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It was my mother’s birthday the other day…

08 Mar

Specifically, the birthday of my mother by birth.  The morning before, I had this thought that there was a birthday I was missing, but I had no idea whose, or even when, just that it was someone’s birthday soon, perhaps that day.  Seeing as I couldn’t figure it out I went to check my family trees to see if it was a direct line ancestor’s birthday.  I checked dad’s tree first because it’s the one I know best, nothing, so then I moved to my maternal birth family tree, and there it was, my mother’s birthday was the next day.

I pulled up the handful of pictures I have of her, then I searched for pictures of me looking for similar poses.  Searching for similarities.  At one point, I was looking at the very first picture I ever saw of my mother and one of me with my head tilted somewhat similar and my husband walked by and came back to see what I was staring at so intently, and he said, you really do look just like your mother.  He’s not one much for words, nor to get into deep emotional topics so for him to say that – means it must be so.  That picture is the same picture I took over to mom the day I got it, I’d handed it to her as soon as I came into the house and her response, I don’t recognise the dress and you look older, then I told her who was in the picture.

That is what living life as an adoptee in a closed adoption is, if you’re lucky, in my case I was 45 years old before I saw a picture of my mother.  Can you, a non-adopted individual imagine how that feels?  To not know who you take after, who else in your family shares a trait, what runs in your family health history?  Not to even know your mother’s birthday or what she looks like / looked like?

All these years later, this still bothers me.  There are tens of thousands of adoptees who will never even see a picture of their mother.  Never know who they were born to be.  Have gone, or will go to their graves never knowing.  Please check to see if adoptees in your state are working to change the laws so they too, can know who they were born to be, support them, call your legislators and tell them it’s time the laws changed.

Just google “adoptee rights” plus your state to find out.

 

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21 Comments

Posted by on March 8, 2017 in Adoption

 

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21 responses to “It was my mother’s birthday the other day…

  1. pj

    March 8, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks for this, Tao. Although I was so fortunate to be able to get my OBC from birth/ adopted state-have lived many years in Florida. For those Floridians not aware, Rep Richard Stark (D) of Weston just filed HB 257 for adult adopteee OBC access. Rep Strark is an adoptee ( New Jersey ) and is fighting hard for our rights 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

     
  2. cb

    March 8, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    “At one point, I was looking at the very first picture I ever saw of my mother and one of me with my head tilted somewhat similar and my husband walked by and came back to see what I was staring at so intently, and he said, you really do look just like your mother.  He’s not one much for words, nor to get into deep emotional topics so for him to say that – means it must be so.  That picture is the same picture I took over to mom the day I got it, I’d handed it to her as soon as I came into the house and her response, I don’t recognise the dress and you look older, then I told her who was in the picture.”

    I had the same reaction when I received my first real photo of my mother from my uncle (I’d seen two pictures in a family history book (which is what spurred me to make that final step, i.e. actual contact)), it was probably the closest I’d resembled anyone. I showed a workmate and at first, she thought it was a younger me (there are obvious differences but at first glance, one could see the similarity). When my uncle, aunt and cousin first met me, my aunt said straight away to my uncle “You can’t tell me that’s not P’s daughter”. As time goes by and the more I’ve looked at the other photos I’ve had, the less I think I resemble her yet in the end all I have is photos so it is hard to really compare properly.

    It is nice to know where some of one’s features come from (perhaps one day I’ll try finding bfather but just not into it at the moment). My body features seem to be almost entirely inherited from her. My mum and sister (adoptive) are both short and much more endowed in the chest region that I am.

    It is just nice to be able to look at one’s features and know that they come from somewhere and are not just random blobs on one’s face lol.

    Btw I do think about her on her birthday and also the anniversary of the day she passed away (almost 37 years ago).

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      March 8, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      I agree…it’s wonderful to know…

      Liked by 1 person

       
    • TAO

      March 8, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      I just wish there was a magical way of allowing others to know what it’s like to not know anything at all.

      Liked by 3 people

       
      • maryleesdream

        March 9, 2017 at 1:45 am

        Me too! They have no idea, but in my experience, they love to tell us just how we are supposed to feel and act.

        I first saw my mother’s picture at work. I work for the government, and was able to bring up her driver’s license photo on my computer. I thought, yep, that’s her. No doubt at all. A very surreal experience. I’m glad I found her, no matter how much pain was involved.

        Liked by 1 person

         
  3. Lara/Trace

    March 9, 2017 at 2:39 am

    I saw a photo of my mom. I looked nothing like her but the shock remains with me, year later.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      March 9, 2017 at 4:04 am

      I bet, perhaps you look like your father like Pj…

      Liked by 1 person

       
  4. Pj

    March 9, 2017 at 3:18 am

    I don’t physically resemble my mother by birth…but am the spitting image of my father. Absolutely nothing like the power of DNA, being able to look at those pics and just…know. Yes, wish there was a “magical way” of allowing others to know. I’ve stopped discussing with most – because I’ve had a “good life” and they just can’t comprehend.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      March 9, 2017 at 4:03 am

      I know what you mean…

      Like

       
  5. faithinflipflopssite

    March 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    I always wondered who I looked/acted like because I didn’t resemble anyone in my family really. Two years ago I met my birth parents, and I now know I’m a lot like my mother, physically and personality…but also a lot like my 3 full bio sisters in many ways too. Knowing this made me feel more real, if that makes sense.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      March 9, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      It makes perfect sense – you are connected to someone else.

      Like

       
  6. L4R

    March 12, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    And, even after we find our first families, we still may not learn who we look like or take after. Worse yet, we may not even get complete medical histories.

    I can take being adopted. I accepted that a long time ago. I also understand not wanting to know me. But, I can’t understand the unwillingness to share information.

    Sadly, my story is one of the relatively successful ones. I found my first family. Others have not been so lucky. Yet, I wasn’t given the pieces I needed and waited for all of my life.

    Not a fan of closed adoption. I realize that there are problems with open adoption too. But, with closed adoption, no one really considers the long-term ramifications. Some of them being life and death ramifications.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      March 12, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      Mine too, I have some, others I’ll never get. I wish people could understand that adoption can only be a solution – not what is happening today where it’s promoted as a good, no harm, no foul.

      Like

       
  7. Nara

    March 14, 2017 at 12:48 am

    I wonder if I’ll ever see a photo of my mother. Or father. I’m still bowled over that my baby looks like me. It’s sort of a weird sign from the universe. My partner met his birth mother and says they don’t look alike at all. We are meeting her with her bio grandson this week. I’m thinking it’ll be weird.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      March 14, 2017 at 3:43 am

      So many firsts for you – take many pictures…and it will be weird, may bring up big feelings too…be kind to yourself.

      Liked by 2 people

       
  8. beth62

    March 14, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    15 years after I first saw my mothers’ and fathers’ pictures, when I was 40… I still have a hard time looking at pictures, of anyone that looks like me or my kids. I even have a hard time looking at my kids pictures sometimes. I have pics of my sister and my daughter at the same age, I can hardly tell who is who. It’s just a weird, freaky feeling, even sort of scary. It’s like I just can’t believe it, don’t trust that such a thing is possible. Guessing it’s a connected/disconnected thing. I dunno what to think usually. Trying to toughen up with exposure. I make a point of looking at these pics hoping I will one day get used to it. My hopes are not in the high range yet.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      March 17, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      I love looking at them, I just believe I look like them, despite the first picture I received mom thought it was me, not my mother. Perhaps it’s the ‘to good to be true’ combined with ‘silly me, wanting to believe I’m like someone else’…at this point, I don’t get why I’m so quick to not see it…

      Like

       
  9. Gregory Luce

    March 23, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I come back to two pictures a lot, even imagining them in my mind when they are not around. The first is me in front of a gold Buick in New Jersey. It’s probably 1978 or so and I’m wearing knee high white tube socks with blue stripes at the top, cutoff jeans kinda a bit too short, and a white shirt and look of pure bemusement as my adoptive family and I are all pictured together on vacation, visiting my Uncle Red in West Orange. The family is mostly Italian. I’m not. My brother is adopted too and looks nothing like me and is wearing a tourist-tinged ship captain’s hat, ala Captain Stubing from the Love Boat (it was a thing back then). It is this picture I often thought of when I thought about the question “who do I look like” because, looking back, it struck me that I was none of that but also part of it.

    The second photo is more an experience of seeing the image of my mother slowly load, pixel line by pixel line, as it was sent to me the day we exchanged photos after we found each other. It loaded from the top of her head down and, yep, there was the hair, and then, pop, wow, the eyes. Mine. After it had all downloaded and it was on the screen for me to stare at and examine, I commented to my girlfriend at the time that “Now I know where I got my hair.” She said yeah, totally.

    But it was a wig. My mom was bald, the effects of chemo. It turns out I did inherit her hair. I also inherited the wig.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      March 23, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      You have an amazing gift with words, turning them into pictures others can see and feel…hopefully you write a book or two.

      I’m also old enough to remember the love boat thing, where we lived there was also jeans I want to call seafairers or something like that, they looked like jeans sailors wear..

      Like

       

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