Should We Shake Hands? The Day I Met My Birth Mother

When I meet someone after chatting with them online or on the phone for awhile, I often wonder how to greet them.  Do we shake hands, hug, wave, what? Imagine if that person is your birth mother!

Part two of my adoption reunion story.

Read the first part of my story here: To the Parents I Have Yet to Meet

I will never forget the first time I saw her. It was August, and I was pacing back and forth in my parents’ living room, waiting for them to bring her over. I took a moment to straighten the stack of family photo albums we had gathered on the living room table. My mind was swimming faster than I could keep my hands busy:

Should I introduce myself when she gets here?
Are we supposed to shake hands?

I hope she hugs me when we meet.
I bet she’s a hugger.

I wonder if we have the same color hair?
I hope she likes me.
What if I disappoint her?
I want to be everything she hoped for and more.
Is this shirt okay?

Good thing I wore waterproof mascara.

I heard a car door slam and I raced to the window. Peering through the blinds, I saw my birth mother walk around to the front of the car. She was adjusting her hair the way I do, by pulling it into a ponytail and dropping it over her shoulders again. I watched her the whole way up my driveway. I took in every detail: the way she swung her purse onto her shoulder, the way she adjusted her hair again, the way she focused on her feet climbing up our hill. I stood in the entryway and counted the seconds until my parents opened the door.  She stepped inside.  My heart leaped up into my throat.

To read the full article, click here.


Sarah - Content Specialist for, is a mother both biologically and through domestic infant open adoption. She resides with her husband and two boys in Ohio. She is passionate about open adoption and adoption education. In her free time she enjoys cooking, photography, writing, and hiking. You can find more of her adoption work at Heart For Open Adoption on Facebook or on

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