My Kids Abanoned Me on My 86TH Birthday after Getting a Letter from an Unknown Lady Day Before – Short Story


My adopted kids received a letter from their birth mother the day before my 86th birthday and decided to meet up with her instead of celebrating with me. Then they learned an astonishing truth and realized that not everything is what it seems.

“Mom, I know you and Dad raised us with all the love in the world. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about this woman,” my daughter Emily said. We were on the phone, and I initially thought she wanted to nail down plans for my birthday the following day. However, Emily had something important to tell me.

I didn’t realize at that moment that I wasn’t ready to hear it, especially with my birthday looming so close and after all the years of dedication I had given her and her brother.


Many years ago, my husband Kevin and I decided to have children and tried to conceive for a long time. Sadly, nothing happened, and my heart broke every day, mainly because I felt inadequate. I knew it wasn’t solely my fault because Kevin also had fertility issues, but it plagued my mind terribly.

We were almost 40 years when we started the application process for adoption, and surprisingly, a pregnant teenager picked us out of all the other younger candidates. We were ecstatic and open to sharing everything about her kid with her, but she decided a closed adoption would be the best option for her, and we had to support her.

My hands trembled as I held my phone through Emily’s silence. For some reason, my senses tingled. Something had happened. She was too quiet. My daughter never behaved this way.

But she shocked us again after discovering she had twins, a boy and a girl. We took them both without a second thought, named them Emily and Ethan, and raised them as best we could.

In our 40s, Kevin and I were solid financially. We had started a business together, which didn’t need much attention by the time the kids came around, so we had tons of time for our babies. It was perfect.

Yes, we were older, and it was hard some days, especially when we barely got any sleep. But it was so worth it. I would never change it, and Kevin felt the same way.

Some days, we just held our sleeping babies in our living room, listening to their steady breaths, and it was the most beautiful sound in the world. “Madeleine, this is the best decision we ever made. I would do anything for these babies,” Kevin told me back then, and all I could do was smile at my dear husband because love was bursting from my chest.

The kids grew up beautifully. They were twins but couldn’t have been more different. Kevin always dreamed of playing baseball with his son, but Emily was the one into sports. She was good at everything that required a ball and eventually joined the basketball team at her school, winning high school championships left and right. Later, her talent earned her a full scholarship to UCLA, which wasn’t far from our home in Pasadena.

Meanwhile, Ethan was a complete brain. He received straight As in all subjects, but math was his strongest skill. He competed in mathletes and chess tournaments, and thanks to his grades, he got into Stanford University. That one was a bit far for my liking, especially after caring for them for so long. But you have to let your kids fly away, right?

That’s what we did. Kevin and I gave them wings to fly, instilling in them all our values and reminding them that they would always have a safe place here.

Of course, Ethan visited as much as possible, and Emily was nearby. When they graduated, Emily moved back to Pasadena, and Ethan spent a few years in New York, furthering his career. However, he eventually returned too. We couldn’t have been gladder about that since we saw them get married and have their first kids.

Sadly, Kevin died when we were 80, and it was the most challenging time in my life. Luckily, Emily and her husband, Richard, were there for me, while Ethan and his wife, Susan, also did their best never to let me feel alone.

“Mom, you can always count on us. I love you so much, and I want my kids to have a happy grandma smiling all the time and baking cookies,” Emily told me once, only a month after Kevin passed. We were sitting on her back porch, watching her kids run and play around.

“Thanks, honey. Don’t worry. It will take time, and though I’ll never get over your dad’s loss, I will be the BEST grandmother your kids ever have. But don’t tell Richard’s mom I said that,” I joked and she smacked my arm playfully, laughing at that too.

Through all of this, we never even thought about telling them they were adopted. It didn’t seem that important to us. To be honest, I had almost forgotten. They were my children in every single way possible. But maybe, that was the wrong choice. Perhaps, we should’ve given them all the information earlier in life. Maybe it would have changed what happened later.

But honey, it’s my birthday. You don’t want to come over with the kids? What about Ethan? He’s not answering the phone,” I countered my daughter’s words. I wanted the entire family there for my birthday, mainly because my health hadn’t been the best lately. I felt even frailer than ever, but I would never tell them that.

My hands trembled as I held my phone through Emily’s silence. For some reason, my senses tingled. Something had happened. She was too quiet. My daughter never behaved this way.

“Mom, the truth is that Ethan and I were contacted by a woman today. Early morning. She said she was our birth mom, and she had been looking for us for many years. She even sent proof of the adoption and wants to meet us. I talked to Ethan, and he wants to meet her. But I just wanted to ask… why didn’t you tell us?”

I was floored. I couldn’t believe it. The teenager that wanted a closed adoption had contacted them. I was glad for Emily’s honesty. But I had no idea what to tell her. She was obviously upset, but it was hard to know if it was at me or the situation in general.

“I… I… Honey, honestly I didn’t think it mattered at all,” I started, hesitated, as my forehead started sweating and my hands trembled some more. “I’m so sorry. I can tell you anything you need to know now. But what does that have to do with my 86th birthday?”

“Mom, she wants to meet tomorrow because she doesn’t live in Pasadena anymore. And frankly, I’m a little mad at you. I wished we knew the truth. I think Ethan is angry too. So I think we’re going to meet that woman and take a few days to make some decisions,” Emily answered.

“Emily, what do you mean decisions? I can tell you everything about the adoption. I know it’s late, you and Ethan can come tonight and we can hash it out together. I assure you, your dad and I didn’t want to hide it, but at some point, we almost didn’t remember you guys were adopted. You are my babies. I feel it in my heart. From the first moment I held you. I swear, I didn’t mean anything bad,” I begged my daughter, tears in my voice.

“Mom, please,” she said, her voice almost choking up. “I know you didn’t mean harm, but I need some time to think. I’ll talk to Ethan, but I don’t think we can see you today or tomorrow. Please, understand us. We’ll talk in a few days… I don’t know.”

I wanted to protest some more, but Emily was right. They needed a few days to think about it. Although it broke my heart to think they might be meeting their birth mother instead of spending my special day with me, they needed to figure this out.

“Alright, dear. But I’m here. Call me for anything. Any questions. At any time, too. I’m here. I… love you,” I added, unable to keep my voice calm on those last few words.

I could hear Emily crying on the other line. “Ok, Mom. I… I’ll see you later. Bye.”

My hand lowered the phone slowly from my ear, and my heart beat too fast for comfort. Emily always ended her phone calls with the words “I love you too.” It was our thing. My girl and I. And now, she was doubting our relationship, and I couldn’t do anything about it.

I rose from my couch and walked to my bedroom slowly, where I sobbed into my pillow for hours until I fell asleep.

The following day was terrible. I woke up way later than usual. I was a morning person all my life, and as an older woman, I was typically up by dawn. But not on my birthday. I woke up late and was reminded of last night. My phone was sitting on my nightstand, and I checked it only to realize that I had no messages from my kids.

Some friends and cousins had sent birthday greetings, but nothing from Emily and Ethan. I won’t lie. That hurt the most. My children were always the first to send me birthday messages, which was too painful.

I wondered if they were meeting their birth mother already. Were they conflicted? Did they feel betrayed by me? So many other questions ran through my head the rest of the day.

Before I knew it, nightfall came around, and there was still no sign of my kids, although I tried calling. It didn’t make sense. Yes, I kept some critical information from them, but this reaction seemed over-the-top.

I decided to go to bed, although I was not tired. I hope to fall asleep to the sounds of mindless television shows. However, as I stepped into my bedroom, the doorbell rang. I frowned in confusion. No one had called me about coming over.


I almost had a heart attack after opening the door. My beautiful family was outside, and Emily and Ethan were holding a cake with the birthday candles lit up and ready. Suddenly, they started to sing, and I placed a hand on my chest as emotion took over.

My eyes watered through the song and a few tears fell by the time I had to blow out the candles. Everyone clapped after that, and they slowly started kissing me, wishing me a happy birthday again. I couldn’t have been happier as they all entered the house.

They also brought food and presents, and all my grandkids started running around being loud. I didn’t even mind that I was not dressed for the occasion. All that mattered was that my children and their families were here.

Then Emily pulled me aside and asked for a word away from the others, and Ethan followed along.

Before they could say anything, I looked into their eyes and apologized. “I can’t tell you how much I regret not telling you the truth. I thought you weren’t coming to see me today. Thank you, babies!” And I hugged them as tightly as I could.

They also returned the hug, and I saw the tears in both their eyes. “I’m sorry about that phone call last night, Mom. You shouldn’t regret anything. You did the best for us,” Emily stated, and Ethan nodded.

“Yeah. I should’ve answered your calls, Mom. But I felt conflicted. There’s no other way to put it, but I needed time,” he added.

I was glad for their words, but I was still curious. “I thought you guys needed more time, and that you were meeting your birth mother today. Can you tell me what happened?”

Emily sighed, and Ethan ran a hand through his hair. “It was a disaster, Mom. We don’t trust her,” he revealed, shocking me.


“At first, it was fine. Her name is Amanda Collins. She was nice enough. She told us she had been looking for us for many years, but now that I think about it, I don’t think that’s true. We stayed in the same town for years, except during college and a few years after that for Ethan, but still. You guys were here. She could’ve reached out to you,” my daughter began, shaking her head in disbelief.

“Maybe, she didn’t want to deal with us,” I countered, giving the woman the benefit of the doubt.

“No, I get a sense that’s not it,” Emily continued. “After asking about our lives for a few minutes. She started talking about herself. Everything she did. All her accomplishments. Going to college. Places she’s visited. And that’s fine, but I thought she wanted to get to know us.”

“Maybe, she wanted you to know her,” I said, still not seeing why they didn’t trust her.

“Her stories went on for two hours, Mom. After only asking a few things about us. She didn’t want to know us. At least, that’s what I felt,” Ethan chimed in. “And then she said something that just sealed it for me.”

“Sealed what?”

“My distrust.”

“I don’t understand.”

“She’s sick, Mom. She has a bad liver, although I suspect it’s failing for other reasons… if you catch my drift,” Emily explained. “And she started asking about our health. That’s when I knew for sure that she hadn’t been looking for us for years at all. She wants something from us, and I mean, she could’ve pretended for a little longer, right?”

I didn’t know what to tell them. I felt horrible for them. “Sweeties, did she ask you directly for something?”

“We excused ourselves quickly, and she was taken aback. She insisted on giving us her phone number, and told us almost desperately to call her,” Ethan explained, shrugging. “It was all a ploy, Mom. She’s not interested in us, but what we can give her.”

“What are you going to do?” I asked, looking between them. It didn’t seem like they were heartbroken about it but disappointed.

“I don’t think I want to talk to her again,” my son said immediately.

But Emily was conflicted. She looked down at the ground, crossed her arms, and shuffled her feet. “I don’t know what to do about her,” she finally said, looking at me. “But I realized something today. We haven’t had much time to think about being adopted. It’s still new. However, I know something for sure. You’re my mom. You’re my only mom.”

Tears filled my eyes again, and I couldn’t stop the sobs that racked my chest. Emily cried as she wrapped her arms around me. And even Ethan, who was pure logic and stern most of the time, got misty-eyed.

“It’s true. A mother is the one who raises you, not the one who gives birth to you,” he assured me, joining our huddle.

I knew right then that we would be alright. Even if Amanda tried to stay in their lives, their love for me would not waver, especially because they knew my love for them was rock solid.

What can we learn from this story?

Your real mom is not the one who birthed you but the one who loved and raised you. Ethan and Emily were conflicted by the news of being adopted and the appearance of their birth mom. But they realized quickly that their mom, Madeleine, was their real parent.
Always be honest with your children. Madeleine should’ve told her kids about being adopted earlier. Even if it feels unnecessary, it’s always best to be completely honest.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about an older man who visited his daughter on his 80th birthday, and she didn’t let him into her home.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only.

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