Looking to the Future: My Birth Daughter is Graduating High School


My birth daughter graduates from high school in a week or so. The irony is that my second daughter is graduating from Kindergarten. It is a bittersweet time—knowing this much time (18 years) has passed without me in her life and also so sweet anticipating the future we’ll have together. The future we may have as a family, with my husband and my two daughters…together. 

Always Hopeful

I am hopeful as she grows up, she’ll want me in her life and won’t feel as torn knowing she may disappoint her adoptive mother. Her adoptive mother has been more closed-minded about me in her life. 

No shame or blame here. I don’t know how or if I could “share” my daughter with another mother. In fact, her graduation party was the first event I’ve been invited to since she was born and I placed her into the arms of her new parents. 

adoption duluth mom

Life Lessons

Although looking back, I am okay with the separation. It was my choice to place her for adoption. In fact, over the past 18 years, we’ve both been doing some growing up. 

  • While she was in diapers, I was finishing up my bachelor’s degree as a young adult.
  • While I was starting my internship and first job outside of college, she was in 1st grade learning the basics of reading and arithmetic.
  • While she was transitioning from elementary to middle school, I was gaining one of my first job promotions and moving across the country to Oregon.
  • While I was having my first child and transitioning into a first-time parent, she was starting her pre-teen years.
  • While she’s on the cusps of adulthood and graduating from high school, I’ve also been in transition starting a new job and building my first home. 

Looking to the Future

In the early years after the adoption, it was easy to push my feelings aside and block out the fact that I was missing so much of her life. Now, it’s not so easy raising my daughter Clara and knowing so deeply what I’ve missed out on in her life—the first steps, first words, etc. It sure would have been easier had I never had a second child. Ignorance would surely have been blissful. But, that’s not the way it went. 

We each went our separate ways and had a lot to learn. We each grew, made mistakes and learned a lot along the way. I’m grateful we each had our own space to learn. Because of that, I believe our hearts can be closer and more connected than ever. 

Of course, we are forever connected by blood, too! I will always be there for her and rooting for her, no matter where she goes and what she pursues in life. She will forever be my firstborn, that I’m so deeply proud to call my own and my daughter. 

Let’s all give a collective shout-out to our resilient high school graduates of 2021!



  1. Thank you for writing this, Chelsea. As an adoptee, I can say that many would/do want to meet their birth moms. I wish I had the chance, but mine died before I knew I was adopted. I admire your courage to do what is so so difficult and heartbreaking, and, today, is not admired or hardly considered. But your choice has given your daughter life and a life.

    I understand, too, her mom’s reticence. She is afraid. My mom was too…terrified I would choose the birth mom over her. But she raised me and cared for me. My brother and I did n ot reject her when we found out. But she didn’t know we wouldn’t.

    I pray that now that she is 18 she wants a relationship with you. But, as you know, things, esp emotions, take time. My prayer is that graduation is beautiful and you begin a great relationship with her!!


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