This is one of the things that' I've understood from the beginning. Adoption involves joy, but it also involves pain. I don't think there can be an adoption story that doesn't have, as some part of it, pain for someone. In fact, all members of the adoption triad experience their own kind of pain.
While I've made some mistakes in regards to my expectations about parenting my children -- thinking that they would be grateful, for example, or that Christmas was going to be a fun day, I at least predicted Mother's Day would be a tough one for older kids.
In the past we have had some horrific Mother's Days and I felt sorry for myself. Last year was the best one we have ever had. But as the kids grew older I started to think about what it might be like to be one of my kids and what I would be thinking about as a teenager who had been adopted.... And so I'm writing this from their perspective.
Happy Frickin Mother's Day
I was just a toddler. You had a choice -- me or the guy who knocked you unconscious on a regular basis. You chose him and moved across the country. Happy Frickin' Mother's Day.
I was a new baby. You were too busy with your "night job" to take care of me so you gave me away to a friend. Twenty months later they found me in a cardboard box during a drug raid. I was sick and dirty and had cigarette burns on my face. By the time I got to the orphanage i was so messed up that nobody wanted to adopt me for 9 years after that. Happy Frickin' Mother's Day.
You dropped us off on the side of the road and said "You boys are too horrible. I can't parent you any more" and then you never did what you were supposed to do to get us back. Happy Frickin' Mother's Day.
You had a choice -- drugs or us. You chose drugs. Happy Frickin' Mother's Day.
I thought you were going to adopt me. I called you Mom. I took your last name. I finally convinced myself to trust you. But then you changed your mind and before I knew it I was back in the system. Happy Frickin' Mother's Day.
I know it's Mother's Day. I know I'm supposed to be nice to you because you chose me -- because you have given me a home and because you love me. But today I'm not thinking about you. So not only do I have to feel bad because the mom that gave me life didn't want me, I have to feel bad for ruining your day too.
But why can't I be like everyone else? Why can't I have a Mom who looks like me? Why can't I have a Mom who kept me? Why can't I be with my blood relatives living with people of my own culture? Why do I have to walk around being different every day?
There must be something wrong with me if the person who gave me birth didn't want me.
So as hard as you try to make this a good day, it won't be a good day for me. If I'm really strong I might be able to fake it. Or maybe I can make myself remember all the good things about you. But no matter how much I love you, appreciate you even, today might not be the day to ask me to say something.
Because Mother's Day is supposed to be about her and I'm supposed to be with her. And this day I feel more different than I do on any other day of the year. So don't be unhappy.... just remember I didn't choose this. I don't want to be angry or sad today -- I want to be like my friends. But I'm not.
So Happy Frickin' Mother's Day to Me. I know it's supposed to be about you, but today..... it's about her. And it's about me. And I'm not quite mature enough yet to work all this out. So for another year, just let me be me. The pressure of pretending sometimes gets to be too much. I'll do the best I can but it probably won't be good enough. Please know, that even if I don't say it, I do love you and I'm sorry I can't do better. It's not your fault this stuff happened to me, but it's not my fault either.
Someday when I'm all grown up and have it figured out, maybe then we'll have some good Mother's Days. But someday isn't here yet, so please, Mom, hang in there with me one more time.
So, as an adoptive mom, I ask God for strength to prepare for Sunday, the day that is supposed to be about me. I'll ask him to remind me to be patient with the children who have not yet been able to deal with the pain and to remember how hard it is for them. And I'll soak up every moment of joy from the ones who are emotionally healthy enough to express their love. Because on the one day when most women are allowed to be selfish, it's my job to be the most selfless of all.