5 things I learned after losing my biological and adoptive moms

It’s been 15 years since I lost my first mom and three months since I lost my second mom. Losing one mom teaches you so much, but losing two? That’s a whole new perspective.

Here are five things I have learned since losing both moms…

1) Every loss is different. I was adopted at age 16 but lost my biological mother when I was 18 years old. For 18 years I fought a horrible emotional battle to win her love. For years I overlooked so many things she did to me, things she took from me, things she wouldn’t do for me that moms should do. One day I had enough. I ended our relationship for good. She was no longer a mom to me. I was 18 years old and I had just lost my mother. She wouldn’t be there to watch me graduate high school or college, watch me get married, or see my children come into my life. I had always had two moms, but now I had only one. That moment I lost her is burned into my brain forever. I mourned what should have been for a short time, yet at the same time I was overcome with the greatest freedom ever. I lost a mom but I gained the ability to have only one mom; one amazingly perfect mom who loved me through it all, unconditionally like a mother should.

2) Love is the heart of motherhood, not biology. I knew this one before my adoptive real mom passed away just three short months ago, but it rings true even more so now. This pain I feel inside isn’t the same pain I felt when I lost a mother at age 18. How could someone not biologically related to me cause such a horrible pain in mine and my children’s hearts when she left this earth? Simple. She was our real mom and real Grammy. Her love for us was stronger than any biological strand. LOVE is exactly what being a mother is all about.


3) Being adopted was a bigger blessing than I ever knew. I have always loved being adopted. I have an amazing family that I know was meant to be mine. I always felt blessed to be adopted. This led me to want to adopt. This April my husband, my daughters and I will celebrate our first familyversary. In December I will celebrate my 17th. In losing my real mom it has been engrained in me by so many outsiders that she is the reason I have my girls. It is true. With her willingness to step outside the norms, especially over three decades ago when adoption wasn’t spoken about, she gave me the courage and desire to seek adoption as the path for my family. Adoption has blessed me two-fold, all thanks to her first leap of faith.


4) I don’t know how to be a mom without a mother. How do you do this? I don’t know if this feeling is normal for other moms without mothers that were born into their forever families. I imagine it probably is, but not being from that side of the family world, I am not sure how my perspective may be skewed. I have doubts about my abilities to mother after losing two moms. I had two very different mothering styles given to me as a child: one style from my biological mom, one style from my real mom. Without my real mom here to help guide me and show me, will I forget all she taught me? Will I inadvertently go back to parenting how my biological mom did? I have so many parenting questions I need to ask her. Not being able to scares me. Actually, the fear of this often paralyzes me.



5) I know exactly how to be a real mom because of my moms: I have seen the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent styles of being a mother from two very different women. I know what it is like as a child to have two completely different mothers. Both have taught me so much about what I want to be and what I don’t want to be as a mom. I am so far from being perfect but I think all moms feel that way. There is one thing that is certain about losing two moms: the life and loss I had with both have made me into the most perfectly imperfect adoptive real mom I can be.


{REAL mom shirt via Dropping Anchors Etsy Shop}

Alisha Signature

This post is dedicated to the memory of the most perfectly imperfect real mom I could have ever imagined.  Thank you for being my real mom and teaching me how to be a real mom to your real grandbabies. We love you forever.


Linda York



About Alisha Palmer

Alisha is an adult adoptee that has been a therapeutic and medically fragile foster parent since 2012, caring for many children from medically fragile infants to therapeutic teenagers, and numerous in between. In 2015 she adopted their two amazing daughters from the foster care system. She is a foster care and adoption advocate who strives to encourage others to step out of their comfort zone and into this world, providing love and stability to children during their darkest times. Follow her on Instagram @alishaypalmer.
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5 Responses to 5 things I learned after losing my biological and adoptive moms

  1. Stephanie Erwin says:

    You are simply, and complicatedly, a fantastic, remarkable REAL mom to two beautiful daughters, and a guidepost, like it or not, to this one, real, always confused, mom to a precious, special, biological daughter and an incredible, precious,foster son. I love you. You have done both mothers proud!

  2. Pam H. says:

    I love this post. Like so incredibly much. My daughter came to me when she was 12 and hated me. HATED me. For a very long time, like well into adulthood. I kept treating her like my daughter no matter what. Just last fall, at 40 years old, she told me that she doesn’t know why she bothers to call her bio mom every week and try to connect with her when I have been more of a mom than her bio mom ever was. And she loves me, she says. I love her too!!

  3. Karen says:

    Alshia, your mother (adoptive mother) was my 1st cousins. I had not seen her in years but knew about her painful past. It wasn’t until i connected on FB years later that I knew about you and your children. I wish you well and send my prayers for peace and wellness in your family.

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