Mother's Day 2010 and then return to bed to recuperate. I've updated a few dates for the purposes of today's blog. Enjoy!:
Mark and I exercised a lapse in judgement six years ago this weekend when
we decided to go to church with the boy. The parental rights were recently
terminated between D'Angelo and his birth parents. He was still our foster
child and we were gradually working towards adopting him. It didn't occur to
either of us that we should avoid church on Mother's Day weekend. In
retrospect, that should have been a big "Duh".
kids were all called to the front of the sanctuary for the weekly "time with the
children" moment. The children messager started out by reading a sappy Mother's
Day story for kids and relaying fond memories of her life with her mother. She
then asked each of the kids to share their Mother's Day plans for that day. It
wasn't until she asked a shell shocked D'Angelo to start off the discussion that
she remembered what was going on in his life. To be honest, if I were in her
shoes, I don't know how I would've reacted if I'd realized that I'd asked a
freshly TPR'ed kid about what special things he was going to do with his mom.
The woman panicked a bit. She began to babble and awkwardly
tried shifting the discussion to past Mother's Day experiences, which didn't
help. D' just shut down. She could tell. We could tell. Everyone in the room
could tell. It was very sad and uncomfortable. Mark ended up leaving in the
middle of church service with D' so that he could privately
Later in the day, Mark and I decided that we would stay away from
church every Mother's Day weekend from that day forward. It is unrealistic to
ask our church family to refrain from acknowledging the role that motherhood has
played in their lives, but it's also not fair to D'Angelo to force him to
celebrate something that still reminds him of loss and grief.
can be a marvelous thing. It creates families for those who have none. But
most adoptive parents intuitively realize that our gain comes from others'
loss. We couldn't adopt our boys without them first losing their birth
parents. We can never erase their past, nor should we want to, of their birth
family. D' will always wonder about his birth parents. Are they safe? Are
they alive? Do they think about him? What would life be like if he had stayed
Mark and I have often told D' that we cannot (and will not)
ever replace his birth parents. They will always be with him, in one form or
another. We are his parents, but so are they. He want him to be able to talk
about them, to remember them, and to keep them alive in his memories. We will
not force him to make them into his dirty secret.
Anyway, we decided
six years ago that we will create our own Mother's Day ritual. We sleep in.
We call the grandmothers. We go to IHOP for brunch. We see a movie. And we
invite D' to share stories of his mom if and when the moment strikes him. And
those moments will come at his beckoning and on his terms. And that's a good
Updated for 2013: A few years after adopting our son, we were contacted by his birth father. The birth father wanted the chance to reconnect with D'Angelo. After some consideration, we agreed and D'Angelo met his birth father for the first time in many years. There have been some complications, but this reunification has been fairly positive. It led to D' learning more about his extended birth family. It led to him reconnecting -- though much less often -- with his mom. These connections have helped settle some of those unsettled questions. Are they safe? Are they alive? Do they think about him? What would life be like if he had stayed with them?
But we still stay away from church of Mother's Day.