Are you my mother?

August 21, 2009

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This was one of my favorite books as a child. It was a very popular children’s book for many. However, when it was read to me – many deeper issues welled up in my young mind, and still do to this day – as an adult adoptee. The young bird in the story has been separated from his mother and goes on a quest to find her again. He meets all sorts of animals from different species and repeatedly asks “are you my mother?” Although he makes friends on his journey, each animal must reply that “no, they are not his mother.” Finally he is reunited with his mother and she folds him up in her protective wings. For me this ending was bittersweet because it did not mirror my own experiences, as one who is still searching for her birth mother.

Now, entering my second year in art therapy school, I am exploring ideas for my graduate thesis. My experience as an adoptee and my natural inclination to explore my feelings through art and writing seem fertile ground for a more in depth exploration of this topic. Questions that I am interested in asking are ~ how does an adopted child develop a sense of self, when they are unable to bond with the woman who gave birth to them? Has my own search for a “face” in my phantom-like painted figures been a symbolic search for my birth mother’s face and identity? How can art be used to heal the “primal wound” as it is often called in reference to adoptees?

I hope to make contact with other adult adoptees who have also been adopted through a closed adoption (one that closes off adoption records, rather than keeping them open). This is an exciting, sensitive, and large exploration that I know will take me in many unforeseen and creative directions.

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