Eight years ago, I was that woman. Mother’s Day was bittersweet for me – a day of celebrating the moms in my life but also a reminder that I was still not a mom even after five years of “trying.” Those days seem long forgotten now as I cling to my three little minions (as I like to call them, since the middle one has told me that he aspires to be a minion when he’s grown!).
But today is still a day that is bittersweet as I recall the events that led to my becoming a mother. For my children, although Mother’s Day is a blessing, it is also a day of loss. You see, they have another woman they call mother. I am Mommy, Mom, Mama. But she is their mother, too.
I have held them from the day they were in the hospital, kissed their boo-boos, wiped their noses, cleaned up their messes, gone to their ballgames, watched their dance recitals, lost sleep over them, cried over them, prayed over them. I have heard the words, “I love you,” and the words, “I hate you.” I have endured their temper tantrums and cherished their kisses. I am their Mom.
But she knew them before – when they were “knit together in [their] mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). She knew their first heartbeat, their first kick, their first movement. She spoke the first words they would ever hear, gave them their first “foods,” saw their first “photographs.” And most importantly, she gave them their first breath, and she gave them a chance because she chose life.
And she chose me – a truth that still overwhelms and bewilders me!
Adoption is messy. Foster care is heartbreaking. And motherhood is hard. But these children – these sinful, messy, muddy, ridiculous, rebellious, loving, charming, silly, wonderfully amazing kids – are worth the heartache. They are worth the sleepless nights, the messy diapers, the muddy footprints, and the incredible hugs!
If you know me even a little bit, then you know that I can’t let Mother’s Day go by without speaking up for the 150 million orphans around the world. Granted, many of them have a mother but no father (and vice versa). But so many of them, too many to even name them all, have no one to hold them, love them, sing to them.
One of my friends shared with me the story of an orphanage she visited in China, where there were rows of babies who did not get held for various reasons. All she did for an entire day was hold babies. These babies did not know how to laugh or even cry because they didn’t know what it meant to be touched. Can you imagine never knowing a mother’s loving hand?
In our area alone, there are so many more foster children than willing families that many of the children are sleeping in the welfare offices because even the group homes are full. Can you imagine what those children are feeling today? Can you just stop and think of these motherless children, whose moms chose something else over them? I can’t bear it.
I have seen many posts on Facebook that are almost commanding us to feel bad for other women today who are suffering from a loss – whether it be infertility, miscarriage, or singleness. And I am not trying to be insensitive to these women as I have dealt with some of those same emotions.
But I am wondering where all the posts are reminding us to be sensitive to the little ones – “the least of these” who are still tender and in need of a mother to love them. They aren’t even at the point where they can become parents, but they have arms reaching out for a mother to hug them, carry them, encourage them. Their loss is so much greater than they can bear alone!
I am blessed. My mom conceived me, birthed me, and kept me as her own. She raised me in a godly, loving home. My husband has been blessed in the same way. But because we have been so blessed, I believe we have an even greater responsibility to reach out to those who haven’t been blessed in that way.
If you are suffering today, please know that I understand. I know that it is so hard to be reminded of something you feel is missing in your life. But I also want to encourage you – God has a plan for you. He knows what is best – even if His best is different from your plans.
“He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!” – Ps. 113:9.
For all you moms and wannabe-moms out there, today is a day that you can pray for these little ones. Perhaps they are part of God’s special, unique plan for you! Perhaps God, the Healer of the broken-hearted, can heal your heart through one of these motherless children. I know because that’s what He did for me!
So yes, today is bittersweet. I know that there has been a great loss in my children’s lives, but I am so thankful for this woman who chose life over death and lovingly chose a better life for them than she could provide. I respect and love this woman for what she did and for what she made me – a mom.