|My daughter's Mother's Day card one year|
While I was feeling sorry for myself, I always imagined a big celebration going on with her adoptive mother--card, dinner, what-have-you. There were other children, and her adoptive father who was not likely to let any of them forget. I don't know if that was the case because I never asked.
But one year, I got a wonderful hand-made card that said:
To my Other Mother. Inside it says: "I couldn't find a card that defined our relationship, but then all that truly matters is that I let you know, I Love You. Happy Mothers day LORRAINE, love
Jane." It must have come with a present, because there is a note on the back about using whatever she sent to "relax after a long hard day."
We can't make Mother's Day into the kind of pleasant celebration it will be for mothers who are raising children, who may have a dad-supervised breakfast in bed served on a tray with a rose in a bud vase. The restaurants will be full and there will be beaming mothers everywhere. For florists, Mother's Day is a bonanza. Ditto for Hallmark. But for many, if not most, first mothers this day is bitter without any sweet.
|Lorraine with daughter Jane and her daughter|
And if you just want to ignore the whole damn Mother's Day commotion, remember that Monday it will not be Mother's Day anywhere for another entire year.
BIRTH MOTHER'S DAY???
|Lorraine and her alternate universe daughter|
MEMOIR READING IN SAN FRANCISCO ON SATURDAY
And without thinking about it, I am going to be part of an adoption-themed program on Saturday at a bookstore on Saturday in San Francisco. A piece of Hole in my Heart, my memoir in progress, will be included in readings by first mothers and adoptees, following a performance piece by singer and dancer Deanna Ross. The event will be from 5 -7 p.m. Saturday, May 11 at Alley Cat Books, 3036 24th St., San Francisco. (I personally will not be there; someone is reading from my work.)
Earlier in the day, there will be an exhibit of a collection of personal objects contributed by first mothers at the Red Poppy Art House. Guests may add a message or silent intention honoring first/birth mothers. The exhibit, Our Place at the Table: Honoring Birth Mother Stories, is free of charge, and will be open from 1-4 p.m. at the Red Poppy, 2698 Folsom. (http://redpoppyarthouse.org) The Red Poppy is less than two blocks away from Alley Cat books. (http://www.dogearedbooks.com/
Both events are a collaboration between the Adoption Museum Project
FIRST MOTHER MAKING HEADWAY AS COMMON USAGE
In searching for "Birth Mother Celebrations," I discovered that "First Mother" is making headway. The Adoption Card Shop sells: First Mothers/Birth Mothers, for Mother's Day cards. Here's what is says about one card: "This field of beautiful tulips greeting card will help you to remember your child’s 'First Mother' this year on Mother’s Day." That is progress.
At a site called Holiday Insights, it's noted that Birth Mother's Day is not without controversy.
"If ever there was a controversial holiday, this is it. The day was established by birth mothers to educate, to remember, and to cope. But, many mothers who gave up their children have feelings of remorse, and often guilt. Many don't want a special day. And, of those mothers who want to be remembered, they don't necessarily want a special day, aside from Mother's Day. They feel they should remember, and be remembered, on Mother's Day.
From the child's perspective, adopted children understandably have a high level of anxiety over this topic. A fair number of them don't want a relationship with their birth mother, adding more controversy to this day. [Just quoting here, and that is what it says.]
If you do celebrate this day, we suggest you use it to promote education of the issues, and to show compassion and understanding to birth mothers."
We know that "first mother" is gaining ground, and preferred by many, but we continue to use both terms, as well as biological and natural mother, and will, because "birth mother" is how many first mothers and adoptees and adoptive parents find us at First Mother Forum. While we understand the reasons, we abhor the divisiveness that has grown up around the use of birth mother. This infighting does more harm than good. And while others may use "birth mother" as one word, we keep it two words, so that that MOTHER stands alone. Why not adoptivemother as a single word--English has long words, the meaning would be clear, and the adoptive mother would never be able to escape the adoptive part, just as we are not allowed to escape our status as long as birthmother is a single word. But please note, we refer for our blog as First Mother Forum and FMF. If you want to know how I really feel.--lorraine
How Birth Mothers Survive 'Mother's Day'
Why I'm not celebrating "Birth Mother's Day"
Mother's Day: The Holiday from Hell, Part 2
What’s Wrong with Birthmother Events on Mother’s Day? Just about EVERYTHING
B. J Lifton's Mother's Day card
The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories
"Educator, writer, and adoptive mother Wadia-Ells has put together an enthralling set of essays from birth mothers, adopted mothers, and adopted daughters. Each story reveals a different facet of the adoption process and of family life in general. Stories of adoptions of all sorts--closed, international, private, and state-sanctioned--are included here, as are stories of a variety of women and from times throughout the last half of this century. Some adoptions were good for all parties involved, and some were not. Either way, the autobiographical compositions in this reader are consistently fascinating and poignant, and the broad spectrum of the writers' experience makes the book particularly worthwhile."--From Library Journal
This would make a wonderful gift for a first mother, one's adoptive mother, or an adopted individual. Full disclosure: A piece by moi called "Family Reunions" opens the book.