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  • It was the same week as the Columbine shootings. My childhood home was just over two miles away from the school, so I'd spent a lot of time on the phone with my mom that week.

    Mom says to me: Oh, and there's a message on our machine for you, it's from the 808 area code. That's Hawaii. I wonder if it's your birth mother trying to get a hold of you.
    Huh, I think.

    I had considered reaching out to her at times when I was younger, just sending a letter telling her that I grew up in a loving household that supported and loved me, to tell her that I was afforded every luxury both material and familial.

    But as it turns out, there's something about motherly intuition you just don't want to screw with.

    I call the number, sure enough, it's a guy telling me that my birth mother is trying to get a hold of me.
    Hawaii law has a sort of double-blind apparatus for these cases. Once I'm contacted, I'm supposed to get a packet in the mail and sign papers, and upon return of that signed packet I am supposed to then get a number to contact my birth mother ("bio-mom" is my internal shorthand).
    I tell the guy this is nonsense. Give me the number. He does.

    I'd always known I was adopted, ever since I can remember. I don't remember learning, I have just always known.
    My dad used to list the various physical ailments and bum tickers and the like on his side of the family, and would tell me I was lucky I had nothing to do with it.
    My folks were good that way. Unashamed of adopting, not stigmatized, to this day so very loving.

    Until I met the ol' bio-mom, I had always been of the nurture over nature camp, but the woman on the other end of that phone has such a similar style to mine. An easy laugh. She is musical, like me. We are in the same business. Able to roll with punches and get the people around her to laugh regardless, like her goofball firstborn. We are temperamentally nearly identical.
    And she's really wonderful.

    She unwinds the story of the previous twenty-four years.
    The boyfriend who impregnated a girl of 16 with me.
    Her parents' desire to have me aborted*.
    A broken marriage leading to separation from my two half-sisters.
    Her current husband and my baby brother and sister, the latter nineteen years my junior.
    She tells me of poverty and illness and abuse and recovery from those things.

    I invite her to my wedding toward the end of the summer.

    She showed up and made a beautiful wedding cake for us.
    She met my mom, which was an amazing moment.
    Thank you, mom said. Thank you, thank you, thank you as they hugged and cried. Probably the most powerful moment I'll ever witness.

    So now I have the two moms.
    Which is pretty great, really:
    I went to spend some isolation time in a cabin earlier this summer to sort my head out.
    Mom (who raised me) was afraid I would do something rash, fretted and made sure all contact info was secured.
    Mom (who didn't) advised me to bring some peyote buttons.
    I love that so much.

    *Probably the third sentence my biological grandmother said to me was "we wanted to have you aborted." Which is pretty great, too, in its way.
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