For an adoptee, birthmothers and adoptive mothers are equally important: one gives the child life, and the other enables him daily to live the best life he can. Birthmother’s Day is a day dedicated to honoring the courageous women who chose adoption as a loving choice for their children. These are adoptees’ “first mothers.” Birthmother’s Day is on the Saturday immediately before Mother’s Day.
Birthmother’s Day was created in 1990 by a group of birthmothers in Seattle, Washington. They intended it as a way to celebrate their choice, educate others, and honor each other. Mary Hean Wolch-Marsh, a birthmother, came up with the idea after her own adoption experience, in which she knew she was a mother, but didn’t feel recognized as such.
Mother’s Day can be a very painful holiday for birthmothers—it can be a day riddled with sadness and shame, as much of society (sometimes even including birthmothers’ own family and friends), does not yet recognize their experience of motherhood. As open adoptions have increased, so too has the holiday grown. Birthmother’s Day can include organized events by adoption agencies and support groups. Greeting cards have even been tailor made for the occasion.
Birthmother’s Day is a day to celebrate birthmotherhood. It’s a day for adoptive parents, birthmothers and adoptees to reflect on a birthmother’s loving sacrifice for the well-being of her child. Over half of domestic adoptions today include some contact between adoptive families and birth families. Birthmother’s Day is an annual opportunity for adoptive families to send a card or flowers (or visit!), and communicate their respect for their child’s birthmother.