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Published Saturday May 8th, 2010 at 3:36am

On Saturday, May 12, as many families prepare for the more "traditional" Mother's Day celebration, families touched by adoption prepare for the lesser known Birthmother's Day. Founded in 1990 by a group of Seattle, WA birthmothers, Birthmother's Day is celebrated the Saturday before Mother's Day and aims to not only educate, but more importantly honor and remember those mothers who created a life plan for their child.

Birthmother's Day can be an extremely personal holiday. Many families with younger children light a candle in honor of the birthmother that gave them the greatest gift possible, the gift of life, before sitting down to a family meal. As the children get older, adoptive parents share the pictures and letters provided by their birthother with their children. Michaelina Bendig, an AFTH Adoption Consultant and Adoptive Parent says, "We always spoke positively about the affection we have for them [the children's birthmothers] and the positive influence they've had on our lives." Between sharing pictures and letters, the Bendig's Birthmother Day celebration naturally progresses into an open discussion on adoption. "We always wanted to bring the children's adoption to the forefront and talk about the gift their birthparents gave us; them".

Over the years many families have begun to infuse tradition into this non-traditional holiday. Celebrations of Birthmother's Day range from families cooperatively writing letters to their birthmother, updating her on recent accomplishments and milestones in the children's lives, to smaller, more personal gestures such as reading and writing poems, or sending a card.

Some ideas for Birthmother's Day Celebrations:

  • Give each birthmother a small corsage or rose
  • Provide scrapbooking materials and have each birthmom make a scrapbook page remembering their child.
  • Give each birthmom a small favor.
  • Read a poem aloud.
  • Invite other members of the triad, such as reunited birthmoms and adoptees and adoptive mothers or children of birthmoms in open adoptions.
  • Have someone sing (or play) a special song.
  • Have someone of each member of the triad - birthmom, adoptive mom, and adoptee - speak on their experiences of their role in the triad.
  • Let each birthmom light a candle in honor of their birthchild.
How will you be celebrating? Post a comment below.