An Irish Adoptee Talks Adoption over Tea with Philomena Lee


For the past 14 years I have been having a secret relationship with my birth mother. We meet in hotel bars across Dublin, preferring darkened corners where we can catch up in peace, avoiding conversations with strangers, and evading any questions about our physical similarities with a polite smile.


The relationship feels clandestine, almost like an affair. Our rendezvous are arranged by text message – we never speak on the phone – and I have long stopped bringing her bouquets of flowers, knowing well that she cannot explain their heady extravagance back home.

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An Affair With My Mother

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