Being a mom is the best job I’ve ever had. It’s also the hardest. As a mother of an adopted child, Mother’s Day takes a on a different connotation, giving both my daughter and me an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of this day.
The above quote speaks volumes to me and is a reminder that the overwhelming joy I feel about being a mother comes at a price to both my daughter and the woman who gave birth to her.
We know very little about the birth mother but in my heart, I believe that she feels a deep sense of loss for the infant she gave up. It pains me that she may never know the amazing child she gave birth to, or feel my gratitude for her sacrifice.
Somewhere out there is a woman who gave me the greatest gift of my life and I have no way to thank her.
For my daughter, I ache knowing that there are unanswered questions about her lineage, the circumstances around her birth, and her biological mom’s decision to abandon her in the hospital.
My daughter may never know where her physical features come from, or why she has a knack for building and figuring out how things work. I can’t tell her stories about the day she was born, or fill in the blanks of the seven months before I brought her home. I don’t know anything about her grandparents, or if she has siblings.
My heart sinks every time there’s a school project on family trees, ancestry and genetics. Hard as I try to expose my Vietnamese child to her culture, and teach her about the traditions of her people, there are nuances that can only be learned by being immersed in the culture.
As a parent, I want to be able to supply my child with answers, but the answers are unknown. And the hardest question of all….WHY? Why did she leave me? This question, often unspoken, but always there, weighs heavily on her heart.
On Mother’s Day, we celebrate by spending time together and doing something fun that we both enjoy. I’m sensitive to the fact that each year may bring new questions and difficult feelings.
Even though Mother’s Day is supposed to be about me, I know that it is more about her. I don’t need a fancy brunch, flowers or presents.
She is my gift and I am so lucky to be her mom.
-Amy Vogelson is a director of Community Resilience Residential for Southwest Behavioral & Health Services.