searching for bio Mom…

I’m thinking of having a t-shirt made with ‘HERE’S YOUR BABY’ so Bio Mom will know where I am. I started searching for her last month. So far, I’ve filled out forms, done follow up phone calls, emails and added a side of stress. As a reward I received a giant redacted file detailing my adoption. Redacted means my birth name and bio mother’s name have been omitted as though I’m top secret.

Bio Mom would be 73 years old. She gave me up for adoption when she was 23.  Right this second, she’s Schrödinger’s cat. It’s a quantum physics question that feels oddly simple compared to finding a birth mother.

My Bio Mom could be alive or dead. It would almost be a relief if she were dead. That way I could always believe she always wanted me.  I’ve spent countless hours worrying I’d be rejected. Or she could be alive.

I used to be angry at her. Now I wonder what Bio Mom thought when she handed me over?  My parents received me at 10 days old.  I must have been miserable.  Bio Mom must have been more miserable.   I was a healthy little girl, her healthy baby.  

I grew up with my Mom, Doris. She gave me the outfit I arrived in 49 3/4 years ago. It’s a lovely baby yellow sweater, hat and booties set. It was hand knit by my biological mother aka Bio Mom. I was very grateful to have this small artifact but it failed to move me forward in my life. It is in the end a collection of objects.

What I really wanted was to look into someone else’s face and see a familiar feature.  You see, I look very different from my entire adopted family. I’ve wondered would her voice would sound familiar?  Isn’t that a thing?  Don’t newborns know their mother’s voice?

I want her to be perfect and kind, like Mary Poppins. I imagine her name is Esther, Alice or Mary.   I am now going to look up common names for women born at that time.  (Most popular girl names in 1948 were: Linda, Mary, Barbara and Patricia if you were wondering) I think she was a school or music teacher.  I think she used to be fun.  I hope she still is. 

The author Betty Jean Lifton calls this living in the “Ghost Kingdom.” It’s the place where adoptees can go and “hang out” with their birth relatives and imagine life if they hadn’t been adopted.

by Lesli Johnson for HuffPost

I have thought of what my life would be if I’d never been adopted. In Forbidden Family, Betty Jean Lifton describes this fantasy as a “Ghost Kingdom”. In my alternate reality, my birth parents never gave me up. We all go skiing and to Hawaii for vacations. I look a lot like at least one person in my family, I am the oldest and have an adorable little brother. I belong.

Being adopted is certainly not a tragedy. I had a very safe and mostly happy childhood. I’m grateful and truly I miss my parents. But, I’ve always want to feel picked.  Mom always said I was loved. She said it over and over.  I used to wonder if there was something wrong with me only she could overlook. 

These days, I have a lot of questions…

What do you call someone who gave you up at birth?  Bio-Mom (it’s easy)? Natural mother?  Hey you?  Birth mother?

What if she’s crazy or even worse, boring? What if she can’t keep plans or is annoyingly perfect? Could she be a cruel person?

Or maybe she’s my fantasy Mom.  She’s been active all her life, loves wine and good food.  She’s traveled everywhere and wears lovely scarves from all the places she’s been.  I hope her hair is hippy long… or pixie short.  

Is she healthy? Paralyzed from a sky diving accident or in a coma after saving a baby kitten from drowning?  

I wonder if she’s pretty?

Where does a birth mother fit into a (near) 50 year old’s life?  What the heck am I doing?  I barely know what I want to do aside from travel and running and cooking… I rarely make enough time for the family and friends I have. Aside from all that, putting myself out there is bit scary.

Lately, I find myself watching my facebook and email for a note from a biological mother I don’t know. In the meantime, wish me luck.

more to read…

10 Things Adoptees Want You to Know | HuffPost Life

Betty Jean Lifton – Forbidden Family

photo credit:

%d bloggers like this: