Mother Love

I’ve been writing a lot about what I didn’t have because I was adopted. I talk about the missing birth certificates and contact with birth parents and lack of health history, but I haven’t written much lately about love.

The other day I was out walking, and I thought about my mom, and I just lost my breath. I loved—love—her so much. I thought about how for the years that she had cancer, I wore a flight path from California to New Hampshire. The only thing more important than being with my mother for those years was being with my daughter.

And losing her has been the hardest thing I’ve faced in my life, followed only, much to my surprise, by my daughter leaving for college.

I wonder if it’s possible that some adopted kids (me) love their parents even more than non-adopted kids (I think it’s funny that many people might write “regular kids” here) do. I wonder if the knowledge that the two people who are raising you are only raising you because fate stepped in—why did you go to these parents instead of to the other thousands of parents waiting to adopt a child?—and this roll of this dice makes you attach even more deeply because, hopefully, you feel you won the roll: you not only got parents, you got the right ones.

(I know the idea of loving something more or less is actually a ridiculous concept. Love is love is love, but I guess I am talking about loving more fiercely. Or maybe I’m just competitive: I want to say I love my parents more than you love yours.)

I could talk about the fact of my adoption to my father but not with my mother. I knew I could make her cry, make her turn away from me, if I brought up the idea that I had another mother. I wonder if this also has something to do with the intensity of my love for her. I read once about a man who hurt a baby duck by mistake, and the duck then bonded with the man, following him everywhere. This sounds sick and hateful, but I wonder if the bonding to my mother wasn’t also a little bit of me being a baby duck who’d been hurt.

I’m working on my Adoption Handbook, the book I’m going to tie to the wrist of every infant or child or adolescent before he or she goes to his or her new parents, but I wanted to take a breather and say I am so lucky to be adopted, and that I love my parents very much.