An Open Letter

14 October

~ Forward ~
This is a letter written by my wonderfully incredible roommate and sister, Ruth, specifically for my mother to read and take to heart. I know she never reads my blog (she refuses to align with any aspect of who I am), but there are those of you that are close to her that will see this. Maybe it will spark some passionate vigour within you...moving you emotionally to understand why, what, and how. And maybe that message will get relayed into her. Do I want my blood-related family to understand and realise what they've let go of; what they've lost? Of course, I do. It's important — not only for the sanity of my life, but more importantly, for them. Every ounce of pain, stress, and emotional affliction they've felt is 100 percent completely self-inflicted. They didn't have to oppose me. But their religion says otherwise. And their religion is dead wrong. And now, onward to the letter...

An open letter to Anna Foster's mom:
When I was 18, I lost a baby. This month, I should be celebrating my child’s 14th birthday.
As I laid on the carpeted floor of my apartment in the fetal position, holding my stomach in pain, the last thing on my mind was its gender. I knew something was wrong. I saw a fertility specialist months later who diagnosed me with polycystic ovarian syndrome. This means I am infertile.
As the years have gone by, I have come to terms with this. It affected a relationship or two. I decided that I would not do fertility treatments, that it would be infinitely selfish for me to go through all that just to have a little mini-me to satisfy my ego (or the father’s). There are so many kids who need loving parents. My ego comes last. I will adopt when I feel it is time.
Mrs. Foster, I wonder when you started caring about the gender of your child. Did you hope for a boy? Did you eat lots of red meat in the first trimester, hoping that the old wives’ tale would give you a son? Did you really want a girl instead? Did the little speck in the ultrasound burst your bubble or make you love your child more?
Our children are not pets. They are not our mini-me. They are their own people, and our job is to nurture their growth and to love them. You can’t pick your children, and on the other end… we cannot pick our parents. Mrs. Foster, you won the lottery. Your daughter is beautiful, and kind, and confident and smart. It is Anna who has lost the parent lottery. Her mother shows conditional love at best. Her father would probably physically hurt her if he ever saw her in person.
It is your ego that is hurt. It is your pride, your expectations, your own ideas that you cannot force on your child, and that upsets you.
And in case you didn’t know, Anna has found someone else to call Mom (or Mum, as she would have it).
You walked out on your child.
You placed more importance on your child’s gender expression than on their character.
You are now ashamed of your child, because you can’t reconcile your religion with reality, and that is – gender identity is not perfect.
Do some research. Put yourself in Anna’s place. And put yourself in the mother’s place, which should be to protect and love her child no matter WHAT. I had a mother who did this for me. We all need this kind of love in our life. If you don’t provide the unconditional love that is only from a mother, Anna is under no obligation to keep loving you unconditionally back.
I lost my baby. I never knew if it was a boy or a girl. I got to see the little triangle scar it left behind on my uterus as it tore away.
You never lost your child. You disowned your baby. You kicked her out of your life. SHAME. ON. YOU!!
I will watch Anna blossom into a beautiful woman. She’s already there and you’re missing it. I will get to help her with makeup, and dresses, and picking out shoes, and teaching her how to walk in high heels. I will show the unconditional love that you WON’T.
This Christmas, Anna will come with me to visit my grandparents, who are loving people, who adore her to death. We’ll have a wonderful meal, we’ll drink wine with my grandma, listen to old Christmas songs, and spend all day at their house. When you have that empty chair at Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, I hope you know that Anna will be loved more by me and my family than yours. That is shameful. But she is going to live her life, with or without you.
I hope that someday you can put this in perspective. I hope that you can rewind to that moment, when you knew you were pregnant, and remember how you didn’t know and didn’t really care if it was a boy or girl; I hope you remember counting Anna’s fingers and toes and breathing a sigh of relief and joy that your baby was all right. I hope that unconditional love resurfaces in you, and I hope that one day you and Anna can share that kind of love. Until then, she will suffer no longer from your family, because I love her.
Ruth Jonas

I'm also going to include all of the wonderful comments left on the original post that Ruth made of this...right after the break. Mother, you need to actually see the unconditional love and support from all of these fantastic people.

Melissa - "Beautiful."

Reda - "Yes."

Stephanie - "Bravo!!!! <3 <3"

May - "I did cry for that! Love you both, Ruth Jonas and Anna!"

Beth - "Anna, I love you, having not ever met you. I plan to meet you. You say 'mum,' so I will have it that you are my big sister based purely on language. And I call Betty my American mum. Welcome to my little chosen family! And Ruth can be a part of it, too, if she wants to! We shall sip tea, and eat scones with clotted cream and jam and all buy a house in the country and dress like the Downton cast."

Lynne - "Anna Foster has a family now who loves her unconditionally. Quirky and strange as we are, we are a family, and I will never desert the person I know and Love. Thank you, Ruth Jonas, for your beautiful loving words!!!!"

Betty - "This is amazing. I hope Anna's bio-mom reads it. If not, print it and mail it."

Brook - "Send this to her. I hope it tears her up to know what she threw away. Thank you, Ruth. You are an amazing person."

Krissy - "Ruth, thank you for taking such great care of our Anna as she grows into who she is supposed to be."

Annette - "You are just awesome, Ruth, and I am so glad Anna has a friend like you."

Tracy - "I'm balling. This is beautiful."

Holland - "This makes my heart so full of joy. <3"

Jennifer - "<3"

Lindsey - "I am balling right now. I lost a baby when I was 17. It was a boy. I was told I probably wouldn't be able to carry a baby full term. Somehow, I got lucky with Lillian. However, her father lied to me and claimed he had had a vasectomy, when he hadn't. I knew my odds were slim anyways. And even after having Lily, in committed relationships, I don't use protection. And I still don't get pregnant ... she's just my miracle baby, I guess. The baby I lost was going to be named Julian. I love the name ... I liked how it is also kind of gender neutral. I grew up with a gay uncle. My mom had multiple gay friends. I was used to gender fluidness, I guess you could say. I don't know what Julian would have grown up to be, and there is nothing I wouldn't give to know. He would have been 16 next year. There isn't a day I don't think about him. Or her. It wouldn't have mattered a single bit to me who Julian would have grown to be. I could only hope Julian would have ended up as wonderful of a person as Anna is. I cannot imagine EVER turning my back on my child. Or any child, for that matter. I truly hope this hits something in Anna's mom's heart. I feel, deep down, she loves Anna. It's just fear that is holding her back. Because I cannot comprehend NOT loving my child. Lillian could murder 500 people, and while I would expect her to spend her life in prison for it, I would still be there for every single visitation. She's my child. I feel like Anna's mom is going to come around. It may be a very, very long time. But I feel it."

Ruth - "I just get angry sometimes. This woman acts like she lost her child. Go talk to people who have actually LOST their child. It's all ego and religious dogma, and I'm sick of it."

Melanie - "I'm so honored to call Ruth & Anna my friends. It blows my mind that some people don't have the capability or capacity to feel love unconditionally for their own flesh & blood. One of my best friends was gay; he had stage four kidney cancer. And before he passed away, his mother & preacher scared him so badly that he 'repented.' I have never forgiven his mother for putting that fear in him & not letting him pass in peace. I love you girls & I'm here for the both of you, no matter what. Thank you, Ruth, for so eloquently taking up for Anna & taking her under your wing."

Nena - "Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you. And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies, but not their souls. For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and he bends you with his might that his arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness. For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves also the bow that is stable."

Dee - "OMG...this was just incredibly beautiful. I've already told Anna Foster that she is my sister, and even though I've never met her, I love her unconditionally. You are loved!"

Sheila - "Wonderful! I had a car wreck at 29 weeks with my first daughter at age 16 — the placenta separated and she died. I don't share that often. I have two living adult daughters — but my third oldest daughter died. I carry her in my heart always. Thank you to all the moms!!"

Dexter - "Ruth Jonas, you're amazing! This is absolutely perfect, and incredibly well-worded! As I've told you before, thank you for everything you do for Anna. She could not have found a better family than you guys!"

Samantha - "It amazes me how people who do this to their own flesh and blood have the gall to call themselves 'religious.' To Anna Foster's mom: Do you think your God won't have you answer for this??? Do you think you are exempt from the very principles your OWN religion teaches about loving your OWN BLOOD??? You grew a HUMAN inside of you...and now you cast out the very human you created. I don't WANT to know or even associate with the kind of person capable of doing what you have done. ANIMALS don't even do that to their young. You are dead inside, woman. You are ugly inside. And it will rot your soul. Anna, you will ALWAYS know what it feels like to be loved and protected the way you should be — your chosen family will make sure of that. Don't EVER feel that you are missing anything by leaving behind these miserable, rotten people. I (and we) love you. <3"

Eric - "Beautifully expressed, Ruth. You are a loving friend, and I'm glad Anna has you and your family."

Terri - "So beautifully stated, Ruth!"

Tony - "I went to high school with Anna Foster, and I think it's a crying shame the way her family is treating her. But I am uplifted to see so many people who love her for who she is. I'm proud of Anna for being the person she is. Much love to you, Anna. And much love to Ms. Ruth Jonas for being a true mother to her."

Shawn - "Amazing words from an amazing woman about such a special bond shared by friends that are so close. Beautiful. Truly a lesson in how we should love one another ... now leave me be. My eye has something in it, and it's 'wader'n' all over the place. ;) Seriously, much love to you both."

To all of my friends... thank you. Love, Anna. <3

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