Mother’s Day.

“Children born to another woman call me ‘Mom’. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.” – Jody Landers
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On Mother’s Day of last year, we called our extended family to tell them that we were beginning our home study process to adopt a child from the Congo.One year later, and that child is home.

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It was a truly special weekend for me as a Mother of Two. Since our Sundays tend to be busy, we celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday with a hike and brunch at one of my favorite breakfast places. My husband, who is a seriously thoughtful gift-giver, gave me a bangle he bought in Congo and a beautiful necklace made by a local artist.
This is also the first Mother’s Day that I share with a birth mother.A little secret for you — during my struggle with infertility, whenever adoption was brought up or crossed my mind, the idea of a birth mom scared me. I felt threatened by the concept. I felt as though the child would never feel like he/she was truly “mine”.I now realize how ridiculous that thought was for many reasons, the first being — my child born to me is no more “mine” than the child who I adopted. No matter how fiercely and intensely I love my kids, their Father in heaven loves them more and they are first and foremost, His children. That He gives me the honor of raising two of His children is a gift.
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The fact that I have a birth mother as part of our family’s story is a huge gift and makes my life more full. I don’t feel threatened or jealous about this the way I worried I would. When we first heard Baby Boy’s story and learned of the loss of his birth mom, I felt overwhelming sadness and ache. For days, I wept for her. I wept that because of where she lived, she was not given the care she needed and was not able to survive childbirth. I wept for my son, that he had already lost so much in his short life.

When Baby Boy came home, I grieved this anew. As I marveled over this sweet stranger, I processed again the reason he was with me. The loss that had to happen for him to happen and for me to be his mom. I wept as I filled out the paperwork at the physical therapist and had to tell the sad story of his birth mom’s history and her lost life.At the same time, it is with overwhelming gratitude and joy that I have the privilege of being this little one’s mother. It is because of the beautiful and broken process of adoption that he gets to be my son and that I get to be his mom. I imagine one day being able to thank his birth mom in heaven, to tell her of the void in our lives that her son filled and the tremendous joy that he brought us with his dimpled smiles and wet kisses  — to try and put into words the gratitude for her gift.
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I wanted to do something to honor and memorialize her this Mother’s Day. We tried hard to find out where in DRC she was buried in the hopes Joel could take Baby Boy to visit her burial site while in Congo, but this was impossible information to access. Even if we knew where she was buried, it’s not as though it’s a place where we could frequently take Baby Boy to visit. So we made a sort of memorial for her to put in our garden. Something tangible to be a place where Baby Boy can bring her flowers or leave her notes. A place where he can sit and pray or think about her. An opportunity to open that dialogue between us, so that he knows I am not threatened by his birth mom or afraid of him asking questions.A way to show my son that I celebrate and honor her.
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I blocked out her name on the computer with the hearts you see in the center of the picture, but the one in the top corner is one that Yaya added. She said she wanted to put a heart to show her brother that his birth mom loved him very much. She was really excited to be a part of the project.
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For the many adoptive mamas out there who have the privilege of raising a child who calls them mama but was born to another, I am thinking of you and sharing in your joy and loss — praying for your family and your child’s birth mom. As my first Mother’s Day as an adoptive mom, I truly appreciated and related to this blog post that was shared by so many fellow adoptive mamas on Facebook.For the many adoptive mamas out there who have children across the world that they are aching to their very core for today, I am thinking of and praying for you as you fight and ache. I am down on my knees for you, remembering all too well the feeling during that awful wait. It is truly the hardest thing ever. (“May the Lord keep watch over you and me when we are away from each other.” Genesis 31:49b)

For the many adoptive mamas out there who have just begun their process and spend the days wondering where and who your child is, what pain and grief and loss he is enduring or will have to endure so that you can be his mom, I am thinking of and praying for you and the child you don’t yet know.For the future adoptive mamas out there who want so badly to be a mom and are perhaps enduring infertility or pregnancy loss or perhaps already have a “quiver full” and are wondering if their hearts and homes have room for one more, I am praying for your hearts and homes this Mother’s Day.And for the birth moms out there who give we adoptive moms the privilege of being moms to your children, I am thinking of and praying for you and feeling tremendous gratitude for you today.

Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

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