Mother’s Day is a day that makes me think of handmade gifts and cards from children, mothers extra dressed up in church in anticipation of grand lunches and doting all the day through. I remember seeing some mothers in church wearing corsages, and I thought, that is extra nice, a little note pinned to the lapel that lets everyone know she is honored. Mother’s Day can be a day of renewal and rekindling of soft feelings and assured love. But Mother’s Day and adoption do not always flow nicely together. Let’s just be honest and say it’s complicated. And we can also make space for the fact that for some Birth Mothers, Mother’s Day feels like a day to avoid, rather than celebrate.


There is so much that goes into how one feels about Mother’s Day, in general. For some, their mother has passed, leaving a hole where there was someone to celebrate for Mother’s Day. Others do not have their children in their lives for one reason or another, leaving Mother’s Day to feel like a day of longing. Some mothers have children that have passed, making Mother’s Day another day for mourning instead of celebration. There are scenarios that I likely forgot to mention. I think it suffices to say, that not all mothers consider Mother’s Day a holiday of rainbows and sunshine. For Birth Mothers, the day is a mix of the expectations of Mother’s Day and adoption clouding the feelings of joy. It is complicated to know another mother is being celebrated by your child on Mother’s Day.


Mother’s Day and Adoption Is Where Love And Pain Coexist


It is fair to say that most Adoptive Mothers are not just blindly going about Mother’s Day unbothered by the fact that another woman is possibly grieving the day she gets to have because of her decision. What ends up happening though is an uneasiness or an awkward dynamic between Birth Mother and Adoptive Mom because neither knows what to do with the feelings. Yes, there is Birth Mother’s Day the day before, but most Birth Mother’s are not very excited about the once-removed day to honor them.


That doesn’t mean that a Birth Mother must draw the shades and hang her head on Mother’s Day. There are things that can be done to redeem the day that could have been fully realized for her, but is alas been put aside for another. And there are ways that an Adoptive Family can celebrate their child’s Birth Mother without taking away from the festivities of motherhood for the Adoptive Mom.


Ways To Honor Your Child’s Birth Mother on Mother’s Day


One of the things that Birth Mother’s say a lot is that they do not feel seen. The best way to help her do that is to acknowledge her, first as a human, and second, but not lesser, as a woman who sacrificed much. Cultivating a relationship of love and understanding is the best way to have a healthy open(er) adoption. Letting her know she is thought of, honored in your home, and valued by her child’s adoptive family goes a long way in healing trauma and comforting in grief. So how can you do that?


1) Reach out periodically if you have not heard from her. It is cold comfort when she has not heard from her adoptive family all year and suddenly a Mother’s Day card arrives in the mail. If you want to send a card, but have not been in touch, be sure to put a note inside the card that says you want to be more connected. Make the card an invitation of sorts, not just communication out of left field. Including pictures are good, too.


2) Send a small gift on Mother’s Day. Gifts mean a lot. They say, “We thought of you and want you to have this to remember us by.” Keepsake gifts are always great things to give to Birth Mothers.


 3) Have your child make his or her Birth Mother a handmade gift or card. If these things from your children mean a lot to you, you can bet it will mean a lot to her also. There are some great ways to include a child’s hand print or foot print in a design for her to have as a something she can treasure. Handmade gifts are cherished by Birth Mothers so be sure and include one in her Mother’s Day package if you can.


Healing What Is Hurtful About Mother’s Day and Adoption


Sometimes what Birth Mothers feel during Mother’s Day is that there is still healing to be done around her adoption journey. And that is okay. No Birth Mother is ever done healing from her loss. She just learns to understand more about the feelings, what to do with them, and how to move forward and live harmoniously with the loss. That takes effort and purposeful determination to be well. It is also the best gift she can give to her biological child. If your child’s Birth Mother is looking for resources to heal and be whole in her adoption journey, there is help for her. Most Birth Mother healing resources are completely free to her. If your child’s Birth Mother needs help, contact Abiding Love Charities today for resources for her.


Let’s make Mother’s Day a better day for Birth Mothers. Adoption is beautiful and adoption is trauma. But Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be a subject to avoid for either one of you in your adoption relationship.