Saturday, May 19, 2007

Having Two Mothers

I had every intention of writing about mothers on Mother’s Day, but I was too busy spending the time with my mother. Personally, I think this is the best excuse out there.

As a Korean adoptee, whenever mother’s day comes around, there is no way to forget that I have two mothers out there. I have my mother and my birth mother. My son also has a mother and a birth mother.

My mother is the one who raised me, occasionally drives me crazy and made me who I am. I don’t like to use the term “adoptive mother” when talking about my mother. Mostly, I feel that it’s an unnecessary label. When it comes to Mother’s Day, she’s the first and last mother that I think of and I doubt that will ever change. She was the steady part of my childhood (and adulthood) and the reason that I remain grounded in everything that I do. No matter what happened, she was there.

Mother’s Day is also a day that I think about my birth mother. As mothers (and fathers), I think that it is our responsibility to make sure that Mother’s Day is also about birth mothers. For some children, talking about birth mothers would seem like a taboo subject on Mother’s Day. Here you are celebrating the mother that you love and that has raised you, but you are thinking about the other mother that made everything possible. The child does not want to make the mother feel bad by mentioning someone else. Guilt often rears its ugly head and discussions that should take place, don’t take place.

In my case, I never felt that guilt and that perhaps is what makes my mother the first and the last. Though she didn’t know much about my birth mother, my birth mother was always an open topic. I wasn’t a child that dwelled on my birth mother much (and I sometimes feel a little guilt about that), but I think that part of my comfort was knowing that I could talk about my birth parents at any time. There was an open door and I knew that if I needed to talk about my birth mother on Mother’s Day, my mother would be there to listen.

So, in the tradition of mothers and daughters, I strive to emulate what she has taught me. I have to say that it won’t be hard for me to talk with my son about his birth parents. While I don’t think of my own birth parents as often as some do, I find that I think about my son’s birth parents with some regularity. Just as my mother didn’t push me to explore the concept of birth parents, I won’t push my son, but I will make sure that he knows that the door is always open.

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