' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Christmas Thoughts for Those Separated by Adoption

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Thoughts for Those Separated by Adoption

Christmas, not April, is the cruelest time for many of us. All the gaiety, the awareness that families gather round together sharpen the reminder of who is missing: if you are a birth/first mother who has not been reunited, you are ever so aware of the presents you are not buying, the card not being sent, the phone call not made to the child who is absent from your life. You wonder if he/she ever thinks of you at this time of the year. Question not. He is.

If you are adopted, you are wondering if your other parents, especially your natural mother, are out there thinking about you. Question not. She does.

Christmas music seems designed to pierce through whatever shell you have surrounded yourself with and reach down to your very core and remind you: She is gone, she is six or sixteen or thirty-six, who is she today?--oh my god, that girl/teenager/young mother looks like me, could she be her? I used to barely be able to get through Christmas Mass without crying real tears, not just a few watery eyes. The high notes of The First Noel and Silent Night cut right to the heart of my heart. And so many reminders accost us daily: shopping at the mall and seeing people who are the age of your child, or catching a glimpse of a mother and daughter--you note how much they look and act alike, you can not help it--out together for the day, seeing something you wish you could give your daughter, if only you knew where she was.

For those who have been reunited with their lost children, but the initial joy at reconnection has gone aground in the murky waters past reunion, I can only say that I know how deeply disappointing and hurtful that is, and that I understand your fresh sorrow at this disjuncture. I had my time in that hellhole too. But in time and with belief in the innate yearning of blood seeking blood, the breach was bridged, once again, and we moved on. This is not to say time and persistence healed all wounds, for they did not, but they made it possible for my daughter and I to move on, and together. To those of you still in that perilous place of fractured reunion, especially to my good friends who are there, my thoughts are with you, and I hope you too find the peace and reconciliation my daughter and I reached.

Our path is not easy. The way is fraught with brambles and thorns. Memory is relentless and usually unforgiving. I am not a religious person, but it is so easy to ask, Why Me? Or Why Me, Lord? I do not have the answers. But I do know we were not meant to have our hell on earth to provide someone else's joy, to complete someone else's family, yet it does seem that that is the good--someone else's gain--that often springs from the sorrow and grief of losing our children. If I can find meaning in my own life, it is to use my experiences and with the voice of authority for having been there, having done that, given up a child, to work for change in adoption. If I can find meaning in my life, it is to free adoptees and birth/first mothers from the chains of the past that tie us on the rack of secrecy and anonymity. It is is to shine a little light on the injustice that was done to us all when we gave up our children for what we hoped would be a better life than we could provide. It is to try and prevent others from following our trail of tears. It is to work for a better tomorrow.

I will go to Mass on Christmas morning and ruminate about my daughter. I will not pray for her soul because I believe, if there is life after death, that she is in a good place. With her epilepsy, and being given up by me, her mother, she suffered a great deal in her too-short life. I will, I am sure, be once again overcome with emotion when the chorus sings Silent Night. And then, I will share the day with family and friends and good food and fellowship. And I will know that no matter how much I miss her at this time of year, Christmas is only a season, Christmas is only a day.

Tomorrow Christmas will be over, and life will go on.--lorraine

Merry Christmas everyone, Jane and I will be taking a short break here.


  1. Merry Christmas. Blessings for your new year.

  2. Beautiful post.

    Wishing you a very blessed Christmas.


  3. (((Hugs)))

    It's a rough time of year for 2/3 of the 'triad'.

  4. Merry Christmas to you all. Christmas can be a huge reminder of loss for many famiily members. I wish you a lot of love this year and hope for the new year coming.

    Thank you again for being here, for the quality of your writing and for giving so many mothers a voice.

  5. Well said, Lorraine. Merry Christmas to you and Jane. Enjoy your break.

  6. "...we were not meant to have our hell on earth to provide someone else's joy."

    Well said. Like you, I am trying to find meaning in my experiences by working toward change in adoption. Otherwise I don't think I'd be able to get out of bed in the morning. There has to be a meaning. Something good has to come out of it all.

    Wishing you all the best of the season and a very happy New Year!

  7. The blessings of the season to all, especially those who mourn,
    Here is a poem I wrote.

    Winter Solstice

    The reason for the season
    is always light
    As it was in the caves
    where we painted our dreams
    in ochre and soot
    To bless the hunt
    To bless our tribe

    As it was in the woods, glens,
    Oak groves of Druids, sacred fire,
    Sing back the sun
    Dance off the dark
    Remember the dead
    Give thanks for life
    Hands warmed over bonfires
    defying long night
    Wheel of the year goes round,
    goes round....

    Our people lived north,
    Bleak frozen place,
    Bereft of light
    Too long a winter
    made their skin white,
    milk ice, eyes blue
    as glaciers, cold sea,
    Europe's sky
    Made poets, warriors, madmen,
    priests, scoundrels, lost souls,
    Tellers of tales
    Keeping the Feast

    Electric lights,
    Christmas strings, angels, stars,
    Snowmen and Santas glow under snow,
    Today replace true fire.
    But still beneath
    Heart beats the same, same need
    To call bright sun, defy cruel dark
    Gather together in season of death,
    of cold, of grief and pain

    To say "light will win, summer come"
    If we sing, if we hope in frail light
    If we cherish
    This dawn
    Light will come again.

    Mary Anne Cohen
    Dec. 2009

  8. *hugs# from one first/birth/natural mom to another. Love and understanding.

  9. Merry Christmas, everyone.

    thank you for all your comments, your thoughts, your friendship...


  10. Lorraine,

    There are very few words to comfort this grief. I'm sorry for your losses. Know that you have touched so many lives for the better. Know that we care.

  11. My granddaughter Rachael is training to be a Mormon missionary. She wrote on her blog: "We really focus here on learning to have charity towards people." It fits. Her middle name is Charity.

    If I had but one wish this holiday season for all who are separated by adoption, it is for charity -- acceptance, compassion, and love.

    Merry Christmas to all and Best Wishes for the New Year.

  12. Beautiful post. As some one whose reunion has gone off the rails, say one for me/us.

    I find that trouble always occurs with my son at this time of year. As you have observed I don't think it is an accident.

    I think deep down, no matter what their posture to you, they feel the loss. We all do.

    Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.




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