Glimpses of Motherhood: An adoptive mother's story

Esther shares honestly about becoming a mother for the second time, and her heart for her precious adopted daughter.

Surely it cannot be this time of the year again!

To be honest, the run up to Mother’s Day is usually far harder and emotional than the actual day, and this is the backdrop to every year since having first adopted over twenty years ago.

We have three fabulous adopted children, with three stories that we navigate and three personalities that we want to spur on. We knew very early on in our journey of adoption that God was asking us to be their advocates, to stand in the gap for our children and be their voice when they feel fragile or vulnerable.

This will often be what directs us and prompts our actions and responses in each situation, as each of our lovely children grow up in their own unique way.

The dreaded Mother’s Day is one of the more challenging times of year.

For us, it brings the feeling of ‘what is’, which we celebrate in whatever way we can, but it also increases the realisation of ‘what is not’, which we mourn.

It’s a day full of emotions for so many reasons, and I need to live in that tension, as I love celebrating my own birth mummy and how fabulous she is – and yet at times I see my children struggling to do the same for me.

Being a mummy is the best thing ever. Being a mummy to adoptive children has been a real privilege even when life is hard or they are hurting.

However, asking my children to glibly wish me a Happy Mother’s Day only amplifies their loss. I see them struggling and wonder why we even go down this path. Why do we have to have cards made at school or church? Why do we have shops with huge displays claiming we each have the ‘best mum ever’?

Why do we think a present and a card on this particular day is so vital?

I want my children to say I love you when they want to. I want them to be able to process their story when they want to and not when the world forces them to.

Of course I want them to love me, and I hope deeply that they do, but I know that does not take away the pain and loss they are experiencing of missing their birth mummy and that hugely significant piece of the puzzle of their lives.

All too often, our world over-simplifies the most complex of circumstances – as adoptive families we know this so well. Things are not black and white. Family is not fixed and regulated, but intricate and ever-changing.

I know there is more than just me and my children who are struggling along these thorny paths.

On this day, I am aware that so many birth mummies will be feeling a deep sense of loss - including my own children’s potentially.

I also recognise what a day this must be for children in foster care who may well be missing birth mummies, alongside waiting for new adoptive mummies, struggling to know how to celebrate their foster mummies, or simply wanting to run and hide away from all this forced merriment and flowers.

Not to mention all those foster mummies doing what they can to ease the anguish of the precious children in their care.

And what about grandmothers who have lost contact with their own children and have stepped into a kinship care role for their traumatised grandchildren, or special guardians who don’t have a special ‘mummy’ title?

As I look ahead to Sunday, I am praying.

I am praying for all those individuals for whom this day will be painful, challenging, or downright difficult.

And I am praying for my children, praying Zephaniah 3.17 over them – along with all children who no longer live with their birth mummy. That they will be able to bear the day in whatever way they can. That they will be able to sneak away and shed a tear and know that it is ok to mourn. That they will be able to celebrate if they want to, without being burdened with guilt.

That they would know that in life, and in God, there is space for both sorrow and celebration, remembrance and recognition, loss and hope, and that neither is better or more important than the other.

‘For the Lord your God is living among you.He is a mighty saviour.He will take delight in you with gladness.With his love, he will calm all your fears.He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.’ (Zephaniah 3.17 New Living Translation)

Home for Good has a range of short films and resources that may help you mark Mother's Day in a way that is sensitive to the full spectrum of emotions and experiences surrounding this day.View all the resources here

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An adoptive mother


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