May 18, 2015

I Wish You Were My Mother

Statistics show that 95% of mothers who relinquished a child to adoption are happy to be found and welcome the contact and further connection with their son/daughter. 

I happen to be in the rare category of 5% of adoptees whose mother did not want to reunite. Nobody was more surprised than me that she turned me away as an adult, being that she waited 47 days after my birth to make the final decision to relinquish me. In the social worker's words regarding her choice back then she was "filled with sadness, grief and doubt realizing she was a mother about to lose her child."

We did eventually reunite, only because I showed up on her doorstep. I thought once she actually met me face-to-fact as an adult, her desire would change. I was right. I made it perfectly clear the night I showed up that she was free to never see me or speak to me again if that was her decision. My only request was a one time in-person meeting and a photo to remember her by. I'm grateful that she invited me in and continued to have contact with me. However, her decision to stay in contact didn’t fix everything.  Reunion was messy to say the least and in my estimation the greatest reason for that was the absence of honest conversation.  

At times, when my mother got angry with me she would say, "Somebody messed up! That's why you found me!" She was convinced somebody at the adoption agency disclosed something to me they shouldn't have. In reality, nobody messed up and I actually found her because of my name change papers. My parents changed my name from the one given at birth, and my surname was on the legal name change papers from the lawyer.

 I asked God “why” about my mother's behavior too many times to count.

Being introduced to first mothers like Priscilla Sharp, Sharon Touviano and Brenda Patterson, I have often thought… “I wish you were my mother.”    I would think the same thing of Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy and Lisa Woolsey too, but they are too young to be my mother. In Lisa’s case I’m probably old enough to be her mother. (LOL)  All of these women are some of my favorites in the first mother community.  

Every time I have conversation with these women and others like them, the thoughts relentlessly come…”Why couldn’t my mother have been like them?" They are mothers who have faced the same loss, grief and pain as my mother– yet they welcomed their child with open arms. They all have the same hatred for lies that I do. And, they are active in working for reform in adoption.

There are adoptees among the 5% who tend to blame 100% of mothers for the actions of a few.  

I believe it’s important for adoptees in my situation to remember that, statistically our mothers are rare. Oh, I know we are not alone. Those in the 5% category can find one another pretty quick, and thank God for it. There's nothing like someone who understands secondary rejection firsthand. (I don’t care what some people say – it is real, and it is rejection. Especially as an adult! If you don’t believe that, please be careful you don’t fall off your unicorn.) The bottom line is -- we are out there, but the numbers of us are not great. And yet if we're not careful, we can view first moms as the enemy.

Fellow adoptees who are among the 5% -- I want to say this... anger and disappointment are normal reactions to our mother's choices. And, it's important to resist projecting that anger onto all first moms. Because they don't deserve it.  Getting help for the anger and disappointment is critical so we don't attribute it to the wrong people and so we can heal. 

Horrible as it may sound, at times I wish some other first moms were my mom. Even though they aren't my mother, I can still be loved by them and learn from them. First moms like the ones I mentioned have been a huge part of my healing. They have virtually held me as I've melted down speaking soothing words that are a healing balm to my soul. My mother's unfortunate decisions are by no means reason to resent women who have given nothing but a loving response to their sons and daughters, and to me.

*photo credit: