A Letter to My Birth Mother and My Adoptive Mother on Mother’s Day

Let's be open and empathetic with one another. Let's celebrate each other. I think we'll be happy we did.

Tom Andriola May 08, 2016
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 Dear Mom(s),

Happy Mother’s Day! I’m not sure that’s what you want to hear on this day. Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t. It’s a day that is full of confusion, I know.

You wanted a child. You didn’t want a child. You wanted a child, but the circumstances made it impossible. You gave up a child. You saved a child. The stars aligned.

I decided to write to both of you in the same letter.  That may be confusing, just like this day, just like the day I was born or the day I came home to you for the first time.

But I am here. I successfully made it to adulthood, and I thank you both for that. One of you gave me life and one of you raised me. Which is more important? Neither. They both are.

Should I feel guilty for the bluntness of this letter? Probably not, but I still do—to some degree, anyway.

Why? Because society tells me I should be grateful and not bitter. And I am. I am indeed grateful for being given life. But I am not grateful simply because society tells me I should be. I am grateful because you both did the best you could, given the circumstances. I am grateful for having the opportunity to create an adult life for myself because I made it here.

But I have also suffered the trauma of being removed from one family and placed in another. Most adoptees do. Maybe I should keep that part unspoken, as society would like. But I won’t, because my feelings are valid, just as yours are. There may be pain there for you, just as there is for me—and there may also be joy, just as there is for me.

At the end of the day, though, why is it so hard to be forthright with each other? The sensitivities of the triad seem to be insurmountable sometimes, making it easier to leave important things unsaid. But maybe the discomfort that keeps us quiet also keeps us timid with each other. Maybe it makes us tentative, hesitant. Maybe putting a voice to our collective feelings in the face of fear will help to open our hearts and elevate our relationships.

So, beginning now, on this Mother’s Day, let’s resolve to do that with empathy, and in a way that is non-judgmental—one that acknowledges and embraces the difficulties that each of us in this triad have endured—and let’s celebrate each other. I think we’ll be happy we did.

I love you (singular and plural).

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Tom Andriola

Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.

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