Celebrating Mother’s Day as an Adoptee


I’m sharing pictures of my mom and me in honor of Mother’s Day.

Celebrating Mother's Day as an Adoptee

I know what you’re thinking: “Cute! I see where she gets her good looks from.” Okay, probably not that. Maybe something more along the lines of: “They look nothing alike.” Well, that’s because I’m adopted. As an adoptee, I was often asked how I celebrated Mother’s Day. Growing up, my peers wanted to know if I had two moms.

My parents adopted me when I was 18 months old. The only mom I knew and understood was the one that raised me. It was only natural that I celebrated her on Mother’s Day. I never celebrated my biological mother. She rarely crossed my mind. I had no emotions for the woman that brought me into this world.

Celebrating Mother's Day as an Adoptee

Initially, I believed my feelings would change after I had my own children. I thought I would finally be curious about my biological mother. That I would wonder if they shared her nose or mannerisms. But you know what? I didn’t.

My mom, the woman I share zero DNA with, was still the only mother I considered. She continued to be the only person I celebrated on Mother’s Day.

Then she passed away.

My mom died in January 2017. My first Mother’s Day without her was hard. I was a hot mess. My feelings were complicated. I had an overwhelming sense of loss and guilt. I missed my mom, of course. But I also found myself missing my biological mother for the first time.

My reasons for missing my biological mother were selfish, though. I had zero interest in getting to know her on a personal level. I had no desire to discover why she abandoned me. Instead, I wanted her to see the person I’ve become. I wanted her to know I was a mother too. That I created six people, some of which may or may not share her nose.

I needed her to know my childhood was happy. I am successful. My life is good. And I wanted her to know that I wish her happiness and love.

However, I also felt guilty that I didn’t need or want her in my life. I was ashamed that I never wondered about my biological mother before. Also, I regretted that she would never get to know how great her grandchildren are. I felt guilty my children will never completely know their biological history.

I am not angry at my birth mother. In fact, I thank her. That’s cliche, I know, but it’s true. I thank this unknown woman, the one I may or may not share a nose with, every Mother’s Day since 2017. I thank her for bringing me into the world, especially when it was culturally unacceptable to have a mixed-race child in South Korea at that time.

Now, I celebrate two women on Mother’s Day.

I am grateful for the mother that gave me life. And I honor the mother that made my life the best one she possibly could.

Originally published May 2022.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.


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