If you just can't find the words this Mother's Day, I hope you find comfort in this.
Mother's Day meets me this year with emotions that I am having a difficult time expressing, so here I am. I have heard that it's not possible to feel more than one emotion at a time, yet I find myself bouncing quickly back and forth between joy and grief.
I am reminiscing on the births of my two biological loves and remember the pure joy that I felt the moment that each of them were born.
The birth of our first, our daughter
The birth of our second, our son
My heart then turns to grief when I think of the baby that we should have, our honeymoon baby, but that at just 7 weeks of pregnancy, went to be with Jesus. I grieve the first baby that we thought we were adopting, that didn't work out. I grieve the loss of a foster love that we thought would be with us forever, but that the system failed. I can still feel the very real and raw physical and emotional pain of all of these loses.
6 weeks pregnant with our sweet angel that we will meet in Heaven someday
Our only picture together with the daughter that we had only for a day.
Our foster twins - the one we were sure would be adopted, the system failed and the one we were sure the system would fail, we are adopting
Then, back to JOY! I remember the moment that I met our adopted love, when he was just 3 months old. That "birth" is one unlike any other, and one that I hold just as close to my heart as the day that our first two were born. Unlike our first two, I continually feel a mix of joy and grief. He brings us more joy than I could ever imagine a child could bring. I am amazed everyday at the continuous miracles that God is working through him.
Meeting our son for the first time
Then comes the gut wrenching grief again. Our gain of this sweet boy, meant another mama's heart broke into a million pieces. Due to many circumstances, we weren't able to connect with his first mama until recently. This is one of the first messages that she sent me (cue the tears).
When I talk about his first mama, I do not say that she "gave him up for adoption" because what she really did is exchange a part of her soul so he could have the life that he deserves. She is one of the strongest mama warriors that I know.
Then there are our current foster loves. A week ago we found out that our first foster love will become part of our family permanently. I sat anxiously in the courtroom as the judge delivered his ruling, "the court finds good cause for the termination of parental rights." First came joy, tears of happiness that not only would little girl be part of our family forever, but that she would be safe forever, and have a chance at breaking the cycle that she came from.
Then came the grief again. Little girl's mama will never have a Mother's Day with her baby girl. She will never watch her take her first steps, or learn how to ride a bike. Her daddy will never take her to her first father/daughter dance, or meet her first boyfriend. Those things will still occur, as time will not stand still, but they will happen by the side of another mama and daddy, her second parents....her forever parents. I cannot begin to imagine what Mother's Day will look like this year for her first mama.
As if that wasn't a long enough ride on the joy & grief roller coaster, add in our other two foster loves (yes - I know that's a lot of kids). These boys are the missing puzzle pieces to our family, that we never even knew were missing. They have the sweetest and biggest smiles that I ever did see and make us belly laugh so hard that I might pee a little (thank you, first 2 kiddos). But underneath those beautiful smiles is so. much. pain. Their past is full of things that until now I only read about. Their present and their future are full of pain too. You see, there is no way to "save" or "fix" these boys. We can meet them where they are and show them what love is supposed to look like, and help them find their way to Jesus, but "fixed" they will never be. And really, will any of us ever be fixed? Besides grieving the trauma & loss that they have experienced, I grieve for their first mama this Mother's Day. She will spend her day, a day that should be filled with joy, grieving the loss of her four beautiful children. Regardless of if that loss is temporary or permanent, it is still a loss. Lost time, lost memories.
Kristy Sutton said it so very eloquently:
"I long to see her made whole and fully regain the precious moments of being a mom.
But she may not this year, and maybe she never will. The milestones and memories may always belong to only me. I grieve what she cannot have for now. And I wrestle with what to do and how to convey the hope and heartache of the motherhood I’m living for her today. It all finds me again on this day, and I pray it always does."
This year, I am receiving this beautiful necklace with all of my babies names on it, I know because I ordered it myself (don't judge - it's better for our marriage this way). I am so excited to wear it, but am also grieving. I am grieving the losses of two of our babies, who are still with us, but who I have no idea will be on this necklace next Mother's Day. If they are, that means that their first mama experienced the greatest loss possible, and if they're not, that means that we experienced a horrific loss. Either way, there will be heartbreak and there will be grief for at least one mama.
Ann Voskamp said it well in her Mother's Day blog post:
"And the woman who grew your body, may not be the woman who grows your soul, and the woman you were tethered to with an umbilical cord, may not be the only one who’s tied to your heart — because to grow a soul, it will take a body of women: birth mothers, and soul mothers, and spiritual mothers, and sister mothers and there is no class system of mothers, there is only passing on grace.
We don’t pass judgment on any woman — we only pass on all the grace."
As I put this necklace on for the first time on Mother's Day, with shaking hands and crying eyes, I will be reminded that it took 4 brave mamas to make this necklace.
"A child born to another woman calls me mom. The depth of the tragedy and the magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me." - Jody Landers