunities. One being able to see more clearly what I, as a birthmother, went through. Carrying a baby for 9 months, hours of labor, and that instant love; only to choose to place her in the arms of another woman 4 days later. Insinuating how the sacrifice of a birthmother was something great, you made silly bowing motion in my direction. We had a good laugh.
My immediate response was just a formality, "Oh silly Matt." Brushing it off in my head. But this reminded me of something, of how I felt about you when I first learned of you. You were and still are capable of empathy, which I loved about you. The experience of your wife bearing children only gave you a clearer understanding of that empathy. I read this quote by Shim Stewart, (I have no idea who that is) “Loving you as my friend is one of the best parts of my life's story. Because, one day, you will know that friends is much better than a broken relationship." Building that wall could have potentially built a broken relationship and for that, I am sorry. The silly bowing motion gave me a clearer understanding about two things; 1. That you understood that we can love each other. And 2. I have loved you from the beginning because because of your empathy and because of the love you have always given me.After dinner, I hugged you. For the first time I hugged you without any tension. That night my wall was brought down as hard and fervently as the Berlin wall.
Matt, thank you for loving my daughter. Thank you for raising her better than I knew how. Thank you for loving me. Matt, I love you. If people misinterpret that, well than, that's because they are unwilling to learn the different aspects of love. It's something they can dwell on, because I refuse to anymore. Thank you being my friend. Thank you for being my father's daughter.