Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

I know times were different when I was adopted. People didn’t think it should be made into a big deal—which ended up making it a bigger deal than necessary.

I don’t remember being told I was adopted. It was something I always knew. I still like that part of my story. It was the beginning of forming my identity in the world. Since my brother is also adopted, it seemed to be the norm in our house.

You’ve told me that experts said not to worry. You felt that we were yours; we would feel that you were ours. It would just happen. We didn’t need to talk about it. The connection would be there.

It’s so much more complicated than that. I wish we had talked about it. I wish we could now. I needed to feel special. I needed to feel chosen and wanted. I needed you to wonder where my singing voice came from, since it’s not yours. Needed for you to realize how odd it is that I look like you and Dad, to be pleased by that happy fluke, instead of pointing out that it was just logical since the agencies matched by ethnicity. I needed you to realize how similar we actually are and to help me because I think you know what it’s like to be painfully shy. I don’t think you even realized how difficult things could be for me as a kid. But, since I’m not biologically connected to you, why would we share the same struggle?

I’m now an adoptive parent, and I wish we could talk about what I’m going through. Instead, when I ask you about my own childhood, you can’t remember me as a little baby. You forgot to tell me I was in a foster home before I came to you. When we found out my birthday was five days later than we had always believed, I was 16. I needed you to understand how much it hurt that no one knew when I was born. I needed you to feel as upset and unbalanced as I did. Instead, you felt that I was too “sensitive.”

When you say—out of the blue—that you don’t think you burned my birth certificate, why can’t you see that you have burned away a part of me? I know that much of this is done because of your fear and insecurities.

I struggle every day with the same overpowering emotions. I try to deal with them head on. As I look into my own children’s eyes, I see my childhood fears and vulnerabilities reflected back to me. I realize that I’m trying to heal myself as much as heal them. Our children will know their story. The ugly and the beautiful. They will know who they are and how much they are loved, wanted, and needed. Still, one day they will write me a letter telling me all of my own mistakes. I know this, too.

I love you. You’re my mom. As an adopted kid, now an adoptive parent, I felt like a drifting island until my children landed in my arms. I think you felt like an island too, maybe. I wish we could have been each other’s anchors.