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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Mother's Day

There is again a reason why I would put a post such as this under what would seem like an odd heading. I wanted to share what I got for Mother's Day (yes, I got them already because my kids have no patience with surprises).

My darling husband got me a decorative box for my Bible. It is so pretty. He also got me a new Crock-Pot from everyone, which is the fanciest I've ever had. It is programmable!

The kiddos got me a glass rose, a necklace, Bible bookends, and little coupon books they made. It was so sweet and hilarious at the same time. My son made up a book of coupons with very nice redeemable value, like building the addition to our house, but in the back he put "There coupons expire 30 days from today". Well, all the coupons he has ever seen had an expiration date! And my sweet daughter gave me a DIAMOND necklace, which was on clearance for $3.50!!!! It was so fun to experience her joy at what seemed to be an awesome deal (we have not gotten to cubic zirc. in science yet).

All the gifts were great, but the best was the card from my son, in which he wrote " #1 mom." To most people, that will seem normal. You have to be the mother of children who did not want you to understand the value of that statement. Two weeks ago he was angry at me because he remembered toys we bought him that went to his biological mother's house and never came back. He was too small to understand that when they were transitioning the kids home, we were to take some of their belongings each weekend to help the change go smoother. He only remembers things that were his and were lost. The recent tornadoes were a good point in how belongings get lost all the time and we shouldn't set our hearts on 'things'. I guess some of that sunk in.

And I also have a letter to the kids from their mother that I appreciate beyond measure. When the transition home failed because of a failed drug test, the county went to court and terminated her rights because the time limit was up. I knew where she lived of course, so I went to see her one day. I asked her what she wanted us to do about the kids. We had every intention of adopting them, but I wanted her opinion. When I got there, she was very angry and wouldn't speak to me, but hen I asked what she wanted us to do, she softened and said it was the best place for them. Because of her 'blessing' on it, I knew she would not try to do something crazy, and I offered her pictures, videos, and some contact (cards to the kids) as long as she kept me updated on her address.

The decision to allow contact was hard at first. I had been the 'chauffer' for so long and I felt that allowing them constant reminders of her would be a detriment to them ever seeing me as mom. But as time and experience grew, I realized that if I did not allow them this bit, they would go on thinking she was being held captive somewhere and as soon as she could get free, she would come to rescue them. When they got cards saying I'm living here and working here, it was obvious she was not a prisoner trying to get free. I did keep her updated and even told her of some of the most troubling issues, including the child who starves herself because she is so angry at me. And this girl, who had been forcibly severed from her children forever by the courts, made the gesture of writing a letter to all the kids explaining to them that what happened was not their fault or our fault, but her own failing to do what she needed to do to get them back. She said they were very lucky to be where they are and that she wanted us to keep them because we were the best parents for them. What a gift. What an amazing gift.

Even though most of the kids are too small still to understand the letter's depth, I cherish it. She did not have to. She could have said it was just the way things happened. Instead, she took responsibility. She gave the kids reassurance that she wanted them with us. She told them God brought them here. So while I was trying to get the kids to put me in the mom role in their minds instead of her, she willingly shared the greatest gift she had with me. She asked her kids to love me as their mother. It had to have been very hard for her to write, especially considering how young she is and what happened in her life that created the void of knowledge and training she needed to make good decisions. My respect for her has grown, not simply because she gave me an out when it comes to blame, but because she took the hard road, made the right decision in spite of her own pain, and released her kids from any guilt that what happened could have possibly been their faults. I've been humbled.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, those who have children of their own, those who are raising adopted or foster children, and those who gave their children the best, even if it meant giving them to someone else.

"And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof." 1 Kings 3:24-27

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