Last updated on May 18th, 2016 at 10:55 am

This Mother’s Day, I am a mother twice over

I mother their children. One is a shadow, a woman I cannot picture for I have never met her. I have her child but that’s all I have of her. No image in my mind, no image on a screen.

The other I know. No child in her arms while I have her child. A baby who will grow to wish me a “Happy Mother’s Day”. I am her mother, yes, but I did not hold her in my womb. She did. And then she handed her to me and told her that I was her mother.

I cannot forget these women

I feel connected to both. One is faceless. The other I hugged, held, spoke to. I have her on a screen, picture after picture. I dream about her. Does she dream about her child?

Her child.

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She signed away her parental rights but she did not sign away her emotions. I love my children, I know my children, I am their mother because other mothers decided so. I am their mother because of a very difficult choice made by my children’s mothers. Not many people understand the choice. Not many people are in as desperate a situation as these mothers were, seeing no place in their lives that would allow a child to thrive, flourish, to bloom.

I am their mother because their mothers believe I have everything they need

I pledge to be their mother, to be and to give what they need in every sense. To honour their pasts while planning their futures. I pledge never to shy away from the complexities of adoption. My children and I will muddle through it together.

I pledge never to forget the other mothers. The mothers whose wombs were full but whose arms are empty. Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me. I have – and love – some of my children because someone else thought they could not do it right. For their sake, for love’s sake, I do my best. I do what mothers do. I mother them. On Mother’s Day, and every day.

Mother’s Day: A day on which I could reach my children’s mothers’ hearts

To heal if needed. To comfort if there’s pain. To assure them that they need never worry about where they stand with our children. We are all mothers. Labels are just labels. “Adoptive” mother is just an acknowledgement of HOW they entered my heart. The “birth” in birth mother is just an acknowledgement of how they used to reside under their hearts. It does not undo their genetic connection, their shared pasts, their oneness. The ”bitter” in bittersweet.

I may not know how they are facing today, the birth mothers of my children, but I know how I am. I don’t know their thoughts, their feelings, their hearts. But I know mine. And mine are joy, contentment and a sorrow that adoption needs to exist at all. I wish every mother could physically mother. I wish every child could safely be with the one whose heart they heard in the beginning. Bittersweet. My joy because of their sorrow. My joy.

I am blessed to call my children mine. Their siblings thank us for bringing them into the family. We have more joy, more laughter, more giggles. That is my “sweet” in the bittersweet. Life is sweet. Mothering them all contains such sweet and tender moments.

Today as always, I thank them for allowing me the privilege of being their mother.