Mother’s Day is coming! Millions of people across the globe will honor their mothers, thanking them for their efforts in giving them life and raising them with love & stability. For many, the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday is a genuinely simple celebration. For others, the day is a bit more complicated. This is one story.
I am Liam’s mother and forever will be. But I am not the only mother he has.
I have a penciled outline of his first mother’s hand from the day we met in a small room in eastern Africa. I think of that handprint often. I remember that it was her hands that rubbed her growing belly as she carried water beneath the scorching sun. It was her hands which first held our son. It was her hands that caressed his cheeks as she sang him a lullaby. Her hands that held him shyly, yet proudly, as she introduced him to her family; his family, too. Her hands that gently rocked him to sleep. Her hands that wiped away his midnight tears. And it was her hands that placed the 3-month old little boy she loved into the arms of another.
Somewhere across the world, my son he has a mother whose skin matches his own. Whose eyes reflect all that he is.
I am Joella’s mother and forever will be. But I am not the only mother she has.
I have a hand-written note from her first mom, written while she was restrained to a bed just down the hospital hallway. The note was smuggled to our room in the bottom of our daughter’s bassinet by a night-shift nurse, an adoptee, who looked the other way, understanding not only the preciousness of the baby but the gift tucked beneath the blankets. The words penciled on a scrap of paper reflected a mama in love with the bundle she held in her arms. “I love you SO much,” her shaking hands wrote. “You are so beautiful,” were the words she penned with tears dripping from her tired eyes. “I wish we could stay together,” her heart pleaded as her hands placed her little girl into the arms of a nurse one last time.
Somewhere many miles away, my daughter has a mother whose smile matches her own. Who desperately wishes to be somewhere she is not.
On this day, especially, I think of these sweet women whom I know in such a limited way but who take up such a huge part of my heart. I think about their love. Their sacrifice. I would imagine that sometimes, they still cry, thinking of the child growing up in a land so far away, a community so different than their own. I wonder if the pain still takes their breath away as they remember the day their son, the day their daughter, was placed into the arms of another. I wonder if they will ever understand the depth of my love for them, my gratitude for the gift I have received. I wonder if they know that on this day, on every Mother’s Day, they are the ones I celebrate.
I am Liam’s mother.
I am Joella’s mother.
And forever will be.
But I am not the only mother they have.
I share it with other mothers, all doing the best we can.
*the author wished to be kept anonymous