I sat down next to her and asked, “What’s up? Are you ok?”
Her quiet voice said, “yah, nothing”
“Well ok, tell me what you are thinking about.”
“Really? Nothing? I’m not so sure about that.”
“Well, I was just thinkin about my mom.(looking down with a somber expression)”
“Yeah? Tell me what you are thinking(my heart is breaking)”
“I was thinking about one time when my eye hurt and she got me medicine. Worku had to go to the doctor and we didn’t have money, but the doctor help us and my mom asked for medicine for my eye too and he gave her some.”
“Your mom sounds like she took good care of you.”
“Yeah, whenever I cry she ask me ~ what can I do for you?”
“Wow, your mom sounds like she loved you a lot!”
“Yeah, she did.”
“She sounds like she took good care of you.”
“Yeah, she did.”
“Do you miss her?”
“Yes.”(tears are now flowing down both our cheeks)
My conversation with Zenash continued as I tried to comfort her and tell her that her mom was a very special woman. I could see the weight of “where is she now?” on the shoulders of a 9 year old who shouldn’t be burdened with such a question. It broke my heart that 3 of my children bear the weight of this thought more than I probably realize.
As I held her in my arms, I told my daughter that she has 2 mommies who love her very much. One who gave birth to her through her stomach and one who gave birth to her through her heart. This mommy who gave birth to her through her heart thought her other mommy would be very proud of her kids and all that they had done since coming to a new family in America.
It’s okay to miss your mommy who gave birth to you through her stomach and we will never forget her because she is very special. I want you to always remember her and talk about her whenever you want to. There is nothing you can say about your other mommy that would ever hurt me. It’s ok to be sad and miss your other mommy. Maybe one day God will allow you to see her again. Wouldn’t that be cool?
This conversation with my daughter today felt like an arrow piercing my heart. How I ached for her and the sadness she must be feeling. How I understood all too real/raw the wonderment of where my birth mom is right now. How I wish I could take the pain and scary feelings away and blow them to heaven.
Mother’s Day this year can’t be about me ~ but her!
How many mother’s in our world today have given up their children in order for them to have a better life? It’s easy to forget about how her heart must be aching to hold her child she unselfishly gave away as I am the one who gets to open the card, eat that special meal together, and cuddle on the coach…with the child SHE gave birth to. I owe it to her and the sacrifice she made to keep her memory alive in her children.
What if we tried harder to not dance around talking with our adopted children when it comes to their birth mothers? What if we didn’t fear that talking about her would hurt them accepting that not talking about her hurts them more? What if we didn’t fear that talking about her would make them want me as their mom less? What if we didn’t fear but stepped up in bravery like she did?
Isn’t it important to consider how we can honor the birth mother of our adopted children on Mother’s Day?
I can’t say that I know exactly yet what this will look like, but I am bound and determined to make this a regular part of Mother’s Day in our home. Our adopted children MUST feel the freedom, safety and permission to talk about/miss/grieve/honor their birth mothers.
So tomorrow as our family gathers to celebrate Mother’s Day, there will be an extra place at our table. The guest of honor will not be present physically, but we will be sure we do our part to make her present in spirit.
To the birth mother of Meskerem, Worku and Zenash, wherever you are…
I am grateful that you have allowed me to be their “other” mommy. I hope and pray that you are alive and safe. I hope and pray that God gives you peace knowing that your children are being well cared for and loved. I hope and pray that one day I will get the chance to thank you in person for allowing me the privilege to be a part of their lives. I hope and pray that I will be diligent to keep your memory alive in their hearts. I hope and pray they will know that you did not abandon them, but you truly loved them so much you were willing to sacrifice the ability to watch them grow up so they could have more than you were able to give them. I hope and pray I can love them as deeply as you do.
You are and always will be their Mother…