ABANDON : ABAN·DON | \ Ə-ˈBAN-DƏNMerriam-Webster Dictionary
1 a: to give up to the control or influence of another person or agent
B: To give up with the intent of never again claiming a right or interest in
A funny thing happened today: I woke up thinking about how it’s Mother’s Day and I need to call my mom and then I thought about my birth mother. Wait, whaa?? It’s not like I’ve never thought about her but she’s definitely not someone who pops into my mind. So what prompted this?
If you know me, you know that I am adopted. I’ve talked about my story and that I have no connection to my birth mother; that I consider the woman who raised me to be my mother. It’s a fact but I think the way I say it comes across too callous towards my birth mother. Some struggle with their adoption and I can’t say that I was really one of them. But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have questions. I wondered why I was given up but I was also thankful that my birth mother chose to give me life rather than abort me. I have no ties to the woman but I think what I realized this morning was that she expressed herself as my mother in an incredibly powerful way. She showed she was a mother by perfect abandonment of me.
“To give up with the intent of never again claiming a right or interest in”. Hard to see that as positive right? Even harder if I were to add “me” at the end of it, right? But it is positive because that’s what my birth mother did. You can spin it by saying she had no interest in me, she didn’t want me. But she had me in a hospital, she went through the process of putting me up for adoption, she chose to give me a chance at life and a family. As a mother myself, I can’t imagine carrying a person, knowing the feel of their movements and kicks, giving birth and listening to that first cry, only to watch someone take that child away, knowing that the little person who grew inside you won’t call you “mom”. My birth mother chose to give up her intent to claim or take an interest in me so that I might have what she may not have been able to provide.
It was perfect abandonment by a mother.
Now lest you think I’m not as thankful for the mom who raised me, let me be clear that there is no comparison between the two! My parents thought they were done after my sister but then Korea opened its doors and after inquiring on a whim, my mom was told that there was me. She became Mom to me, pouring energy, love, hours, wisdom, tears, laughter, and basically all of herself into me. Being the youngest and with an eight-year age gap between me and my sister, I grew up like an only child and truly became my mom’s little shadow. It meant I learned so much from her and she became my friend. We’ve had some significant rough patches but she’s still my mom and that’s something I know won’t change.
So this Mother’s Day, I want to recognize two significant moms: the one who raised me and the one who gave me life. May I take the lessons I learned from listening and watching the woman who raised me and apply it to the way I raise my own. May my children know and feel the combined love of that of their grandmother who poured her love out on me so that I might pour that and my own love onto my kids. And may I be humbled by the sacrificial love of my birth mother whose perfect abandonment gave me a chance to be able to sit here and write about a mom who raised me and the kids who made me a mom.