How Two Dads Handle Mother's Day

Mother's Day is an interesting time in our home of two dads and two adopted teens. Our children came to us in different ways and at different ages. Our 17-year-old daughter came through a voluntary open adoption when she was three weeks old. Our 14-year-old son came through a foster-to-adopt placement at 12. They have different biological parents and different histories with them.

Our daughter has been able to visit with her mother at various times throughout her life. They have each other's phone numbers and are friends on Facebook. Because they have never lived together, they don't have a particularly close relationship. There is rarely contact between them.

Once she was old enough to understand Mother's Day, our daughter began to call or send her mother a message telling her Happy Mother's Day. When she was little, she had a fantasy of what her "Mommy" was like and always spoke of her with a glow. As she has grown older, this has evolved into a fuller picture. Last year, she didn't call or send her a message. She seems to have come to grips with the distinction between a biological mother and a "Mom".

Our son, on the other hand, was removed from his mother's care when he was 8. They had sporadic contact for the next few years and even a brief period of reunification, but he was removed again and last saw her when he was 11. They have since reconnected, also through Facebook, but rarely communicate.

This will only be the second Mother's Day our son has been in our home. I suspect he will send her a Happy Mother's Day message, if that, but no more. He doesn't seek out contact with her. It's harder to tell what he thinks of the situation as he tends to keep his emotions to himself. It is clear that the longer he is with us, the more focused he is on the opportunities before him rather than what has happened in the past.

We give each of our children the opportunity to do whatever they like for Mother's Day, however, we don't push them to do anything at all if they don't want to. Overall, we stay neutral in regards to the holiday and their biological mothers. We help them in any way we can to connect or inquire and are very honest about the circumstances that separated them from their mothers, but we never judge the choices or lives of the people who gave them life. We remind them that if their mothers hadn't done so, they wouldn't be here with us now to enjoy that life.

So, Mother's Day has largely been a non-event in our house -- just another Sunday. It isn't particularly happy or sad. It just is. Our children may not have their mothers in their lives the way many of their friends do or the way they would wish, but they do have two loving, involved and committed parents. Frankly, that's much more than many kids have and they're very fortunate in that regard. We have always stressed to them the importance of being happy with what they have rather than sad about what they don't. Besides, Father's Day is just around the corner, and that's a whole different story.