Mother’s Day from an Adoptee’s Perspective

Mother’s Day from an Adoptee’s Perspective


When a person is born blind, they know no other way. They don’t know the pain of having sight torn from them, they don’t miss the sense. They may have a longing, they may wonder and wish. It’s much the same for me, as an adoptee. I know nothing else, and my parents are just that: my parents. They are my everything, just as your parents are your parents, period.

If you’re new to reading here, a little background may help. I was adopted as an infant, and in 2013, I found my birth mother and a sister. And a whole lot more. The older I get, the more being adopted has an affect on me, which is interesting because it just seems to matter so much more now than it really ever did before. I realize now that there are so many words inside me that I can’t bare to anyone and they squeeze out slowly, painfully. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want to cause pain. I can’t close what has been opened, and suddenly understand how Pandora must have felt when her curiosity overtook her.

I was born on Mother’s Day, 1975. Now that I’ve met the woman who gave me life, I feel like retelling my story is a betrayal. I feel like my feelings cannot be justified because suddenly, it’s all too real and to involve another person is wrong. I feel like I’ve come so close to understanding, only to have my cables yanked and be left in darkness.

The more I speak about and read about adoption, the more I realize that no matter what I say, or how I say it, someone may take offense. It’s stifling, and so hard to pack my feelings back down inside me. I should never have opened the jar.

When I was little, I found out my birthday, May 11th, fell on Mother’s Day in 1975. Growing up, it was a very special day when I got to share it with my Mom. It felt so amazing to celebrate my birth with Mother’s Day, because my Mom was unable to have her own children. Saying this sounds so strange, because I am my Mother’s own child, but you understand my meaning. My adoption was a blessing for both of us. But every year, I wondered about the mysterious woman who had the misfortune of giving birth on and giving up her baby on Mother’s Day.

Contact with my birth mother has made life even more complicated, because although it’s a great relief finally knowing who she is (and knowing who my birth father is, too, despite him completely denying my existence), there are no real answers. We don’t speak. We don’t communicate at all. It has meant that speaking about my adoption is no longer private, that every word I write here must be weighed and evaluated and considered and often deleted out of fear of offending or intruding or exposing.

Having carried three babies (suffering the loss of one), there is no part of me that will ever be able to comprehend the loss of handing over a baby for adoption. Though I’m certainly appreciative of her sacrifice for my life, I will never understand it. I won’t understand why four of us were given away and one kept. I can’t pretend to be sad to have been adopted, but feeling happy about it seems like a twisted knife.

I just have so many questions. But I’m also just so happy with the path my life took, and so thankful to have the family I have that I don’t know if I should ask any more questions.

Mother’s Day is rife with emotion for me. Confusion, curiosity, happiness, joy, frustration, fear, worry. As an adoptee born and given up on Mother’s Day, and a Mother myself, it’s a day I tread a fine line, where sometimes tears are of both happiness and sadness.

Just days before I became a mom to two amazing kids
Just days before I became a mom to two amazing kids
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13 thoughts on “Mother’s Day from an Adoptee’s Perspective

  1. Powerful.Thank you for baring a bit of your soul so others can understand a little better. I hope your birthday is more happy tears than sad. xo

  2. Oh, Alex. I read this and it’s like I’m reading my own thoughts… Love and hugs.

  3. Beautifully written. And I understand. I have asked all the questions I had growing up, yet they have simply lead to more questions and a lot of strange answers. I forget who said it, but I once read that being an adoptee is like starting your life in the middle of someone else’s story and the beginning was ripped out and lost forever.

    1. That’s the best analogy for it, ever. Thanks for reading, and for sharing that.

  4. Wow. As if Mother’s Day weren’t fraught enough? Lovely piece (as always). Oddly, I feel similarly about adoption that I will hurt someone no matter what I say BUT I believe that when people are honest, authentic and caring (as you are) about how they feel no matter how painful, it’s worth sharing. There’s a blog out there called the Happiest Sad – I think it’s a perfect encapsulation of adoption (at least from where I sit).

    1. I’m sending you hugs back, hoping you had an uncomplicated Mother’s Day. <3

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