Your birth mother will always be my hero.

Dear Molly,

Today we are celebrating your 18th birthday…and I am celebrating you and the extraordinary young woman you have become. Do you remember the story of The Red Thread? According to an ancient Chinese proverb, an invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break. I believe our Red Thread is a result of divine providence. At a time when I desperately needed to be a mother and you desperately needed a forever family…Jehovah provided.

From the very first time I laid eyes on you I knew you were special. When I walked into the room at the Office of Civil Affairs in the Guizhou Province of China, you were sitting on a bed, surrounded by your entourage, eating a cracker. You reminded me of royalty and I remember thinking that you looked like a wise old soul sitting there in your bright yellow snow suit, matching hat, and red shoes. I offered you a toy and after sizing me up, and with a look of total disdain, you turned away and reached for another cracker. Your attendant apologized and explained that I looked different, sounded different, and smelled different than anything you had ever experienced.

After about an hour of pulling my best tricks out of the hat to try and break the ice I simply picked you up and whisked you out of the room onto a balcony, where you proceeded to scream at the top of your lungs. I could see that you were going to be a handful. There was a small bench on the balcony where I sat, with you on my lap facing away from me, and I sang to you, “Beautiful Brown Eyes”, and the crying eventually ceased. As long as I kept the crackers coming and as long as you didn’t have to look at my face you were quiet…but I will never forget “the face” you wore that day. You wanted the world to know that you did not like me one bit and that you did not appreciate that your day was interrupted by such an inconvenience…however, you did like the crackers...which made me wonder if food might be the key to breaking the ice. I was actually very encouraged by your behavior because it said that you were strong and confident, and you knew at the age of eight months how to break the language barrier and express yourself in a meaningful way. I knew that I loved you already but what surprised me at that point was that I actually liked this little person who didn’t like me at all.

When it was time for us to leave you reached for your beloved attendant and she hugged you long and tight and kissed your cheek several times and then turned and walked away. There was sobbing as we said our final goodbyes and we boarded a taxi for the hotel. Through my interpreter your attendant told me to make sure to offer you lots of bananas and oranges, keep you protected from the sun, and bathe you every day. I realized then that you had bonded at an early age, and that meant that you had the capacity to bond again. You had been loved and nurtured by your attendant and I found a tremendous measure of relief and comfort in that realization. I knew that you loved her as well because the doctor who examined you at the consulate’s clinic for your exit visa said that you were asking for her in Mandarin.

For the next two days you showed no emotion, but you were all eyes…taking everything in. You were compliant, you slept well, and you took mealtime very seriously. I knew that you were mourning the loss of your friend and care giver and you had to take the time to work that out. On the third day when you awoke, it was obvious to me that something had changed. You smiled and reached for me and from that moment forward your period of mourning was subsiding and we were inseparable.

You were very bright… but more than that you were insightful. There were some frustrating moments as I dealt with the government officials as well as our adoption agency in the states, and it was during those times that you provided me with comfort and comic relief. You mastered your new language in record time and we even left a voice message for daddy on his answering machine. You opened the message with, “Hi Dada” and closed it with “Bye bye Dada”. I was blown away by that and I have no doubt that it made your dad cry.

I felt sad about taking you away from everything that was familiar to you but I had to believe that it was your birthmother’s desire that you would be adopted. I have done my best to be the kind of mother she would have chosen for you. Your birth mother will always be my hero. She made a sacrifice that answered the prayers of a lifetime. She shared her precious baby girl with me to raise as my own. It is because of her that I am not just a mother…but I am your mother. I am humbled and eternally grateful.

People have always given me kudos for raising you well…but you have free will and I have always given you the latitude to make your own choices. The thing that makes me know in my heart of hearts that you are going to have a good life is that you are a young woman of extraordinary wisdom and deep faith in God. You set the bar high and when I see the fruits of your labor, I want to be more compassionate, more forgiving, and more faithful…I want to be more like you. Molly, I have no doubt that your birth mother would be proud of you and honored to be your mother, just as I am proud and honored to be your mother.

II Timothy 1:7 says the following…”For God hath not promised us a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.” I believe that you exemplify that promise. Your Red Thread can be traced from an abandoned infant in a remote village in Mainland China to the heart of a woman who once gave up on the dream of becoming a mother. My prayers of eighteen years ago have been answered and I am thankful and beyond blessed to have you in my life. Happy 18th Birthday Molly!

I love you,


Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


It is a family tradition to write love letters to one another on holidays and special occasions. I wrote this letter as a tribute to our daughter Molly on her 18th birthday.


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