My Relationship With My Birth Mother
Since I’m sure we’ll be delving into some deeper topics in this blog, it’s only fair that I give everyone a few details of my life and story. Anyone who knows me in person knows that I’m pretty much an open book; there are very few questions I won’t answer about myself, and I don’t shy away from the tough topics. As I mentioned in my first post, I am adopted. My birth mother got pregnant with me when she was in high school, and her parents (my maternal grandparents) agreed to adopt me when I was born. Now we call that a kinship adoption, but at the time, I feel like it was “just what was done” in small town middle America, when everyone knew everyone else’s business.
Before I was told I was adopted, I was raised thinking my birth mother was my older sister. Growing up adopted in the 1980s, I was probably one of the lucky ones that found out relatively early about my origin story (superheroes have origin stories, why can’t I). I was probably five or so when my mom told me (Note: throughout this story, I’ll refer to my adoptive mother as “mom” and by birth mother as “birth mom”…just to keep it clear) and it was just a very matter of fact conversation. “You didn’t grow in my tummy, you grew in your birth mom’s tummy, so you have two moms.” And, like any high energy five-year-old, I took that information, stored it away, and went to go play in the mud. Not to say as time went on and I matured emotionally that I didn’t have questions, I think it would be abnormal if I didn’t, but in the mind of a little five year old girl, it was just like it sounded. I had two moms, the logic and explanation were sound, and that was that. Over time, the relationships amongst me and family grew and changed, like any normal adolescent growing up, but I still look back at that time and realize how secure I must have been in my relationship with my parents to not even really have a second thought about my adoption.
One of the things I get asked a lot as an adoptee is whether I ever hated my birth mother for making an adoption plan for me. Honestly, no, I never did. I had questions, of course, but I also grew up knowing my birth mom, and understanding why she wasn’t ready for a child. Even when I was in college and she had a second child that she went on to parent, there wasn’t ever any feelings of hatred or animosity for that decision. I can’t imagine the pressures she was under in High School, but I never doubted that she had my best interests at heart. Knowing that she didn’t feel equipped to raise a child and, in turn, wanting something more for me was enough for me growing up.
Now, that I’m also an adoptive mother in an option adoption with my son’s birth mother, I only hope he has the same types of experiences I did. I hope that he grows up knowing his birth mom made the decisions she mad with him in mind, loving him unconditionally. I feel a huge responsibility to both my son and his birth mom to make sure they can always have contact and he can grow up knowing his own “origin story” from his birth mom, just like he’ll have the other part of his story from us, his family. Adoption can be messy. There are emotions at every step of the way, but it can be beautiful amid the mess as well. I’ve seen a few different sides of it throughout my life and I do my best to share that with others who are considering adoption or in the journey themselves.
As always, welcome to the journey