When my crew calls me mom, my heart still flutters a bit. This long awaited title achieved, may I never grow tired of it. I love being a mom, I love being their mom and I love my story into becoming a mom. Our story unique, a little messy, yet filled with beautiful glimpses of redemption, restoration and such purpose.
My own journey into motherhood was an unique one, an overnight life altering shift. Just another day, when suddenly kids get dropped off on my doorstep and I am supposed to know what to do, as if I could merely put on the name tag that read, “mom.” I would imagine this is a similar feeling to leaving the hospital with your brand new bundle of joy, suddenly you are in the soul provider for this tiny human. Your life is ever changed, you can’t go back to a place in your mind before them, what did you do, who were you? Suddenly your heart is split up among them, pieces of you just walking around in their tiny little hands.
New “normal” settles in and I begin to do life at a different pace, unable to imagine what it was like before. My days morph from long walks, dinner with friends and quiet evenings to chaos, sticky surfaces and wet things (so many wet things). Life is not what it once was for sure but somehow I don’t notice or maybe I just don’t care. I adjusted and my new life unfolded and this new title, “mama,” something ignited in my soul.
There are times I forget that these babies, in fact, did not grow inside of me. We get into such a rhythm, enjoying life, and something happens and I am reminded I am not their only mom. That realization is heavy, it is a sharp jab, that jolts me to my core, it is something I grieve, not for my sake but theirs. No matter how beautiful our story is, it is because of brokenness. The brokenness that beckoned their parents away and left deep wounds on their souls. Scars forever there, reminders of their past.
We got a letter from birth mom, this was the second letter that has come, I never responded to the first. For one month, I have been mulling over what my response would and should be. What do you say to a biological mom who is asking for contact? Calling them by their old names, asking to see them, missing them, asking to know how they are for not knowing haunts her. Her choices have gotten us here to this place, her loss is my beautiful gain, such a paradox, such a tragedy.
Destruction and great suffering mark our story yet, in the midst of it all, hope shines through, this story is being rewritten, redemption has come. Unlike a literary tragedy, this will not be a story displaying the downfall of them, instead they will get their much deserved happy ending, they will find themselves strong and brave warriors.
Each chapter of birth mom’s story is being written, currently, it is categorized as a “tragedy.” What a paradox indeed, her loss is my gain. I have always been a good sport, but this time at my core is the desire to win. A relationship with healthy birth parents, is important and healing, yet at my core is the whisper of a wish that our birth parents would just go away. The moments they interfere with our little world, it is difficult to love well. Nothing makes me more aware of my own brokenness, than when birth parents invade our space, my achy heart gets territorial and insecure.
This is my reality, I am not and never will be their only mom. The paradox suddenly shifts when I realize that, loving my babies well, means loving their birthparents. It all comes full circle, maybe that is what Mother Teresa meant, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” The thing is I have enough love for not just my babies, but their parents as well. I don’t believe I can love well only one of them, for they are connected.
I can love our birth parents when they show up to our school unannounced after termination, just to check on the kids, even though they chose to not have their goodbye visit. I can love in sobriety and not, I can love them in their brokenness and I can love them when they have that precious Little One my soul longs for. I can love them because maybe that is the point of it all. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Loving them well, is part of the deal. I am forever tied to them, whether or not I have contact with them, whether or not they are involved or present, whether or not parental rights are terminated, I am called to love.
Our reality is these babies are mine, always and forever. I have complete say in what contact looks like, I get to be Mama Bear. Right now, they are not ready for contact, but I am, I need to love these parents until my crew has healed and received the tools they need to be able to love them well. Foster care really isn’t about the children, but for that brief moment when removal happens, from that point on it is about these parents. The best way to love my crew, is to love their birth mom as well, to show her that she can have her happy ending as well.