Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to You

Mother's Day is nice. It reminds those of us moms that we are appreciated. I'm a chauffeur, teacher, personal chef, psychologist, doctor, and so much more every day. I am so blessed to be all of those things for Zachary. Those of you who are lucky enough to know him know that he is a pure joy, full of happiness, humor, and often wisdom beyond his years.

This was most likely the last Mother's Day for me with just one child. Next year, and forever after, Mother's Day will be spent with our daughter-to-be too.

This year, in her absence, I'm thinking about what Mother's Day will be like for her birthmother. (Is there a Mother's Day in Ethiopia?) Children in Ethiopia aren't given up for adoption because they aren't wanted. They are given up because for some reason they can't be cared for any other way. Their parents are dead or dying. Their parents are destitute. Their parents are desperate for their children to be able to live. Not just the "live a life that we could never provide for" type of living. Actually, literally, living.

The one thing that makes me the most nervous about our second trip to Ethiopia, when we officially make our daughter "our daughter," is meeting her living relatives. This is not terribly common in the international adoption world, but it is a requirement in Ethiopian adoptions. It's wonderful to be able to meet and talk to and take pictures with and hug and reassure - but to me, it's also really terrifying. A lot of pressure. And heartbreaking, on both sides, for both mothers.

We'll be allowed to send pictures and write letters that will go into our yearly "update," which will be translated into Amharic (and I guess whatever the family's tribal language might be?) for her birth family to access through her orphanage. I can just imagine our daughter's birth mother reading the updates and looking at the pictures. What will she think as she sees pictures of her African daughter with her Caucasian brother? Frolicking with our little dog? In a frilly dance recital costume? Draped in a tallit, leaning over the Torah, in a staged Bat Mitzvah photo? In her cap and gown?

You will have a lot of promises you want me to keep, Birthmom. And I will keep every one. That is my promise to you.

3 comments:

Katherine said...

Made me cry.

Lisa said...

Alison, this was such a sweet post and made me cry... not just from hormones, I swear - you put your thoughts so beautifully! I spent a lot of time this Mother's Day thinking about mothers and all that all of us do to become mothers - and it's all a labor of some kind, sometimes a labor of love and time and effort and planning, and sometimes it is actual labor or even a C section and sometimes it is somewhere in between all that... but that struggle is what makes me appreciate being a mom and appreciating my mommy friends so deeply, no matter which paths we take to get there. *hugs*

Michelle Edelman said...

You will indeed touch many lives through this process - and they will touch yours. It is one of life's big experiences. Happy Mother's Day!