' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Why Don't We Have National Adoptive Mother's Day?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Why Don't We Have National Adoptive Mother's Day?

This is going to be the shortest post ever because I have just been on the phone with Jennifer, my alternate universe daughter, Evan, my step-son and his son, Dylan, and then I called adoption-reform pioneer and founder of ALMA, Florence Fisher to tell her about the wonderful email I got my granddaughter, Lisa...who was adopted (yes, if you are new to my life and the blog, that is the case, my daughter was one of the many adoptees who also relinquished a child for adoption and I could not stop it)  and whom I contacted shortly after New Year's.

Let me just say her email was wonderful, and thanks everyone--Jess and Alison and Celeste and others--for the cards and calls, and for everyone who left a comment. I was really down in the dumps earlier in the week--was it Mother's Day approaching? probably--but the day turned out fine. My husband and I went antiquing (he found a book of American maps he was searching, I found a fab rhinestone-and-enamel pin of two parrots from the Fifties) and had brunch in a noisy busy Mom-and-Pop kind of place. But the reason for the now post is not to talk about "my day," but to direct you to one you all have to read: Happy Birthmother Day or Happy Adopter Day.

Cassie, I wish I had written it...you hit the nail on the head with a twenty-pound hammer. Thank you for writing it.--lorraine


  1. I just want to go on record as saying Happy Adoptive Mothers Day would be fine with me but as I said at Cassi's, no matter what kind of mom we're talking about, one day should honour them all, dead or alive. Cannot for the life of me see the point of Happy Beemommy Day (now that I know what Beemommy means) unless it was to demean and ridicule. Ick.

  2. The reason why there isn't & probably won't ever be a "Adoptive Mother day" is because A.) Adoptive mom's already have a day: it's called MOTHER'S DAY! Heck, they have EVERY day to be more specific. B.)Birthmothers are assigned that title not out of respect, but as a way to "put us in our place" as if we didn't already know where that was. Those are not words meant to accentuate a relationship but exclude you from another. "Birthmother day" was born out of that sense of exclusion a lot of us have felt. I know mother's who relinquished that have never felt comfortable celebrating Mother's day for obvious reasons. So love or leave it, birthmother day is here to stay. To each their own. Whatever make one happy & helps one get through this difficult time of year is fine by me.

  3. I thought "BirthMother Day" was started by a group of Adoptees. At least that is what I thought I read a few years ago on a forum somewhere..and it was started to acknowledge and credit all of you, not cut you down. Maybe the Adoption Industry shanghied it then and as usual twisted something good into something bad. And osolomama-for the record, "beemommie" means women who put their babies up for Adoption and then sing the praises of doing so online and off. Not caring about the rejection we Adoptees feel. "Beemommie" is latin for Real Mommie Koolaid......

  4. I think that Cassie's post was really good. A great comparison that to me just reinforces that there need only be one Mother's Day in which we, individuals with our own unique experiences, celebrate whomever we think of as mom, whether they be with us or not.
    I'd never in my life heard of these adoption related days before entering blog land. Gotcha day is another I don't get. I can't even imagine!
    The thing is, those who do celebrate these days, no matter how weird it seems to some(me), have the right to do so.

    And for the record, "we adoptees" do not all feel rejection.

  5. I went to a few birthmother day celebrations and they were ok. The idea was thought up by a birthmother in Washington state whose name slips my mind at the moment. In any case the intitial intent was not to demean birthmothers, although some agencies have run with it and used it in questionable ways. I say if you do not like it ignore it. It hardly merits all the angst it has generated in birthmother blogs this year.

    I think adoptive mother's day would be fine too. In fact, it would not hurt for both birthmothers and adoptive mothers to acknowledge that our mothering is different due to our circumstances, and that the poor adoptee is often caught between trying to honor both. Adoptees have two mothers and that is fact, and I wish we could stop trying to be the one and only real mommy, from both sides.

    I hate the term "beemommie" no matter who it is applied to.

  6. I find it really hard to believe that a birth mother who felt the sting of relinquishing her child is really the "brains" behind a "Birth Mother Day."

    The idea was? Let's all get together and recognize that we did something that we have spent the rest of our lives grieving over? Cool, I'm in.

    I don't think so. The only birth mother celebrations I have ever heard of are connected to adoption agencies, thus...they are pats on the head for supplying their goods in the free market of supply (that's us popping out babies) and demand (adoptive parents).

    And Hallmark et all take notice: As I have said before, the only "mother's day" card my daughter sent that I found offensive was a birth mother card. It was the one card I did not keep.

  7. What is the point of having a Happy Birthmother's Day?

    I mean, logically, if it hurts so much to give up a child... why is there a "Happy" term in the title itself?

    (P.S. I had no idea Happy Birthmother's Day even existed until, like, last year, when it showed up on the blogosphere.)

  8. Google is our friend:-) Birthmother Day was started by Mary Jane Wolch-Marsh and a group of Seattle Birthmothers. It was not initially meant to be a "happy" day but an acknowledgment of our motherhood. But like so much of our history, this fact gets lost in what people want to believe rather than what actually happened.

    "Mary Jean Wolch-Marsh first conceived the idea as a result of her own adoption experience. She knew she was a mother, but didn't feel recognized as such, either by those around her or by her daughter's parents. Remembering the feelings she'd experienced at her daughter's birth - feelings of triumph and euphoria; she used them to help in her own healing. May Birth Mother's Day bring acknowledgment and recognition to every birth mother who ever loved a child lost to adoption. May it honor and celebrate every mother who became childless after birthing a child, and was forgotten on Mother's Day. For birthmothers, the observance can be a time to affirm joys and acknowledge the sorrow, grief, and pain that are a part of many experiences. It can also be a time to break the silence and release years of anguish, worry, shame, or guilt. The purpose of Marsh's Birth Mother's Day ceremony is insight, affirmation, growth, and wisdom."

    From Brenda Romanchik's insightful article on Birthmother's Day:

    "Birth Mother's Day was created in 1990 by a group of Seattle Washington birth mothers who met each other at a birth parent support group. It grew out of the shared recognition that Mother's Day is one of the most painful days of the year- second only to the birthday of our missing children. Yet birth mothers have been shut out of the traditional celebration and remembrances of the holiday. Most birth mothers are neither named nor recognized among the mothers in our midst. For most birth mothers there are no cards or flowers. Society treats the motherhood of the birth mother as a momentary event that fades quickly from the collective memory. It often seems we are even forgotten by those who received the gift and the privilege of parenthood through the birth mother's loss."

  9. Adoptive Mothers don't need a day; they have a month every November.

  10. As a little PS, Birthmother's Day may well be an idea that has run its course and if so that is fine with me. Especially since it has been misused by some adoption promoters, but it began as a good thing started by birthmothers, just as the word "birthmother" itself, and neither deserve all the hatred and misinformation heaped on them.

    Don't like the word, don't use it, don't like the holiday, don't celebrate it, but let others do what works for them, and hopefully put all the heated rhetoric around these non-issues to rest.

    There are plenty of real abuses in adoption to get upset about without manufacturing new ones.



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