It can be a painful holiday for women who have lost a child... women who are struggling through infertility, and also for all of us (waiting) adoptive mommas. It is hard because our arms our empty - and our hearts are aching. This is the 4th Mother's Day I've experienced since we announced we were adopting. And each one is hard (because I miss my little girl and I long to be a momma) and each one is awkward (because I'm not a momma yet. Or am I?)
I don't quite know what to do on Mother's Day. There is inevitably a sad moment - when I wish I had sweet Kate bringing me a handful of flowers and a handmade Mother's Day card home from Sunday School. But in all the other moments - I don't quite know what to do. My mom has been so thoughtful and gotten me Mother's Day cards "from Kate" several times. And each year, at least one sweet friend writes a heartfelt Mother's Day wish on my facebook page - and that blesses me so much. Because the truth is - I AM a mother in my heart. But it's hard to see that. I don't have a child at home. I don't tuck anyone in bed at night. I don't rock a baby to sleep, sing along to Sesame Street, or kiss scraped knees. My house isn't littered with toys and cheerios. I don't deal with tantrums or timeouts - runny noses or fevers. So I worry that other people just don't view me as a mom - not in any of the ways that count.
And yet - I have longed to hear someone call me Mommy for the longest time. I love a little girl that I have never met. I worry about her, and pray for her... even though I've never seen her face. I talk about her, and dream about her. And I have worked countless hours... days... months... and years to try to bring her home.
But what do I do on this day? I don't have anything or anyone to celebrate. And without a baby bump, I don't even appear to be an expectant mother (even though I am.) I don't look like a mom. And I don't really feel like a mom. So when (inevitably) the mothers in the room are asked to stand at church on Mother's Day - I have always stayed seated.
Today, I was back at the church I grew up in (Lakeview Baptist Church) with my mom. Rusty and I were given an opportunity to speak about our orphan care ministry... and I was glad to be busy. Glad for the distraction. But today - when the mothers were asked to stand - the pastor (God bless him) made SURE to mention that meant EVERY woman who had EVER been a mother - including foster mothers and adoptive mothers. "But my child isn't home yet", I thought to myself. Still intending to stay seated. And then I got the eyes from my brother and sister-in-law. The eyes that said "he means you! You'd better stand up!" So I did. And I felt awkward. And illegitimate. And I wondered if I'd made a mistake. But I took my rose and sat back down teary eyed.
And then, the precious pastor, Darrell (who happens to have adopted nieces) brought another rose over to me personally. "I just wanted to make SURE you got one of these today" he said. He wanted me to know - without a doubt - that he meant me too. He'd prayed the sweetest prayer for us that morning before we spoke, and he'd asked God to bless our adoption. And now he'd made sure that I was recognized and honored. I was so, so touched.
It was already a special Mother's Day - but that wasn't all God had in store for me. After lunch with our family, my baby brother and new sister-in-law showed up with a gift. I, of course, assumed it was for my mom. But then they handed it to me! I didn't know what to do!
Inside - was the sweetest card for a "Momma to be"...
... and our little girl's 1st Bible! (and it's a princess Bible! They know me well! ;)
Thank you Aunt Michelle and Uncle Jaron! What a precious gift!
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen. ~ Hebrews 11:1
To all of you who have been so thoughtful and kind to me this Mother's Day (and for the last 3 years as well), thank you. God bless you for your compassion and tenderness on a difficult day.
To all my other waiting adoptive mommas on Mother's Day - as you work and pray to get your little darlings home - keep HOPE and FAITH in your heart! Our stories are not yet finished!