Birth Mother's Day
Adoptee Lindsay Darling came for the first time last year with her birth mother, Joyce Basham. "I'm trying to figure out the relationship I have with my birth mom at this point, so I thought that might be a nice way to break the ice a little bit," Darling says, "to let her know I do appreciate and think about what she did for me."
While it's still a serious occasion, the tone has lightened in recent years. Birth mothers "talked about recognizing the grief but also wanting it to be a celebration," Payne says. "They feel like the plan that they made was the best thing they could do for the child at the time and want to celebrate the relationship they have with the child now and the child's life and the fact that they gave the child life."
Romanchik finds this trend dismaying. "It's become more and more celebratory over the years, whereas for me that's not what the day is about," she says. "Even in really good programs, the bottom line is that for birth moms there is a lot of trauma involved, there is a lot of loss involved. I guess to only have a celebration kind of diminishes that, not only for the birth mother but for the adoptee as well."
That view hasn't gained much traction at CSS. "I know one birth mother wouldn't come because she found it too depressing," says adoption counselor Elly Falit. "But when Julie told her she could read her own poem or sing her own song, she began to attend. The birth mothers who come don't need to mourn again in a public forum. They need to be assured that they've done what was best for their child and to celebrate that."