Saturday, May 7, 2016
Tomorrow is Mother's Day - the day we pay homage to our Moms, Aunties and the beautiful women in our lives that have served as second moms to us.
Today I want to pay homage to two women that have played a special part in my life. But first, a bit of backstory...
This past week I attended CAFO2016, the Christian Alliance for Orphans' annual Summit. This year we were in sunny Orlando, Florida, and what an amazing time it was. Inspiring breakout sessions, tear-jerking main sessions and a great time with my CAFO tribe. A highlight: my time with the African American Church Initiative -- a CAFO movement formed to further engage African American Christians in serving orphans and vulnerable children. I felt so blessed to walk with my brothers and sisters, as we walk out our calling to wrap around vulnerable children and families together.
Last year this time, I shared about CAFO2015 and the amazing work God did in and through me during Summit. This year I want to share something that moved my heart this year at CAFO2016. This is a post I should have written a long time ago. These are words that I've never shared publicly and don't say often enough in my own home.
This Mother's Day, I want to share my heart about two women in my life that I speak very little about. Two women that are very important to me - precious even.
And yet, I've never met these women. I've never even seen a photo of them or "friended" them on Facebook.
This Mother's Day Eve, also known as "Birthmother's Day", I want to share a tribute to my children's birth mothers.
As an adoptive mother I talk a lot about Christian and Joelle. I share the amazing stories of how they joined our family through adoption. I've shared the highs and lows of being an adoptive Mom. I've shared the never-ending story of the love that continues to grow in my heart for my adopted kiddos. I've also shared the challenges that accompany this journey of adoption.
What I've yet to share, however, is the admiration I have for their birthparents. No, I don't personally know their birthparents. I don't know if they are introverts or extraverts. I don't know if they are athletic or fashionistas. I don't know if they like seafood or pizza. I really don't know much about them at all.
But I know my babies.
I know that Christian and Joelle are both extraverts. I know that Christian is a beast on the basketball court and football field and can run like the wind. I know that Joelle has been a fashionista since infancy. As a matter of fact, when we adopted her at 5 months old, she was drawn to my Mom, who always wore lots of jewelry (and was a serious fashionista in her own right, by the way).
A day after we'd adopted Joelle, my Mom commented on the way she batted at her earrings and necklaces. "This child loves jewelry already," she said. "Look at how's she's drawn to my jewelry."
I couldn't deny it. I still can't. My little diva still loves her bling. Always will, I suspect. And I also suspect that the physical traits and personality bents of my children are small windows into their birthparents' traits. And I think that's pretty cool.
Those traits I see in my children is an amazing gift. Yet perhaps the most amazing gift my children's birthparents gave them was the gift of life. We live in a day when we have lots of choices, and the choice to continue a pregnancy or terminate it is one of those many choices. It's a gift indeed when a mother, when faced with an unplanned pregnancy and unpredictable future, chooses to carry and deliver her baby boy or girl.
Now let me be clear...
I have no desire to debate over the pro-life or pro-choice movements today - or any day for that matter. I absolutely do not want to throw shade or bring shame on women that have made the choice to abort a child. My heart is simply to honor and thank my children's birthmothers for not making this choice. If they had, I would have never kissed Christian's adorable dimples or scream -- I mean cheer -- at his first football game. If they had, I would have never held Joelle's feminine, delicate hands or applauded her for creating beautiful paintings.
These two women are heroes in the lives of my children. This Birthmother's Day, my children's birthmothers are my she-ros. I applaud them. I honor them. I pray for them.
Because they deserve it.