Hynes On Adoption
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Hynes On Adoption

Processing Mother’s Day as An Adoptee

I have three moms. I have not seen one of them in 20 years. One of them has passed away. I talk to one of them via phone seven days a week. I love all of them. Each shaped who I would become.

I read a story recently from an adoptee who had written about the complexities of having multiple moms. I almost decided not to publish this because of it. “People won’t want to hear another adoptee story about an adoptee having multiple mothers,” I told myself. Even as an adult, even as a professional and academic in the field of adoption, part of me had still been conditioned to think there was little variation in particular types of adoption stories; that if I experienced the complex feelings of loss related to being separated from multiple mothers, there was less value in telling my story if another adoptee had a similar experience. However, my story is no less valuable or unique than any other adoptee’s story.

Like neither of my moms is less valuable than another.

My birth mom still guides me, her soft voice echoing in my head, telling me to be kind. My adoptive mother, “mama,” the name I decided to use to differentiate her from my other adoptive mother, is with me in spirit every day, even if she cannot be with me on the physical earth. “Mom,” my other adoptive mother, is still my rock after all these years. She is still helping me be the person I want to be, still showing her son how to be a strong, supportive adult.

Adoption starts with loss. The loss inherent in my separation from my birth parents, birth siblings, and birth grandparents were all things I experienced before I was ever adopted. When one of my adoptive mothers passed away when I was an adolescent, I experienced a type of loss I had never experienced before. It was painful. It still is.

Painful though the losses are, I don’t know a life without my three moms. I would never want to. I’m so proud of them. All made a pact to love and protect me in their ways. Each decided that no one had dibs on my love.

When you are a child, you don’t know how the losses you have experienced affect you. I believe I am still learning, and I hope that process never stops. I also hope that adoptees know that it is OK to have complex feelings about their moms and adoption. You can be proud and hurt. You can feel joy and sadness about your moms— even on Mother’s Day.

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Tony Hynes

Tony Hynes

Tony Hynes, interracial adoptee, author of the Son With Two Moms, adoption training specialist, Ph.D. Student, and advocate for adoptees of all family types.