May 7, 2010
It’s been a long time since I first became a mom – almost seventeen years ago, in fact. In the midst of all the day-to-day hustle and bustle, I have taken the blessing of motherhood for granted, as so many other moms do. This year, however, as I enter the world of social-networking and cyber-journalism, I find myself contemplating what it means to me to be a mom.
In the world of adoption, parenthood takes on a different meaning as we adoptive parents contemplate not only our own journey into parenthood, but also the journey of our children’s birth parents. While we celebrate our blessings as moms and dads, at the same time we recognize and contemplate the overwhelming sense of loss felt by the birth parents who so selflessly allowed us to parent their children. All of us remember these birth parents in different ways: some send cards or letters, some light a candle, some celebrate birth moms and birth dads on a separate day from Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, some just say a special prayer, and still others have no special tradition for birth parents at all. As with most acts of parenting, there is no universal “right” or “wrong” way to celebrate birth parents. The fact remains, though, that for adoptive parents, there are other individuals who deserve recognition for our opportunity to parent the children in our families.
In my own family, we usually only discuss our sons’ birth parents when they ask questions about them. Typically, I hesitate to bring them up because I am uncertain about how this will affect my sons – will it draw more attention to the fact that they are not my biological children, somehow making them seem less a part of our family than my daughters, or will it simply reiterate the fact that they are loved by their dad and me in spite of the fact that I did not carry them in my belly? Additionally, if I remind them that their birth parents relinquished them for adoption, will it hurt their own self-esteem? I honestly don’t know the answers to these questions, and, truth be told, I doubt anyone else does, either.
So, like all moms around the world, I will continue to do the best I can at parenting my kids, and I will do it with love. I will remember my sons’ birth mothers with intense gratitude for their decision to give birth and place their children in a safe place, with faith and hope in their hearts that eventually these boys would find a loving family to care for and parent them. While I won’t dwell on the subject, I will remind my sons that these first mothers loved them dearly, and would be so proud to see what wonderful young men they are growing up to be.
This year I will remember what it means to be a mom – to “forever let my heart live outside my body” – and what an incredible blessing and responsibility it is to parent a child, no matter how he or she came to be in my care.
We want to thank Dawn Sticklen for this special guest blog.