Letter to an Adopted Teen

 Dear Caitlyn (or Anthony, Rachel, Matthew, Lilah or Jake),

I remember your birth mother. 


When I knew her, she was small and quiet, polite and sad.  She wanted you to have things she couldn’t provide then.  That doesn’t mean she hasn’t changed, hasn’t grown up, hasn’t thought of you ever again since the day she signed her name to important papers in my office just days after you were born.


Even when other people in her life thought she should forget all about you – when her new boyfriend tore up the only picture she had of you and she asked me to look through all the negatives of babies’ pictures I kept, looking for YOU – she remembered you and hid the memory of you away in a private part of her heart.


For a few years she would call me around the time of your birthday.  She wanted to make a connection to the last person she knew who knew you, too.   She tried to follow the advice of some relative, to “forget you ever had that baby.”  When she couldn’t forget, she thought there must be something wrong with her.


Eventually she ‘moved on with her life,’ and the calls stopped.  I hope it meant she found other people that she could talk to about the baby she remembers.  I hope she worked out a compromise through the years in how to answer the social question:  How many kids do you have?  I hope she’s found a time to tell her son or daughter of your existence.  I hope that other child knows and will welcome you on the day that you decide you want to find your birth family.   



When I knew her, your birth mother was boisterous and outgoing.  She didn’t mind giving someone a piece of her mind.  She didn’t look like a minority person, so she could listen to catty comments someone at school made, in Spanish, about ‘those kids.’  Then when they’d strung out enough rope to hang themselves, she’d speak to them in their own language, letting them know what a fool they’d made of themselves.  She defended the underdog. 


She always had a sparkle in her eye when she spoke of you.   She talked about meeting with your mom and dad someday after you were placed with them, but she wanted to lose weight first.  She knew how important first impressions are and she wanted them to like her so that they’d tell her positive things about her, so you would love yourself. 



I didn’t know your birth mom, but she called one year to update her file.  She wanted to be sure that when you came to the agency to look up your background, you would find something other than the teenager who slipped out the window to go party with her friends, and ended up pregnant.  She wanted to be sure that you would find not just a ‘wayward teen’ but a woman who finished school, who got a degree and a job helping others; that she is a responsible person and a mom of three others, and that they know about you and will welcome you someday when you decide to find them.


Anyway, dear CaitlynAnthonyRachelMatthewLilahJake, please know that your birth mother is a person who did the best she could when she made the painful decision to part with you as a little baby.  She remembers what being a teenager is like, and how difficult it is to figure out who you are.  She still wants what is best for you.  And she always loved you.



Beth Kozan,

Adoption Social Worker from 1979 to 2008


One Response to “Letter to an Adopted Teen”

  1. Charity Says:


    You know my story as you are the one that was placed as my angel when I needed one. You tried to get me to see things I should have but was so blinded that I couldn’t. Now I have 2 of my girls back while my 2 boys are still out there. I know in time there will be a reunion and oh how I look forward to that. I know now isn’t the time as they are still minors, but when it comes I hope you will be there also. You mean the world to me and my children whom you took under your wing and helped throughout my ordeal. These blogs are so on point and help tremendously. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!

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