Sunday 13 May 2012

Happy Mother's Day

For some of you reading this, today is Mother’s Day. In the UK we celebrate Mother’s Day on Mothering Sunday, the 4th Sunday in Lent. Today America celebrates Mother’s Day so I thought I’d bring you a heart-warming story.

I’m very lucky to have had a mother who accepted me the way I was. I realised that she was okay with me being gay when she started sharing jokes on the subject. Her only disappointment was that I didn’t want to have children.

I know some gay people who have had no happy relationship with their mother. Some have been disowned by both parents just because they were gay. But what about children who were adopted? For those who feel a need to find their natural parents it can be like déjà vu – coming out to 2 sets of parents is a big challenge.

With 75 days to go before the Olympics here’s a story of Randy Gardner’s search for his birth mother. Randy was pairs figure skating World Champion in 1978 with Tai Babilonia, and 2 times Winter Olympian.

Randy had been given up for adoption shortly after his birth because his unmarried mother had been raped by a family friend and couldn’t look after him. There was a social stigma at the time to both being unmarried and raped.

Randy only learned by chance in 1998 that he was adopted. He spent 5 years looking for his birth mother, being careful not to reveal his actions to the adopted parents he loved dearly in case they felt he was disowning them. It’s a fear that a lot of adopted children go through.

Eventually Randy found out that his birth mother was alive and well and living in Idaho. He wrote to her, Mrs. Dottie Baca, and they corresponded regularly. Randy told her he was a “performing athlete”. The penny didn’t drop at first and Dottie suddenly realised who her son was in a flash one morning. Of course! she realised – Randy Gardner, the figure skater! She had seen him skate with Tai Babilonia many times on tv.

Since then, Randy and Dottie have been getting to know each other. He went through the “coming out to my parents” experience again, and had a whole new family to get to know.

After Randy’s adopted parents died Randy had the rare privilege of having another mother who was proud of him.

I wish Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.

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