Mother’s Day can be an emotional time for women. Some women have lost their mothers while some have lost children, others are struggling with infertility, and some women have blessed others by way of adoption. I was a woman who, for many years, struggled on Mother’s Day due to the pain and loss experienced during my own infertility journey. Once I became a mother through adoption it was not lost on me that I had not come to motherhood on my own. I would forever share that day, willingly, with my children’s birthmothers. My husband and I set a tone in our household early on of honoring our children’s birthparents. They were not simply a means to an end for us. Our children’s birthmothers had won a place in our hearts that is precious and absolutely unexplainable.
Children adopted through international adoption may never have the experience of knowing their birthmothers. Children adopted through domestic adoption may or may not have regular contact with their birthmothers. In either scenario, however, it is important for families to be able to honor their birthmothers, especially on Mother’s Day.
One way to honor your child’s birthmother can be through the telling (and re-telling) of their adoption story. This narrative should be shared with our children more than once. I like to take time before we go to church on Mother’s Day to sit on the couch with my son and daughter and remind them of the moment their birthmothers shared them with me. I remind my daughter of the special moment that her birthmother was holding her in her arms, stroking her cheek, crying. How, in that instant, she kissed her gently and placed her in my arms and how I loved her birthmother so much that my heart ached. My son knows that, during our adoption hearing in court, his birthmother reached out for my hand and held it as my husband was on the stand. We were united as mothers in that moment, for him. Our children were loved and considered important, above all else.
Some other ideas for honoring your child’s birthmother on Mother’s Day are:
- Purchasing a flower or plant in honor of her and planting it together
- Sending her a homemade card with artwork by the child, along with photos and a letter
- Creating a photo book of the past year for her
- Sending her the child’s handprint or artwork made from the handprint
- Releasing a balloon that contains a special note to a birthmother in another part of the world with whom you do not have direct contact
Make your own tradition. Follow your child’s lead. Some children may not want to talk about their placement or birthmother from one year to the next. That’s okay; however, revisit it the next year because as our children grow and develop, they do become more curious and open to discussion.
It is so important that we allow our children the opportunity to love their birthmothers openly. I once told my kiddos “Just like I can love both of you at one time, you can love me and your birthmother at one time.” Make it okay. Make it intentional.