Friday, May 08, 2009

Happy Frickin Mother's Day

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.


Hannah_Rae said...

That was powerful. And eye opening. I'm not sure I am ready for that reality. I've been waiting a long time for my first mother's day, so it's easy to get my hopes up. I want to get my hopes up. Gabe and I talked about this last night, and apparently he LOVES to celebrate mother's day. We'll see how it goes.

Anywho, thank you for being willing to tell the hard truth. (But if I start crying uncontrollably later I am citing your post)



Claudia said...

OK. You can blame me for making you cry uncontrollably......


But I hope you're pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I am.

Corey said...

Thank you, Claudia.

It's awful, but I've pretty much come to hate every holiday, for my kids' sakes. I just don't want to celebrate them, I don't want to make them have to go through all the crap that they obviously go through on those days. I was just saying last night that in the last 2 years, there has not been a single holiday that has passed where one son has not threatened to kill someone. How awful for him. But honestly, how awful for our other kids, and for us, too.

I guess Norman Rockwell, we are not.

Angela :-) said...

Crying here, too.

Angela :-)

Yondalla said...

We keep Mother's and Father's day really low-key. The bioboys will sometimes bring me breakfast and my 20-somethings (all from foster care) usually call, and that is wonderful.

The foster kids still at home. They do what they want or need, even if that means going to a friend's house and joining in a celebration of another mother.

SocialWkr24/7 said...

It is amazing that you are able to see these things from your children's perspectives. I'd have moved a lot less children from home to foster home if their Foster Parents had been able to understand this too. Thank you for being amazing!

Fostermama said...

Thanks for the cry....I came over from Big Momma's site.

Jen C said...

That was so incredibly powerful. You children are very lucky that you are able to see things through their eyes, though I am sure it is not easy.

I hope you have a uneventful Mother's Day with a bit of joy snuck in!

BTW- I saw your hubby and you present at the Children's Mental Health Conference in Duluth. It was a wonderful presentation and I was to say that I appreciate your humor very much!!


Cindy said...

Claudia - thank you so much for this post. I actually got a card today from a daughter that has been gone for several years now. It was the first time I've ever gotten a card for her. But some of the others. Thank you for putting things back in perspective for me.

In His peace - Cindy
MoM(Mom of Many)

Kristi said...

Wow! That was very powerful. I've been having all sorts of weird feelings over what is supposed to be my first Mother's day and I imagine she is too. This really puts it in perspective...thank you.

Christine said...

I like to have my own surprise holidays. When all the kids are in a good mood or being slightly lovely, I declare it (just to myself) Mother's Day ... or my birthday!

Then (to myself) I talk about how sweet and amazing the kids are being to me and how nice it is they are making the holiday so special.

Yes, it's delusional, but it gives me a special day without making them suffer through it. :)

Not to mention, I am very gifted at being delusional.

K said...

Wow girl, you hit the nail on the head. Yesterday (Mother's Day) was a bit rough on me as one of my adopted sons just didn't have it in him to do or say anything to me about Mother's Day. It hurt me because he normally is quite thoughtful. Thank you for giving me his possible perspective.

Hopewell said...

I am with you. I've got one who can't deal with Mother's Day and one who overcompensates for the sibling. We skip Church and just get thru the day. I was happy yesterday to have a "normal" fight over mowing the grass and then a "normal" family movie night. No card, no "Happy Mother's Day," but the "one" did find it possible to give a compliment and use "thank you" in another context. In 6 years that's the best so far.

Ours said...

I want to thank you, Claudia, for putting this day in perspective for me.
Because I read this post prior to Mother's Day, I really feel it made a difference in how the day turned out for me.
Not the kids were different, but my understanding of it was different.
Our bio-kids are both away from home now and on their own, but I deal with 4 "other Mothers".
I was able to celebrate the small things on this day.
It went just fine...for ALL.
Thanks! again! for a wonderful post! I hope you enjoyed your day!

themommie said...

thanks so much for putting this into perspective. It is so hard sometimes to know how they are feeling or what they are going through. ....themommie