Monday, November 22, 2010

The Different Names for "Mother": Who is my "real" mom?

I've started contributing to a new blog project,
initiated by girl4708 who also blogs at Hello Korea!.

In her own words, the purpose of this blog is:

We want it to be a one stop shop for those who have questions about race and international adoption. We're all a little battle scarred from discussion boards, so this effort is closed to comments from the public, but will provide (hopefully) a range of thoughts from a diverse set of transracial adoptees.

As of now, there are five total adult adoptees contributing to this blog, and hopefully, with time, that number will grow. I think this blog is a fantastic and beneficial idea, and I hope that adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, and the like will refer to it as a resource.

Now a caveat to some of you--part of the point of Transracialeyes is to provide diverse and varied perspectives of adult adoptees, specifically. We are an eclectic crew and even as adoptees we have different backgrounds and different viewpoints. We may not all necessarily agree with one another or share the same ideas, but that's part of the point!
Sometimes, some of what you read may make you,
at the least,
uneasy, or at the most, outright offended, while other times you may share an understanding of a particular perspective, or even
wholeheartedly agree.

I just want to encourage others to visit this blog over time, as hopefully it will grow to include more adult adoptees. It may annoy some of you that the comments are closed (except to the identified contributors), but as the above description clarifies, it's primarily a blog to function as a safe place for adoptees to have opportunity to honestly express their experiences and viewpoints without fear of backlash and condemnation--ultimately, with the hope that others will open their hearts and minds to consider each of these voices.

With all that said, I recently posted a question and a subsequent response (click on the below question to view it):

What are your thoughts regarding the different types of nomenclature applied to original/biological mothers, including terms such as “birth mother,” “first mother,” “real mother,” “natural mother,” and so forth?

And although you can't leave your comments there, you can come back here and leave your feedback, if you like. I am interested in hearing what others of you have to say in response to this question, particularly because over the years, although I have my own practices regarding the issue, I have not been strongly opinionated on this matter. But I know some of you are--and I want to know your thoughts and feelings regarding this question.

* * *

Here are just a few other samples of questions posted and answered (really, though, there are so many insightful and informative questions and answers posted to this blog, these are just a few...I still have yet to get around to giving my two cents to the other questions on the blog, but I'll let you know when I do...)

(If you are an adult adoptee who would like to be involved in this project, just visit the blog, and you'll see where you can contact the administrator.)


Yoli said...

I intensely dislike, first mother, birth mother and the like. My children's mothers are their mother.

Anonymous said...

i love that you are contributing there. i have much respect for all of the contributors.

Mei Ling said...

I like that site.

Reena said...

I will have to check out the site-- thanks for listing it!

I use to say Birthmother-- 'my' connotation for the term is, ummm, I'm not sure how to describe it-- but I am not picturing a "vessel," but a woman with feelings who has experienced great loss.

It was brought to my attention by Mei-Ling, I believe, that this is offensive to many. Then I read on another adoptee blogg something to the effect of BM and adoption potty talk.

First mother was mentioned as being preferable, but now I see a few others stating they do not like that term either.

I think the best we can do is first try to find out what is preferable to whom we are talking with, as an aparent, I feel that I should give deference to the adoptee and/or first moms/moms to whom I am talking with.

Second, I think it is important to also give folks the benefit of the doubt (unless a tone or something suggests otherwise) and ask what they mean by a term.

My brother-in-law is an adult adoptee and I know he would be pissed if someone referred to his biological mom as his mom or even his first mom.

Everyone is different and has different experiences and diffferent connotations for the words we use. I think it is really important to keep that in mind and to be considerate of the feelings of others.