The One -Two Punch of Spring

When the sins of my father

Weigh down in my soul

And the pain of my mother

Will not let me go...

- "Make it Rain" by Foy Vance

Of all holidays, Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day are perhaps the two most fraught with deeply ambiguous emotion for adoptees. May and June, the months when the new life of spring bursts forth in a celebration of fertility and fresh hope for the coming growing season, are also the months that deliver the one-two punch of Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day straight to the gut of adoptees in the form of attendant questions and ambiguities.

For most -- but not all -- of us, it's a time of genuine gratitude and love toward the parents who have loved us, raised us with fierce devotion and hard work, and launched us into life with all the support and resources they had to give. But spring is also a season complicated by the task of finding a suitable Hallmark card to express our authentic but often conflicting feelings.

If you, like me, are "lucky" enough have a birthday that falls during these months, the fundamental questions and ambiguities about our very existence can whip up pesky emotional dust devils that easily grow into cyclones. Everyone, whether adopted or not, carries the legacy of our ancestors, whether real or imagined. Our idealized visions of parenthood, which millions of adoptive parents do a remarkable job of living up to, usually visit in the form of statements like:

"Your father was a kind and good man who made great sacrifices out of love for his family," or

"Your mother was so radiant when she was pregnant with you. She couldn't wait to meet you, raise you and be there for you in all the small things, no matter what.&q