Not the Only One

by Christine Stahl

For some, the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday is a very non-complicated celebration of the woman who gave & loved them thru life. For others, the day of celebration is a bit more complicated. Specifically for adoptive mothers, the day is one which is shared with another. I am Alexander’s mother and forever will be. But, I am not the only mother he’s had.

I have a penciled outline of his first mother’s hand from the day we met [December 7, 2008] in a small room in southern Ethiopia. I think of this hand print often. I remember it was her hands that first held our son. It was her hands that caressed his cheeks as she sang him a lullaby. It was her hands that held him  as she introduced him to her family…his family, too. Her hands that gently rocked him. Her hands that first wiped away his tears. And, it was her hands that placed the 3-month old little boy she loved into the hands of an orphanage worker.

Today, I think of the sweet girl whom I hardly know but whom is so close to my heart. I think about her love, her unselfishness, her overwhelming pain. I wonder if she still cries daily, thinking of the child who is growing up in a land far from her own. I wonder if the pain still takes her breath away as she remembers the day she placed him into the arms of another. Today, my own tears flow in knowing that, at least this side of heaven, I will never be able to fully express the depth of my love for her & my gratitude for the gift she’s given to us. My gain could not exist but for her loss, the loss that is always part of adoption.

More than ever before, I share in the grief of losing one who is loved. More than ever before, I am thankful to share Mother’s Day with the woman who has allowed me to celebrate this special day with the child we both love. I am Alexander’s mother and forever will be. But, I am not the only mother he’s had.

David Vosburg