Mother was a title we yearned for. Once accomplished, it was a role cherished all the more because it was so difficult to achieve. We look at our children in awe, thunderstruck by the immense responsibility placed on our shoulders and the trust their birthmothers have placed in us.
We have agreed to love and raise another’s child as our own. We promised to protect and embrace them, to teach them to love themselves, and to help them come to terms with the realities of adoption.
As we acknowledge those truths and the undeniable loss that underpin our children’s journey into our family, we communicate an important fact. Our children have two families—a birth family and an adoptive family. These two families are inextricably connected.
An important part of our job as an adoptive mother is to convey to our children that we respect and value their birth heritage because it is an integral part of them. As we prove that in daily life—through our actions and our words—we give them permission to value that part of themselves. We also teach our kids that adoption is not a taboo subject and that we welcome them to share their thoughts and feelings about adoption. This includes validating both the gains and their losses.
On Mother’s Day, adoptive moms know in their heart the painful ache for a child and, to a degree, we can understand the ache a birthmother feels about the missing part of her: the child she placed with us.
Compassion defines a mother’s heart. As adoptive moms, we simultaneously experience thrilling joy for the gift of motherhood and have compassion for their birth mother’s whose profound loss made it possible.
On this Mother’s Day, be sensitive to our children’s feelings. Deep inside, they know they has two moms and they have a challenging task figuring out how to come to terms with that fact.
Help them understand that just as parents can love more than one child, children can love more than one Mom. As adoptive moms, we are called to a Solomon’s choice: to love our children enough that we encourage them to embrace their roots while we graft them to our family trees.