“Return To Sender”

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This is a guest post by my friend, Beth Shelby. She is both an adoptive and biological mother. She and her husband, Aaron, live in the Indianapolis, IN area. She writes candidly about disappointment in this post. Take some time to connect with her. Follow her on Twitter or read her blog here.

This fall I got my letter back.

No forwarding address.

This was the letter and pictures I sent to my son’s birth mom. It was my second correspondence; I think I knew this would come back. I was not prepared for the disappointment I felt for my son.

My son will be 2 in March. I dried him off the day he was born- I am his mother. Providing updates is not required, but it was something I planned to do. I imagined it as part of our story.. a way that we would be able to talk with our son about his birth mom and even eventually have him add to the notes and pick the pictures to share.

Maybe my disappointment has to do with my willingness to commit and provide information. Which honestly when we first began exploring adoption, one of my fears was the relationship with the birth family. But similar to how the Grinch’s heart expanded [from Dr. Seuss’ “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”], God not only expanded my heart to orphans, but to birth moms & birth families.

When I learned of this placement I began praying for the birth mom. When you start praying for some one you become connected to them. You begin to pray through your day for them. Even if it is someone you never meet, you gain a familiarity for them. So when I did meet her, my heart immediately connected with her. I knew, and she knew, the child she was carrying was supposed to be in our family.

I have not seen her since the day after my son was born. She stopped by the hospital room as she was checking out to say goodbye. Only hours before she had signed all the papers making our adoption legal. This is the same woman who, the day before, delivered my son and looked at me as we were leaving the room to say “Beth, Happy Mother’s Day.” Yes, that is my son’s birth mom!

She is an angel to me.

So maybe the disappointment is not just for my son, but for me and the uncertainty of where she is, and how she is doing. Regardless, I continue to pray for her and know that if she ever wanted to she would be able to find me.

In the meantime, I have decided to continue to write a yearly note, an annual update for his birth mom. I will have them for him- part of telling his story. I would also like to do the same for his brother, who is 6 months, even though I am his birth mom.

What an amazing way to chronicle their lives, their stories!

Eventually it will allow them to tell their story.

I pray that God will continue the work he has begun in me.

Have you ever turned a disappointment into a positive opportunity? For you or for your children? What did you do?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.