Mother’s Day From an Adopted Perspective
By// Emicia Parker
I can trace the confusion back to my mother’s dresser. My 6-year-old eyes read a small scrap of paper that was almost hidden. The name on the paper, Emicia Franklin, looked odd. I was used to writing my name as Emicia Parker. What made this even more perplexing was the name beneath it, Emma Franklin. My tiny hands extended a finger to the paper and I asked, “Mommy, who am I and who is this?”My mother hesitated but her next words would forever invert my sense of security: “Misha,” she started softly, “that’s your mother.” My world stood still for what felt like days. I bowed my head, completely devastated, as my mother explained that I was adopted.
My biological mother, this Emma woman, was such a partier that a life growing inside of her couldn’t stop her. I asked so many questions, and with each answer came more devastation to what I thought was my stable reality. I had other brothers and sisters somewhere. This was not my first foster home. The woman who had me prior would return me to the agency like an ill-fitting sweater because I “cried too much.” My biological mother knew my address and had even visited before, where she dropped me in the elevator before I had mastered walking. Since then, she hadn’t returned and didn’t send a single teddy bear, birthday card or Christmas gift.
It would be twenty years before my two mothers would be reunited again…at my adoptive mother’s funeral. Mrs. Parker lay silent in a blue dress as the Emma woman stood over her with a face of masked contempt. Although feigning cordiality, she was so consumed with hatred for this woman, this “replacement,” that it was obvious. Her resentment ticked until it exploded a year later in a phone call where she cursed me out, saying that she regretted she ever had me. I’d only answered the phone in an effort to patch our extremely tumultuous relationship, and that was my reward. I have never been safe with that Emma woman and I never will be.
To this day, “Mother” is a loaded word for me. Mother’s Day is the worst day of the year for me because of how much I miss my foster mom, and I struggle with mixed feelings about becoming a mother myself. Everyone says I’ll be amazing mother, but fear sketches doubt about which of my mothers I will become. Every fond memory of the concept of the word “mom” is buried deep beneath the soil in Hope Memorial Cemetery, with the woman who poured her life into me until there was none left. Every blissful thought of the love Mrs. Parker gave me provides the music for this lady that I imagine is dancing in the clouds with my adoptive father. And each happy memory of her love is folded in the pocket of her blue dress, warmed by her love for me. I can only hope she keeps them all fresh until I see her again.
*May is National Foster Care Month.