Birthmother’s Day, Mother’s Day and Adoption: What I Learned In May

What does May mean to you?

For many people, May is synonymous with Mother’s Day — a time to celebrate mothers and motherhood. But for members of the adoption constellation, Mother’s Day — and Birthmother’s Day — is a bittersweet occasion, filled with mixed emotions of love, longing and loss.

Last month, we tapped into some of those emotions in a month-long blog series called “A Mother’s Love.” Each day, for 31 days, adoptive mothers, birthmothers, mothers-to-be and adoptees shared their Mother’s Day and Birthmother’s Day stories in their own words and told how adoption has changed the meaning of motherhood for them.

In case you missed them the first time around, here are all of the stories displayed chronologically in the order they appeared.

Thanks to everyone who took part in our series or left comments on our blog or Facebook page. Now that June is here, we’ll be sharing stories about the next major milestone on the calendar: Father’s Day.

Starting this Thursday, check out our blog for stories about adoption, fatherhood and Father’s Day. We’ve already received some great pieces from adoptive and birth parents. But there’s still plenty of time for yours. If you have an adoption story you want to share with our community this month or any month, send it to us directly or check out our guest post tips and guidelines.

May 1: Mother’s Day As A Birthmother
What does Mother’s Day mean to be a birthmother? In this moving story, Melissa Nilsen recalls the first Mother’s Day after she placed her daughter for adoption and what she’s learned since then.

May 2: How I Became A Mom At Last
Sharon Simons, a single mother with two sons through adoption, shares her story and how she came to realize that DNA is not what makes a woman a mother.

May 3: Honoring What We Have — And What We’ve Lost — On Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate mothers. But, as adoptive mother Lori Lyons points out, it can be a difficult time for women who have lost a child, are struggling with infertility or are trying to adopt.

May 4: A Boy Of My Own
With Birthmother’s and Mother’s Day just around the corner, Ashley Mitchell, a new mother, reflects on the son she’s parenting and the one she placed for adoption six years ago.

May 5: Reflections On Mother’s Day By An Adoptive Mom-In-Waiting
As a single, Asian, hopeful adoptive parent in the domestic adoption pool, Melinda knows it may be a while before she finds a match. In this post, she explains what keeps her going.

May 6: The Mother I Am Now, The Birthmother I Will Always Be
The first Mother’s Day after she placed her daughter for adoption was rough for Haley. But through the love of her family, a meeting with her birthmother support group and a message from her daughter’s adoptive mother, she was able to get through it.

May 7: Grieving On Mother’s Day
Another look at Mother’s Day and loss by adoptive mother Kerstin Lindquist, who reminds readers that sometimes the best gift you can give a woman who has lost a child is permission to grieve.

May 8: Birthmother? Adoptive Mother? Or Just Plain Mother? I’m All Three — And Proud Of It!
Katelynn, a birthmother, adoptive mother and biological mother, explains why she believes being a mother is something that’s earned, not given.

May 9: Why My Children’s Birth Mothers Will Be Part of My Mother’s Day Celebration
Open adoption advocate Lindsey Redfern explains how adoptive parents can expand their Mother’s Day celebration by including their children’s birth mothers.

May 10: The Meaning Of Mother’s Day, or Why I Don’t Celebrate Birthmother’s Day
Katelyn, a birthmother in an open adoption, explains why she doesn’t celebrate Birthmother’s Day and what mothers, adoptive mothers and motherhood mean to her.

May 11: How My Daughters’ Birth Moms Made Me A Mommy
Star Prattas, an adoptive mother of two, gives a shout-out to the birthmoms who helped her become a mom and pays tribute to Birthmother’s and Mother’s Day.

May 12: Placing My Baby For Adoption: Why Openness Was The Right Choice For Me
Placing her daughter for adoption was difficult and emotional for Allie. But six years later, she explains how that’s no longer the case mostly because her adoption is open.

May 13: Mother’s Day: A Time To Dance, A Time To Cry
Adopting her daughter helped Delana H. Stewart embark on a new journey of motherhood — and of sisterhood with other adoptive mothers. Thanks to adoption, she says Mother’s Day will never be the same.

May 14: “I Love You, Birth Mother”: The Moments I Treasure As A Birth Mom
Jessalynn Bills shares the moments that have shaped her life as a birth mom and made her the person she is today.

May 15: An Adoptive Mother’s Story: I Dreamed A Dream
Open adoption was never part of Jennifer Ann Holt’s plan. But it’s given this adoptive mother more joy than she could have imagined.

May 16: How Open Adoption Changed The Meaning of Motherhood For Me
Monica, a birthmother, explains why birthmothers and adoptive mothers have to fight against the stigmas about open adoption and how she and her daughter’s adoptive mother have made their own own relationship work. (Removed at writer’s request).

May 17: To ‘The Other Hearts’: An Adoptive Mother Pays Tribute To All The Moms In Her Daughter’s Life
Jennifer Crissman Ishler, an adoptive mother and adoption professor, tells the story of the inspiration of her course and gives thanks to her daughter’s birthmother and the “other hearts” who cared for her.

May 18: Mother or Birthmother, My Love For My Boys Is The Same
Coley Strickland, a mother and birthmother and a founder of Birthmom Buds, recounts the relationships she has with her two sons, one whom she parents, the other whom she placed for adoption.

May 19: Why We Hope To Adopt
Why do you want to adopt? Michelle, a hopeful adoptive parent, shares her reasons and looks back on how a loss in the family only strengthened her and her husband’s resolve to build their family through open adoption.

May 20: From Unplanned Pregnancy To The Grace Of Adoption
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, Michelle Thorne’s life unraveled. But as her views about adoption and God evolved, she found freedom and an adoptive family for her child.

May 21:  How Open Adoption Made Our Two Families Become One
Veronica Reno, an adoptive mother, tells how open adoption helped bring together her and her son’s birthmother’s family, resulting in a special Mother’s Day celebration.

May 22:  The Gift Of Adopting
Elizabeth was someone who always got what she wanted. But after an ectopic pregnancy, her life of smooth sailing came to an end. In this post, this determined hopeful adoptive mother recounts how she bounced back with the help of her family and adoption.

May 23: A Birthmother In An Open Adoption: What I Want You To Know
Jeanie, a Salt Lake City birthmother, explains why she placed her children for adoption and what she wants adoptive and birth families to know about the process.

May 24: The Difference An Adoption Support Group Makes
Adoption is a complicated process. For Michelle, a hopeful adoptive mother, joining a support group has introduced her to new views, people and opportunities.

May 25: Dear Adoptive Parents, Open Up. Signed, Your Daughter’s Birthmother
Lynn chose open adoption believing that she would have a “wonderful and open relationship” with her daughter’s adoptive parents. But that hasn’t been the case.

May 26:  2 Adoptions + 1 Pregnancy = Joy
What does two adoptions plus one pregnancy equal? In this post, Elizabeth Carellas, an adoptive mother and the founder of an adoption onference, does the math and shares the story of how she created a family of her own.

May 27: Adoption Failure, Then Friendship: What A Birthmother Taught Me About Finding the Right Match
Hoping to adopt, Lisa connected with a prospective birthmother. The match fell through. Read about the important and unlikely relationship that grew out of it.

May 28: The Moment A Birthmother Changed My Life Forever
Do you remember the turning point in your adoption journey? For adoptive mother Shari Guess, it was the moment when a birthmother placed her son in Shari’s arms.

May 29: My Two Open Adoptions
In this post, Mary Pettice, an adoptee in a closed adoption, explains why she opened it up and eventually went on to pursue an open placement of her own.

May 30: What We Owe A Birthmother: Open Adoption Through The Eyes Of A Lesbian Couple
What do hopeful adoptive parents owe a birthmother? In this story, Heather Fitz writes about what she and her partner are looking forward to in their adoption journey and what they can offer a birthmother and a child.

May 31: My Adopting Story: Everything Happens For A Reason
Crystal is an adoptive mother who believes that everything happens for a reason. Find out about the role that fate played in her adoption journey and what it’s taught her along the way.