How many times when you were growing up did you hear, "Once you have children of your own, you'll understand." Or the ever popular, just-as-you're-about-to-get-your-bootie-spanked phrase of "This hurts me more than it hurts you." And as a kid you're thinking, "Yeah right! If it hurts you so bad, just don't spank me!" I swore on all that is true that I would never ever say these to my kids. And I've never said it- but boy have I sure thought it!
Having children changes your perspective on so many things. One of these things for me, has been how I think about birthmothers. When I was in high school and classmates starting showing up pregnant, my friends and I would wonder how these girls were going to make it. Sometimes, we'd talk about whether or not the girls would give their babies up for adoption. And always in the back of my mind, I would think that giving up your child meant that you were heartless, and taking the easy way out. I always grew up with the mentality, that if you make your bed, you're going to have to lie in it. And the same held true for crisis pregnancies. Don't do the "crime" if you can't handle the "time". In my sheltered little world, I had this image in my head of some teenaged girl handing her baby over to strangers and never looking back.
But when my children came along, I experienced how strong that bond is and how deep and all consuming that love is. That love is so fierce, you would do anything to give your child the world. And at that instant, I realized just how painful it would be to realize that you couldn't possibly be able to give your child all the things he needs to be full and whole. It is at that moment, that a birthmother's love is at overflowing that she relinquishes her child to someone that she hopes can give him a beautiful life. It is not the heartless choice. It is not the easy way out. It is what a hero does. I never stopped to think about what it would be like to be in a birthmother's shoes- how badly it must hurt to relinquish your baby. To be so courageous and selfless. To know that you loved your child so much, you would give him up. That you would put the pain in your heart aside to make sure that that tiny baby had a world of opportunity.
Can you imagine the reality that mothers in impoverished countries face? Many of their children don't make it out of toddlerhood for lack of basic necessities. Can you imagine how it must feel for her to look at her hungry children and not be able to do anything about it? Can you imagine watching your child suffer with a preventable disease, yet know that you didn't have the resources to prevent it. Can you imagine being sick yourself and wondering what will happen to your children when you aren't there anymore to care for them? It breaks my heart. I couldn't even begin to be as strong as these women have to be.
I think about Miles' birthmother often. I have no idea what the circumstances are that brought him to the orphange. The only thing that we know is that he was abandoned. Abandoned sounds so harsh, so cold. I like to think that his mommy loved him so much that she did the bravest thing she could to make sure that he was taken care of. That her heart was so full, she put the dreams of her child before her own. That she made a choice no mother should have to make, in order to save her son. My heart aches for her. My heart wants to give her the world so that Miles could stay with her. My heart grieves the loss that my son has experienced. I want so badly to honor his mother. She is a hero in my heart. She has entrusted me with her most precious gift. She is amazing and wonderful. She is a pillar of strength. I will tell Miles often that he has two mommies that love him more than life itself. I can't thank her enough for her sacrifice. I can't thank her enough for her courage. I can't thank her enough for my son.