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Dear Mother

by Andi Avery 3 months ago in Family
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Dear Mother,

Happy Mother's day. I hope you have lovely day. I have something to tell you.

This will be my first ever physical mothers day greeting to you as it's been impossible to do so before. I didn't know you or that you existed before you see. I have secretly wondered my entire life who you are, where you were, what you were doing.

It is no secret that you gave birth to me way back in the 70's on a cold December morning, that much is on record. My secret is that i've wanted to find you and learn all about the person you are and what it was that made you discard me.

It's a secret because my adopted parents don't/won't/can't talk about you and the thought of bringing it up in front of them can only hurt them and make them wonder why I am trying to find out about you.

'It's only natural' I hear you say, that a son would be curious about his biological lineage and to learn where he has come from. However, my mother, that is to say adoptive mother, no strike that, my real mother, was very emotional about their adoption and she found it very hard to even think about it. To her, me asking questions about you somehow diminished her standing in my eyes.

She was concerned, however silly that concern may be, that I would go off and find you. After finding you I would then discard my old family for a new one, my 'real' one and live happily ever after. All the while she'd be wondering what she did wrong, how did she fail so completely.

Of course that is a silly thought process but it's the thought process of a woman whose love for me knew no bounds. I wonder if you have ever had any such feelings towards me?

My parents sheltered me from this kind of disruption most of my childhood and it was by mere chance that I found out that I was adopted. I was sixteen and thought I had it all figured out, life was amazing. I excelled at sports and was doing well in school. I applied to join the Territorial Army Reserves and that was the catalyst.

A section of the application form asked if I had any previous names. I was oblivious to such a question but it was a legal document that would be scrutinised and my parents knew it.

Their bubble had burst, they knew they'd have to tell me that I had indeed had another name previously, your name!

It hit me like a tidal wave. I felt like I was drowning and being churned about by the waves of emotion. For a time my world was rocked, cracks appeared and my life was nearly shattered by such a revelation.

Luckily, they had brought me up exceedingly well and we were able to get through it all and were able to move forward as a family.

But for a time I was numb. I couldn't focus on things and my head swam and swirled in the afterwash of the tidal wave. I couldn't think of much else than who my biological family was and that burning question that I guess most people in my situation ask.


Why was i given up? Who are you? What did I do wrong? Why didn't you want me?

You see, people in my position will always blame themselves. We wear guilt about us like some long, heavy overcoat that is hard to shrug off.

We have this guilt because we know nothing else.

Some people know early on that they are adopted and are helped to deal with any questions they may have, some are encourged to find their biological parents. For others, adoption may be a dirty secret and the les said about it the better.

I know not what camp my parents sat in, but I can guess. It was not something that was open for discussion and the snippets of incomplete information came from my aunty which lead to confusion more than anything else.

I heard you had moved to America. My secret was to have fantasies that you were some great Hollywood actress who I on TV and in big films. I secretly dreamed that one day I would meet you in a big mansion by the sea and we would walk along a pure white sand beach with crystal clear, azure blue waters.

We'd walk for hours and you'd tell me that there was some amazingly significant reason that you gave me up, some life or death struggle that you shielded me from and that you are now free of.

In my secret thoughts, i'd introduce you to my parents and you'd all get on like a house on fire and everything would be rosy. My mother would not be terrified of losing me to you and your life and ours would just seemingly intermingle effortlessly.

But those were just my confidential thoughts. The reality was much different. My father died suddenly, in the airport coming back from America as it happens. Devestation reigned as you may imagine, I was young and in University, just beginning to find my path again.

My mother was at a loss, they had been together for what seemed an eternity and I gave her all that I could to comfort her. I was there for her when she needed me, we became closer.

Obviously this was a good thing but it was also a little awkward as, with the freedom that university affords young people, I had begun to try and find more out about you. I was going to approach my father about the subject and see if he was willing to offer up any information. Sadly that could no longer happen and so my quest to find you was ended.

It was not until later when I had grown and had children of my own that I explored the possibilities of finding you again. I looked at the eldest son, and wondered how I would feel if he were to become estranged from me. Would I want him to know about me, would he want to know?

So I decided to give it one final attempt, i'd got into my late thirties not knowing anything and had a family of my own, so it didn't really matter if I found you or not right?

I did an ancestry test to find out at least what sort of lineage I had, be a Roman, Viking, that sort of thing. Turns out there was a familial match which long story short, turned out to be your son, my half brother.


Half a lifetime not knowing anything, one final roll of the dice and I find I have a half brother who just happened to be on the same ancestry database as the one I was searching on. He was in America no less, so even more extraordinary.

I reached out and finally got through to him and he and his father filled me in on what they knew about me. From this I was able to find other members of my family and also more about you.

I can now understand why you gave me up for adoption, and what your life was like when you had me.

I forgive you!

When your other son (one of three) told me he was estranged from you and the reasons behind it, I again felt numb. What you put him through growing up sounded horrific. He is clearly traumatised by his youth and has the emotional scars and baggage to go with it.

We found out a litle about our other brother, although we can not find him, we found traces of him. Needless to say he has had a very hard life too, and his terrible life choices, from what we have made out, may have stemmed from you.

Us brothers got on well and he came over to visit with the intention of trying to make peace with you again. He knew where you lived and asked if I would want to tag along.

Suddenly I was overwhelmed again, half a lifetime wondering, dreaming and obsessing at times could come to an end. I could finally meet you mother. I could have the chance to ask you all the questions that have racked up over the years. I could finally have a glimpse of where I was from.

The day arrived and I was nervous as hell. The door opened and there you were. This little old lady in a pinny. A far cry from my dreams of Hollywood and Carribean beaches.

I could tell that it was awkward for you, not least seeing me for the first time (well not really, but you know what I mean) and having your estranged son there too. It must have overwhelmed you. What happened next, I did not expect however.

You totally ignored me! Granted you followed all the rules of social etiquette, made me a cuppa and said hello rather formally, but you're sole focus was your other son. When he told you to your face you were being downright rude, you did not care.

It was then that I realised who you were, the type of person you had become.

Finally you paid me some attention and i'm not sure I wanted you to after what came next.

To my face you said you wished you hadn't had me and you had no intention to get to know me. Fair play you were honest, brutal, but honest at least. You agreed to answer my questions in your own savage way.

You told me how I was a mistake, how I interferred with your social calender. Even about leaving me alone in my crib for hours and hours on end, whilst you partied hard.

I took all this in my stride, putting it in a cupboard in my mind ready to unpack and dissimilate at another time. It wasn't the most pleasant of meeting for either of us, though for different reasons I imagine.

Then that was that, my brother and I left. He jetted off back to the states and I went home to my small slice of Welsh heaven.

When I got home I sought out my children and gave them each a big, long hug. Children may have been a complete inconvenience to you, things that got in your way, messed up your plans. To me, they are my world. They bring me joy and happiness and I am thankful every single day that I get to share an active role in their lives and help guide them up the turbulent river that is life.

So happy Mothers day mother, my secret thoughts about you and my desire to meet you have been satisfied. I am glad that my children do not have to keep such secrets about me and they don't have to grow up with the guilt and weight of expectation that I did.

I thank you for giving birth to me, but even more for giving me up. I know you couldn't care for me. You did the best thing you could ever do for me, even though that was not at the forefront of your mind as you just wanted rid of me. So I thank you and again, I FORGIVE YOU.


About the author

Andi Avery

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