"Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man. "- Freidrich Nietzche

She had hope, you know.

Good old fashion hope. The kind of hope that envelopes your entire being and makes you believe that everything you can or do wish for will eventually happen.

She believed them. She trusted them. She was assured the feeling inside her, the longing, the ache, the love would always be felt by her child. She believed her child would love her and miss her as much as she would miss her child.

She had hope.

When she wrote that letter to her child, that letter that she copied in duplicate to keep for herself, she had hope that it would be given to her child. She wrote that letter with care making sure to dot her i’s and cross her t’s. She had picked out pretty pastel green paper.She made sure her writing was legible but still flowing and pretty. It was seventeen year old girl writing. Curly q’s and swirly g’s swooped below the lines.

They said the letter would be given to the child when the child was eighteen. They said it would be given to the new parents, those wealthy, worthy, perfect married people that would raise her child. They would keep it safe and give it to her when she turned eighteen.

She had hope.

She had hope that letter would be given and opened eighteen years later and all that hope and love would spill out and her child would feel loved and warm and know from the tips of her fingers to the bottom of her toes that her mother loved her. It was a time capsule of a mothers love. Intended for only one person yet passed through the hands of many.  Intended to rest in the hands of a young girl who longs to know about her mother.

They fed her hope. The assured her it would be okay. It would be fine. It was good. It was right. This was the right thing to do. You will see her again. The parents will welcome you. You will be able to know how she is and what she looks like. We are sure of it, they said.  We promise you.

When she cried and her hand wavered and she felt she could not finish the letter, the caseworkers assuring words rang in her ears. The right thing to do, caseworker said. It occurred to her that if giving away her baby was the right thing to do, then keeping was the wrong thing. She had already done all those wrong things. She could fix everything. She hoped.


When she filled out that waiver of confidentiality she believed, completely, that it meant that her child would be able to find her. She was giving permission. She wanted to be found. Her daughter would also be given these papers and she could find her. She would want to. They would be back together. Reunited.

They told her it worked that way. Filling out the form, giving permission, not hiding, being open and honest and filled with hope.

It would be okay. They said so. Your child will get this letter and this waiver and she will be happy to find you. She will want to.  She will be fine.

She had hope.

It would be many years before she realized the truth. It would be many sleepless nights and many angry wall punches and years of therapy before she realized what she really had.

False hope.

11 Thoughts.

  1. S didn’t get my letter either. I wonder if they took all our letters and when they needed to remind themselves how easily they brainwashed and coerced these young “hopeful” girls, they sat around and read them. I’m being facetious of course, but one has to wonder how they sleep at night.
    Much love,

  2. God how much I wished they’d give me the letter my mom wrote!!!
    Hugs to that 17-year-old young woman who was doing everything “right” in order to avoid a wrong. And hugs to the part that carries the pain. You are a brave woman!
    I know nothing can take away your heartache, but I believe by your expressing it, others can learn from it. Not only those who have made the same choice, but those of us who long for a connection that we too will never see. And there are many making the same decision now who I am sure are influenced by your words. I know it is excruciating, and it sounds like this week especially so. But through your experience perhaps others may be convinced to take a different path…

  3. They did the same to Deb, she left a letter and a beautiful white blanket for Tara-ann, that we never knew about, nor received. She also wrote letters to here throughout the years, sending them to the agency who told her that they would be sent when on her Eighteen birthday – never happened either.
    How I wish they had given us those letters. I feel that all adoptee’s have the right to know first hand in their mothers own words just how much they were and will always be loved. Plus, know all the sacrifices they made, or were forced to make in order to give them life. Sad and so very wrong!

  4. Same thing happened to me. I left something for my son. He never got it.
    Boy they sure had us fooled. Sometimes I think that is part of the resistance to reunion, a lot of dubious practices, in addition to the big dubious practice, just might come to light.
    And as I have mentioned before, mine was a government run agency not a for profit organization.

  5. I am so deeply sorry for all of you that were promised vital basics that both you and child needed thru time and did not receive. While I lost my son to adoption, I did receive letters and pictures for the first year of his life and again when I had the courage to ask for more when he was five years old. My son was also given the stuffed bunny we sent to him on his first christmas and he had that his whole life and knew that it was from his “other mom and dad”. In fact the first time our son visited us upon reunion earlier this year he brought with him his bunny and the harmonica we sent him on his first birthday as well. He told me how every single day before he went to school he would go back to his room and stroke the bunny’s ears to say good-bye before leaving for the day. He may have been apart from us, and living with people who were not his flesh and blood, but he did know that the people who were his flesh and blood loved him and thought of him and i cannot help but believe that this is what has enabled us to have the reunion we are in now. It does not take away the pain that he is not with us every day, for us or for him, it does not diminish the loss of him, and it does not give us back the 18 and a half years we were without him, but it does give us a foundation to work on for the future.
    All of you should have had at least that too.
    Be well,

  6. I have been tempted to say this a couple of times so here it is.
    As long as everyone is still alive there is hope.
    Denise you brought tears to my eyes. My son, who spent time in Europe in the summer, said he used to look out at the Atlantic towards North America and wonder where I was. Would that he had had a token to know I had never forgotten him.

  7. This is a stunning and heartbreaking post, Suz. The quote — “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man.” — really got to me.
    I wasn’t given any hope of reconnecting when I surrendered my son. No gift or letter or promise that he could find me when he reached 18. In fact, quite the opposite. It was made clear that our connection was over, forever. Maybe not having the expectation of seeing him again or him wanting to know me made it easier. I don’t know, because it certainly wasn’t easy living without him for all those years.
    The only hope I held onto was that he would have a better life without me. When he didn’t, not a good life at all, my hopes were shattered.
    God, this whole freakin’ thing makes me so angry!!!

  8. Letters and gifts… I sent them as well, it makes me sad that they were hidden from my daughter and she found them by accident. Why? That is the only question I really want answered. Why the hell do they do these things?

  9. Why? Always the unanaswered question! I wrote letters to Ta…when she was born and again as she grew older. I left a blanket for her. Promises that she would receive all of them. Never to happen. I am suppose to be thankful that she did receive the bear that I left for her…and I am! I am also angry that she didn’t receive the letters and blanket. I guess I am consumed by a lot of anger these days, more than in the past!

  10. They kept the letter and let her read it when she was 16. As far as I know she never knew the handmade blanket was from me and I don’t think she got the other things I made for her.
    I read the letter again and all I see is a brainwashed deluded girl making feeble excuses. I even said that my parents were very kind….
    I’m so glad I’m not there anymore, what a painful time it was being pregnant and alone. Just horrible. A real nightmare.

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