Sometimes I’m asked who I feel is my “real” mom. Like most things in adoption, it’s complicated to answer. (Side note, I realize many adoptees, first parents and adoptive parents don’t like the term “real” regarding adoption but I grew up hearing it and to me it’s valid to discuss it. To each their own.)
I guess when some people hear me talk about my anger and negative feelings toward my adoptive mom, they may think it’s sort of a clear-cut situation where those feelings should lead to a definitive answer to that question, “which mom do you feel is your real mom?”
When I answer this question as a matter of fact, to me, my biological mom is my real mom. If I take a DNA test, the answer as to who my mother is, is a factual answer. I can say whatever I want – this person or that person is “like” a mom to me – but in reality, I only have one mother. The same as I can say I’m European and have red hair (maybe I even dye my hair red), but DNA doesn’t lie and the truth as to my real race is there.
But the emotional side is a bit more blurry.
My childhood memories are tied to my adoptive mother. It makes me angry. But then, I can’t hate some of the best moments of life. I can’t separate those things. My memories, my adoptive mom and I are all intertwined.
My first kiss with the love of my life happened while standing in the driveway of my childhood home.
My middle school friends and I grew up in and around my house. We caused trouble and laughed and cried in my home.
The memories of my first pets and a major source of happiness for me as a young child, center in my home.
My favorite Christmas memory happened while standing in the living room and being so happy my adoptive mom knew exactly what I wanted.
I can’t really ignore or separate these feelings and memories from that of my adoptive mom. She’s woven into the heart of them. Yet … that is the exact thing that intensifies my anger toward her. The fact that a person I despise and often feel sorry for, is at the center of so many tender moments really just pisses me off sometimes.
In everyday life, our childhood is referenced so much and I cringe almost every time. Even changing my password on some online account leads to 3 questions like: what is your mother’s maiden name, what was your first pet’s name, what street did you live on when you were five, etc. All of these questions are tied to memories that are directly related to my adoptive mom. (Another side note: I have childhood memories tied to my biological mom also since I was raised in an open adoption – but that would be a post in and of itself!)
So like many adoptees, the answer to the original question is complicated. I have one real mom. But I also have so many connections, memories and emotions toward another woman who (even though I am very angry with her) is tied to the title of “mom.”
One real mom. Yet, another “mom.”
And yes, it’s complicated.