A few months after we first adopted Robbie, his birth mother sent a letter to her father and stepmom, who lived on the same floor as us in an apartment building in Forest Hills, and who were primarily responsible for how we got our baby boy in the first place. Amy, the stepmom, who is still our dear friend, shared it with us a bunch of years ago, and then again (she had forgotten that she had sent it before) a few months after Rob died. Here it is:
Dear Dad and Amy,
Hello! How are things going? I really miss you guys. I’m starting to get my life back on track.
The first week after Caryn and Larry left was really hard on me. So many thoughts were going through my mind, and I really didn’t know what to do with myself. The thought of never seeing little Robbie again made me sick and I wanted him back so bad. I didn’t want to give him up. But I know what Caryn and Larry went through to have a baby, and I really got close to Caryn and didn’t want to hurt them.
Every time something reminded me of him, I broke out in tears. I’ve never been more heartbroken in my life. I’d go to bed crying and I felt this empty place inside of me, and I never thought I’d get over it. But every day gets better and better.
I’ll never stop loving him and I’ll never get over it, but now I realize I did the right thing. He’s the most important thing that has ever happened to me in my life. Caryn and Larry are great people, and I know they will raise him better than I could at this point in time. I’m glad that I did give him up to them now because I wouldn’t be able to do half of the things I do. And he wouldn’t get half of the things he deserves.
I’m giving you guys a picture. A couple of weeks ago when I was supposed to write to you, I wouldn’t have been able to give you one because I wanted to keep every one of them, and I was afraid to give just one up because I thought…I don’t know what I thought. I think I was going crazy.
Love you guys.
Fast forward to Father’s Day 2015. I had posted a story on Facebook about my father that I wrote many years ago for a magazine called Dads. It received a fair amount of Likes and positive comments, and as I was scanning the list of names, one in particular jumped out at me—Tisha.
By mutual agreement, I hadn’t had any contact with her since we last saw each other in Joplin, Missouri, when she was all of 19 years old, and I had no idea how she even came to see my story. I immediately checked out her profile page and saw that she was now a beautiful woman (who must be—unbelievably—in her mid-40s) with a family of her own. In photo after photo, I saw Rob’s smile on her face.
After thinking about it for a few minutes, I sent her a friend request, which she readily accepted. I then sent her the following message:
Hi Tisha, I think it’s been about 25 years, as amazing as that sounds, since we last saw each other. Hope you’re well. If you don’t already know it, Rob turned out pretty great. In fact, the last time he came to visit me in California, we went over to see Amy and Edwin, and that was one special day. If you’re ever in Los Angeles, I’d love to see you.
This was her reply:
How do I express my gratitude for you? You have not only raised two amazing boys, one of which is our common link, but you have allowed me to read about moments of his life, and the love that was shared between his family. I know your intent was to help other families and Robbie, however, it was one of the greatest gifts that I have ever had. Your articles have eased my heart, mind and soul in knowing that my son was in good hands. There could have been no better dad than you. Happy late Father’s Day.
I am so happy to hear about Robbie’s visit to see Amy and Edwin. Maybe one day he might want to meet us too. He has a brother and sister who want his presence in our lives.
It’s great to have you as a friend and hope to one day see you too.
That was the one and only time I ever heard from her. Shortly after Rob died, Caryn had tried to contact Tisha to tell her the terrible news. After a few attempts, she received the following text message:
My name is Courtney. I am Tisha’s daughter. First off I want to say that I am so very sorry for your loss. We will never know the devastation you have had to endure as Rob’s mother but we are all grieving over his death. My mom is beside herself; we are all beside ourselves. Do not mistake our seclusion as not caring, we are very thankful that you took the time to reach out to us. However, I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss details or anything further so my mom will not be contacting you. Those are matters for you and your family to work through. Our prayers are with you and your family during this hard time.