When An Adoptee Becomes A Mom

It happens to a lot of adoptees who become parents, I was the first blood kin my mom had ever laid eyes on (for my dad too as they were both adoptees).

There is an intensity to being in the presence of someone connected to us on a cellular level.  I remember feeling this when my own grandson was born.  I knew on a level deeper than I ever imagined that he had come down my own lineage.

No doubt, giving birth to me gave my mom an overwhelming sensation of having someone “similar” to her. It may have even been intense and over-the-top emotionally for her when I was born.

Every non-adopted person does the same thing with a new baby – they immediately begin identifying characteristics that belong to the family. I remember when I saw my daughter for the very first time, she looked like every baby picture of my family I remembered ever seeing. She looked like us.

Only 13 months after I was born, my younger sister was born.  Was our mom astounded all over again ? Maybe less so. She already had a toddler (me) to care for.

Growing up, the two of us were treated as though we were twins.  We were dressed alike and certainly we looked like siblings. I’m not certain what drove that behavior towards us – maybe it really was the novelty of genetically related children that was so unique in our family.

I know from my mom’s stories that she knew absolutely nothing about keeping house or cooking – her adoptive mother was a perfectionist who had no patience with teaching my mom. As the younger sibling in her adopted family, she probably didn’t know much about caring for us either but somehow we survived it all.

I would hope that my mom would have felt a glow at how her children responded to her kind heart. Certainly, she adored us, I never doubted that.  She has died and I can no longer ask her the new questions that have emerged for me as I have come to understand the issues of adoption so much more accurately.

I was aware of and felt the emotional toll my mom’s efforts to know about her original family took on her. How devastated she was to be denied and because I now have what she was not given, I know her “story” about being stolen was way more painful than the truth that her mother tried very hard to keep her and was bested by a master – Georgia Tann.

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