Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day

I hope that each of the women who read this blog had a blessed Mother's Day. I read a blog today that sited Isaiah 54:1-3. The mom who writes the blog had a vision of a "childless" woman in heaven, being mother to all of the children lost to their earthly mothers too early. It's a beautiful vision. Read about it HERE.

So...to all of the women who read this blog, Happy Mother's Day. Whether your babies are here on earth (known or unknown) or have gone before you to heaven, Happy Mother's Day.

Someone passed on a piece of wisdom to me recently that I thought was profound. He was speaking about children, and particularly about children who may be born with special needs. Someone once told this young dad that "A life is not created for earth. A life is created for eternity." Think about it. Think about all of those that die (for whatever reason) in the womb, or due to poverty, or because of illness and disease. Those souls live on in eternity! So let us mother (or father) them with abandon, without thought to how long we will have them. We will have them FOREVER.

As a mother through adoption I often think about what it will be like in eternity. Will my children's biological parents be there with us? We pray that they will be. I love the thought of all of us praising together for eternity, as one family. I can't really wrap my mind around how that could be, but I hope for it nevertheless. My children have been separated from their biological parents on this earth, but I pray it is not so in heaven.

I read several blog posts today that shared warm thoughts about birth mothers. Lots of adoptive moms feel very thankful to their kids' biological moms and think of them (especially) on Mother's Day. I realized today that I don't often think about how I am thankful to my kids' birth moms for making the choice to give their children for adoption. Certainly a reason for introspection. But for our four children, maybe it makes sense???

Taevy: Of course I am so thankful for the LIFE that Taevy's birthmom gave to her. Taevy was born during a time of great flooding in Cambodia. I imagine the practical difficulties that must have existed just giving birth, and am in awe. But Taevy was adopted from a country where corruption was rampant at the time of adoption. Eric and I were STUPID first time adoptive parents that didn't ask questions (didn't even know we were supposed to). We don't live with confidence that we know Taevy's beginning story. Taevy's birthmom feels like an apparition to me....someone who must be real somewhere but whom we know nothing about (including her motives for letting her baby girl go). I'm just being honest. You get to live with these kinds of horrible questions when you don't do your homework and adopt through someone who has a very questionable background. Learn from our mistakes....

Samren: Again, we thank Samren's birthmom for his LIFE! We had the great pleasure of meeting Samren's birth mom. What a wonderful gift it is to know that our son's birth mother is fully aware that he was adopted. How profound it was to see love in her eyes. But we also saw such grief. We carry sadness for her because we believe she was very much coerced into placing Samren for adoption, as a young unwed mother. Legally she had a choice, but did she culturally? Did SHE feel that she had a choice? We can't help but ask ourselves this question. For this reason, it feels arrogant to feel thankful for her decision. I mostly pity her, because when I think of her in my mind's eye I see a woman who very much wanted to parent her son but wasn't allowed to.

Bright: Bright was his mother's 4th child, and last. I have extremely tender thoughts towards his mother because in my heart I believe bringing Bright into this world was her greatest sacrifice. She died six weeks after his birth. How much did carrying Bright weaken her body? I know that abortion was available to her, and that many woman in Ghana take part in abortions. She didn't have to carry him. Things were tough and they didn't need another mouth to feed. Still, because Bright's mom passed long before I met him, and because she had no part in choosing to place him for adoption, it doesn't really "fit" to think, "I'm so thankful that she chose adoption for Bright!"

Kendi: Kendi was her mother's first and last child. Of all of my children's mothers, I have the least tender thoughts towards her. She did not work hard to bring Kendi into this world, nor did she work hard to keep Kendi here once she was born. It's too painful and private to post about here. But this is not someone I admire for any reason. She did not choose to parent Kendi, nor did she choose to place her for adoption. To her, the most I can say is that I am thankful that she placed Kendi in someone else's arms before abandoning her, rather than simply putting her on the ground and walking away. I pray that she found Christ before she died.

I guess what I'm saying is, for me, there aren't many warm fuzzies. On Mother's Day I find that I HURT for my children. I mourn for them. I wish for them that they had been born into loving and secure families. I wish that they were all safe and warm from the start. I wish that each of their mothers could hold them, as I do each day, and see what absolute miracles they are. I pray that they will spend eternity with their children, as I will.

At the very same time that I wish my children were still with their biological mothers (and that their biological mothers would have been stable, secure people) I also am so very thankful that they aren't with them--that they are mine. I'm so very thankful that, for whatever cosmic reason, these children were entrusted to me. No, it's more than that. I stand in awe that they were entrusted to me. Because really, there are millions of other women on this earth that could love them as well as I do.

When Eric and I were waiting for Taevy to come home one of my friends (who already had three kids) jokingly said to me, "Motherhood is about guilt." It was a lighthearted comment speaking to the fact that no matter what we do for our children, we always wish we would have been able to do something more, or better. But my friend's comment was more right on than I realized. Maybe biological mothers don't experience this, but for me as an adoptive mother, motherhood does carry a huge amount of guilt.

I AM A MOTHER BECAUSE MY CHILDREN EXPERIENCED A HORRIBLE TRAUMA. If I love my children, how can I not also hurt for them--hurt that this horrible thing occurred in their lives. Their loss was my gain. Their pain became my joy. Somehow it is all both horrible and wonderful. It is a blessing and a loss. A sacrifice and a gift.

I heard of a sermon today where the pastor preached on adoption--our adoption into the family of Christ. To me, it is similar to motherhood through adoption. I am able to enter into the kingdom of heaven because my Christ experienced a horrible trauma. If God loved His children, how could He not also hurt for us--hurt that this horrible thing (sin) occurred in our lives? God sent His son to earth, to live in a world who had fallen to sin. He sent His pure, faultless son. God's loss was my gain (the world's gain). God's pain became my joy (the world's joy). It is both horrible and wonderful. It is a blessing and a loss. It is a sacrifice and a gift.

Just as I have most humbly accepted the gift of salvation, I will also humbly accept the gift of motherhood. For this, I am most thankful. Two eternal gifts.

Anita
P.S. Please, if you wrote about being thankful for your children's birthmom today, please don't take my words as criticism. I'm sure my experience would be different, if my children's stories would have been different. I AM so very thankful to the moms in this world who are able to make adoption plans for their children.

10 comments:

Mama D.'s Dozen 11:15 PM  

Anita,

That was a beautiful and raw post. Thank you for sharing.

Our children's mother did not choose adoption for our children, either. I, too, do not have the "I'm so thankful for their birth mother" story. Her story is also not one to be proud of, not one that needs to be shared. It's just plain hard ... and sad ... I, too, pray that she found the Lord before she died.

And, I am thankful for my beautiful daughters. Thankful that the Lord chose me to be their forever mother. Thankful that He is allowing me to be a part of their healing ... healing from years of trauma, trauma so deep that no child should have ever had to walk through it. Thankful that my youngest is learning to smile ... a truly heartfelt smile ...

Happy Mother's Day, Anita! Hope your day was BLESSED!!!

Laurel :)

Rachel 6:27 AM  

Thank you for your honesty and transparency. Sharing what is difficult about adoption is just as God-honoring as sharing what is beautiful--as you said, it mirrors our redemption story of being both "horrible and wonderful". Blessed me, thank you.

fullplatemom 6:53 AM  

I wrote a warm fuzzy post about my children's birth parents (there is one birthfather amongst all of them). Some of my kids from the U.S. came from rough situations where their birthparents were basically told "pick a family or we'll pick one for you". Not the best, but they still didn't have an abortion, so I'm thankful that my kids are here. I have warm fuzzy feelings towards them just because they are a part of my kids. And, my kids are awesome individuals, and that can't all be nurture. Some of it just comes from who they are.

It's a complex emotion though, some days are good, some days are bad for me. I get where you're coming from too. And, everyone is different in how they process and feel about their children's first parents.

--Becky

P.S. Thank you for your wording on Taevy's story. We were stupid too. We are still in very close contact with all of our children's birthparent's in Ghana, but "culturally" I don't know that they understand what the forever in adoption means. We're working on it.

Jodie 7:31 AM  

Beautiful post Anita! So very true about our first adoption, realizing questions we should have asked after the fact and being deeply disapointed that our child's history was of so little importance to our agency. Hopefully we was wised up for the better. Mother's Day and our children's birthdays are such a mixed bag of emotions for me, filled with thankfulness but also such a deep sadness about our kids loss that it is hard for anyone else in the family to understand

Amy 7:55 AM  

Every person's story is different, so there will be different reactions to birth parents, so what is there to criticize? Our girls have loving memories of their family and are old enough to remember them the way they do (whether 100% accurate or not isn't really the point). If they had different painful memories I am sure we'd handle that differently (in their stories there are some pretty dark things, but they remember love, so...). This isn't a right or wrong thing- it is just a "different" thing.

Fabu

CarrieT 7:59 AM  

Powerful words!! I stumbled onto your blog through several other adoptive blogs/sites and I am glad I did!! We have 4 adopted from Korea which has a pretty sophisticated social welfare system and so on some level our b-moms were able to choose adoption for our kids, although cultural mores definitely were influential (hard to be an unwed mom in Korea even today). But some of our b-moms made some less-than-healthy prenatal decisions that complicate my feelings towards them.

I was blessed to hear in person several Korean b-moms (not my kids') talk a year ago about their decision and it was eye-opening and raw and helped me understand greatly. I realize the b-moms are NOT angels in any way, but just regular people with flaws (sometimes severe) and strengths just like me. They made some good decisions (choosing life, etc.) but also some seriously bad decisions, but this is also just like me. And I saw firsthand how they truly do love their children, often very fiercely. At least this is what I saw from these ladies and I believe in our case it is true.

Still, you make some powerful points and I can relate to some of them for sure. And I totally agree about the similarities to our adoption into God's family.

You have a beautiful family!!

Carrie T. - mom to 4 from Korea

Kait 10:50 AM  

My girl's birth mother is my cousin and until a few years ago I would have counted her as one of my closest friends. I don't know or understand her any more.

On the one hand I am endlessly thankful that she gave me the chance to be a mom. On the other, I know her reasons were selfish and her decisions that led up to her having to pick a new family for her children were foolish. As much as I love her I am furious at her because I knew her so well, knew the potential she had, and yet she put herself in situations that were dangerous to her and her children.

I have complicated feelings towards her but I still love her because she is my oldest friend. And she did make me a mom which is something I can't do for myself. But at the same time, all things being considered, I would rather NOT be a mom and have her back, being their parent and making wise decisions and putting their needs as her priority.

Adoption isn't all warm fuzzies and endless gratitude towards the women that birthed our children. I wish people felt like it was okay to talk about this side of it too.

Michelle 12:27 PM  

I swear that every 6 months or so i revisit the relationships and my understanding of what adoption means for me children and to my children...and I am constantly processing it. The guilt, trauma, sadness, greif, joy are all constantly changing and my understanding of it is constantly changing. I know that is totally a "duh!" statement...but I can't see that I will ever have a 100% unchanging understanding of it!

The Hullingers 4:27 PM  

I also want to thank you for being honest about Taevy's adoption. Although I thought myself pretty darn wise a year ago, at the beginning of Efia's adoption, I now know that we were VERY stupid too. I will never deny that the Lord placed her right where she was meant to be, and that we are supposed to be her parents. But we were too trusting and too eager to believe that the things we saw were okay, we just didn't understand the culture. We know better now.

I love the thought that the child we lost is in Heaven with a mother who never had a child before she passed. That is such a beautiful picture to me. Thank you.

Salzwedel Family 9:43 PM  

Beautiful, beautiful post Anita. Thank you.