Learning from others

I recently read a post from The Eco-Feminist that talked about her journey to becoming a mother. As an adopted child, it gave me a glimpse into what my own mother went through to become my mother. It made me cry, it made my heart swell with love, and it made me so fucking proud of the woman I know as mom.

I sent my mom an email with a link to that post, and a little bit of mushy “I love you” stuff about how I had never really thought about what she went through to adopt me.

Well, I had occasion to think about it again yesterday. I called my mom, just a routine “how are you, I love you” call. She answered the phone with “I was wondering if you’d call today”….

…which sent me into a panic, wondering what the hell I was forgetting that I totally shouldn’t be forgetting.

Turns out, yesterday was the anniversary of the day she and my dad took 3-month-old me home from foster care and became my parents.

side note: to make it even better, that day was also my mom’s father’s birthday. I miss my Papa. He was so cool!

I had never thought about that day as a big deal, because I am not a mother and never much wanted to be a mother. However, as I talked to my mom, I realized that it was a big fucking deal to her. I asked her if she had read that post, and she said that she did. She said that she could absolutely relate, and she was happy that this wonderful woman has a chance to become a mother at last.

Had I never read that post, I might have gone the rest of my life not really thinking about what my mom went through to become my mom.I mean, logically, I know that adoption is a long and drawn out process. I knew that there was paperwork, and social workers, and home visits, and more paperwork, and financial disclosures, and appointments, and more paperwork. But I had never thought about the emotional aspect.

Maybe because my mother always struck me as so very pragmatic, I never thought about how much hope and fear she went through trying to adopt a child. My mom was always fairly emotionally reserved in front of people. Throughout the six years of daddy’s illness, I never saw her cry for very long, I never saw her despair, I never saw her really seem like she was overwhelmed and on the verge of a total breakdown.

My adoption was always presented to me in a very matter-of-fact way. I’ve always known I was adopted, for as long as I can remember. The DFACS (Department of Family and Children’s Services) office had given my mom a little box set of books to help her explain to me that I was adopted (I still have those books); even before I could read, I knew those books were for me and they were about being adopted. It was always explained to me that I was not unwanted by my biological mother; she just knew that she, at 16 years old, couldn’t take care of a child as she would WANT to take care of a child and so she gave that child up for adoption in the hopes that this child would indeed be taken care of as a child should be cared for.

I always felt fortunate and loved. I was loved so much by two mothers that one of them went through the hell of giving up her child, and the other went through the hell of the adoption process to become the mother of that child. I was fortunate, because that child was me. Anytime anyone ever asked me if I ever wanted to know about my “real” parents, I was rather befuddled, because in my mind I HAD real parents. My mom and dad are the only mom and dad I’ve ever known, and they were damn fine parents. They were my real parents; I couldn’t understand why people didn’t think that mom and dad were my real parents. Of course I always had curiosity about my biological parents, but I never felt any overriding need to know more or meet them. I had my parents, and that was that. I understood that opening up the sealed case files might cause that woman great pain, as she might not have told her current family that she had once given up a child; or it might cause her great pain to know that I merely wanted to meet her to satisfy curiosity but had no need of a relationship with her.

side note: my mom offered repeatedly to help me have the files unsealed. I never took her up on it. I had a mom, and that was that.

After I hung up the phone, I went into the calendar function on my phone. I set a reminder for a yearly event for yesterday’s date, so that I can call my mom on her dad’s birthday every year from now on, and thank her for becoming my mom. I wasn’t always a good kid, because addiction is a motherfucker. No matter how much hell I put my mother through, she never quit loving me. I am the luckiest shithead in the world, because my adoptive mom is the truest definition of “mother” I have ever known of, and I am so grateful for that.

So this year, as Father’s Day approaches, I am thinking about my mother. That woman amazes me. She loved me no matter what. She raised three children basically on her own, because my father was sick for many years before he died; she had to be both mother and father to us. I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful mom; and I’ll have to make it a point to call her on father’s day and thank her for being her wonderful, beautiful self that did the job of two parents for a large portion of my childhood.

final note: I’m about to cry now, so I’m going to go clean house or something to distract myself so I don’t cry because I am fighting a sinus infection that is causing some really ugly vertigo as a result.

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