13 Ways to Honor Your Birth Mother this Year
Honoring the mothers and mother figures in your life is about recognizing her value in your life. How can you honor a birth mother on Mother’s Day? Adoptees everywhere have a unique opportunity to honor not one but two incredibly important women in their lives: adoptive mothers and birth mothers. Giving your adoptive mother breakfast in bed, a big hug, and a day of extra love are all hallmarks of Mother’s Day. Honoring your birth mother may look a little different. Depending on your relationship with your birth mother and how close you are, you may be able to initiate more contact than others on Mother’s Day. Here are 13 ways you can honor your birth mother on Mother’s Day in both opened and closed adoptions.
Any birth mother will tell you that missing out on the important milestones in her child’s life is one of the hardest challenges to cope with. Mother’s Day can be a great opportunity to share snapshots of those moments with your birth mother and relive some of those memories with her. Create a digital or physical photobook of the year’s events for your birth mother. Include pictures from birthdays, holidays, trips, extracurricular activities, and candid photos of your everyday life. Type up captions, short journal entries, and memories about each picture and why you felt impressed to share that moment with your birth mother. Photo books are small sentiments that your birth mother can easily collect over the years and look through often when she is thinking of you.
When a mother places her child for adoption, a connection is made that will never be broken. She may have carried you physically for nine months, but she will always carry a place in her heart where you continue to grow. That place is ever-present and will occasionally burn a little stronger. Give your birth mother a candle that she can light on special occasions or when she is thinking of you and feeling that burning in her heart. Pick your favorite scent, a candle that has a special message, or something reminiscent of your home. When she lights her candle, she can feel closer to you.
Perhaps physical trinkets aren’t the way to your birth mother’s heart. Instead, shower your birth mother with flowers, fruit, chocolate, or any other kind of bouquet to show her she has not been forgotten. A temporary but meaningful gift will let your birth mother know that you honor and respect her as an essential mother figure in your life. Learn what her favorite flower or treat is and personalize her gift with a short note that expresses your admiration for her. Bouquets are also a dependable option if you cannot hand-deliver your gift. Research a local florist or service to deliver your birth mother’s gift. This is a simple and affordable way to include your birth mother in your celebration.
A piece of jewelry can be the perfect gift for a birth mother to receive on Mother’s Day. There are plenty of pieces that are specifically designed to reflect the adoption triad that can be purchased as single pieces of jewelry or sets to be worn by birth mothers, adoptive mothers, and adoptees. Charms such as hearts, puzzle pieces, infinity symbols, interlocking circles, and triangles are all commonly used in adoption jewelry. If you are close with your birth mother, you may even have a more personal symbol that you can find to reflect in a piece of jewelry. Something like a matching set of necklaces is something that adoptees, birth mothers, and even adoptive mothers can share to stay connected. As a physical symbol of an eternal connection, jewelry is a tender reminder of the unique love that is shared within the adoption triad.
You may not be able to spend time with your birth mother on Mother’s Day, but you can gift either an experience or day date to spend with her in the future instead. Gifting an experience to your birth mother will provide an opportunity for her to make a memory with or involving you. Determine an activity that your birth mother would enjoy. Your gift can range anywhere from things as simple as a day at the salon to attending a festival or concert. Younger adoptees might consider inviting their birth mother on a day trip to a zoo, nature trail, art class, or luncheon. Setting aside time to spend quality time with your birth mother will show that you honor her and cherish her place in your life.
Every open adoption is different. Your open adoption may cater to a relationship where gifts, visits, and other expressions of gratitude are typical. For other adoptees and adoptive families, open adoption may involve boundaries that prevent regular contact. If that is the case, a simple phone call may be the most appropriate form of contact on Mother’s Day. If this is one of the few times throughout the year that you contact your birth mother, plan and prepare for your Mother’s Day phone call. Think about what you can say to express your love and appreciation for your birth mother and let her know of her vital role in your life. Also think of what she may have missed out on throughout the year. Write down a few important events in your life that you could share with your birth mother so that she can feel more apart of your life on this special day.
Finger-painted portraits, 3-sentence stories, and macaroni glued to paper plates cover the refrigerators of moms across the world. On Mother’s Day, even more works of art, cards, and sentiments are added to the kitchen gallery walls, but that might not be the case for a birth mother. A hand-made card or hand-written letter gifted to a birth mother will show to her that you took the time to pause and reflect on her place as a mother in your life. Holding a physical gesture of your love and appreciation for her might be rare. Consider honoring your birth mother with words of gratitude. Share your perspective of your adoption and how it has enriched your life.
Relearn Your Story
Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the most important women in your life. As an adoptee or adoptive mother, one of those women is your birth mother. Honoring someone who you do not have contact with doesn’t have to take on some extravagant gesture or memorial. Keep it simple and reverent and talk to those in your life who played a part in your adoption story. Listen to her perspective and thoughts about your birth mother: what she remembers, how she felt about your birth mother’s decision, and how it impacted both lives. Reach beyond your immediate family and ask other loved ones such as extended family and friends for thoughts and feelings. You might even record some of these thoughts to look back on over the years to remember and honor your birth mother throughout the rest of your life.
Read a Book About Adoption
There is plenty of children, teen, young adult, and adult books about adoption, birth mothers, and life as an adoptee. Make a goal to start or finish one of these books by Mother’s Day. Take notes, mark important passages, and try and learn something new about what adoption means in your life. Share what you’ve learned with your family and friends. Pay closer attention to your birth mother’s role in your adoption story and how it has affected your life. After reading, recommend your book to someone else who may appreciate learning more about adoption—don’t limit yourself to other adoptees or adoptive families. Your support system of extended family, friends, and neighbors may also want to learn more about your experiences.
Make a List
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wow, if it weren’t for my adoption, I wouldn’t have…” or “Because I’m adopted, I understand…”? Since before the day you were born, your life-plan took a unique turn to bring you to where you are today: you were adopted. Because you were adopted, your childhood and life thereafter may have looked ordinary from the outside, but the emotional strength, mental maturity, and adult-like understanding of life and how it works were very different. The influence your adoption has on your life is never-ending. Your birth mother’s choices to place you for adoption brought about challenges and opportunities to grow seen and unseen throughout your life. To honor your birth mother, take a moment to make a list of the positive outcomes of your adoption. Think about how your life would be different without adoption and how it has shaped you into the person you are today. Keep this list and add to it every year as you learn and grow.
Write a Letter
You may not have the ability to call or mail a letter to your birth mother, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write her a letter. As you get older and learn more about yourself and your adoption, your feelings toward your birth mother will deepen. Start the tradition this year of writing a letter to your birth mother. Like any other Mother’s Day letter, share with her how you feel about her, your adoption, and how your life is affected by adoption. Tell her about yourself, explain to her who you are and what you are passionate about. Tell her about special moments throughout the year that have reminded you of her or that you wish to share with her in the future. Even though you may never mail this letter, seal it up, and keep it somewhere of importance. Perhaps one day you can share your letter with your children or spouse. You could also choose to keep it to yourself and save it to reopen at a time when you feel you need some closeness with her.
Vlog a Thank You
You don’t have to be incredibly tech-savvy to pull out a phone, camera, or laptop and make a video blog to your birth mother. This is a great option for small children who may not be able to write a letter or anyone else who may feel more comfortable sharing thoughts on the camera. Creating an annual video diary for your birth mother gives you the chance to take a brief moment on Mother’s Day to honor the woman who brought you into this world. Talk about highlights from your year, what your adoption means to you, and express thanks to her for her sacrifice and love as your birth mother. Invite other members of your adoptive family to contribute to your vlog and save it in a safe place to either water again later or one day share it with your birth mother.
Create a Time Capsule
Another recurring practice you can implement into your Mother’s Day celebrations for your birth mother is creating and adding to a time capsule. Gather printed pictures, letters, trinkets, and other small mementos that remind you of or that you would wish to share with your birth mother. A small box of treasures about and potentially for your birth mother isn’t something that you have to seal up. You may choose to take your time capsule out on special occasions to reflect on your adoption and think of your birth mother. Taking that extra time and effort is a great way to set aside a moment to honor your birth mother.
Birth mothers deserve just as much honor and respect on Mother’s Day as any other mother. She may not look like the typical mother to the rest of the world, but her love and sacrifice for her child is just as great and worth honoring every day of the year. Do something special for your birth mother this year to honor her. Share more ways you have found to honor the mother figures in your life in the comments below.
Courtney Falk was adopted at 3 days old. Growing up in a home where adoption was discussed openly, she always had a passion for sharing her story. When she was 18, she reunited with both of her birth parents and continues to have a positive relationship with each of their families. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in professional writing. Since then, she’s had the opportunity to create and edit content in areas such as fitness, health and wellness, financing, and adoption. When she isn’t behind a book, you can find her dancing in the living room with her 11 nieces, attempting to cook, and tending to her extensive collection of house plants.