As the case for our foster baby progresses, it is with joy and sadness that this could be the first and last mother’s day that my wife gets to celebrate with this foster baby. Of course, we’re proud of the parents and rejoice for the child if he gets to reunite with his biological parents. But it will leave a hole in us. So how do we celebrate a mother’s day where the child is not technically ours because we have not adopted him and where his future could very likely not involve us? My wife said to me a couple weeks back that this mother’s day won’t feel like a real mother’s day. But it is a REAL mother’s day for her and I had to make sure we celebrated it! It is real because she has been mothering this baby for the last five months since he was practically born; nobody else has been mothering him but my wife. But to write this tribute about my wife, I have to back up and explain why I am so proud of my wife as a mother.
My wife was pregnant out of wedlock when she was 19. I celebrate her courage in carrying the baby to full term on her own and birthing her. I celebrate her sense of responsibility in putting the baby girl up for adoption when she knew she couldn’t provide for the baby and when she thought the baby would have a better life in the care of an established, loving family. I celebrate my wife for making that sacrificial act of love of surrendering her baby girl for the baby’s sake, which was an excruciatingly difficult decision as it would be for any mother. I celebrate my wife for maintaining a relationship with her biological daughter while she grew up with her adopted family. I celebrate my wife for faithfully developing a wonderful relationship with her biological daughter over the years. Her biological daughter is now a beautiful woman of 20-years-old and a college student who got accepted to CSU Long Beach. We are so proud of her! I celebrate my wife for being her biological daughter’s best friend, where her daughter regularly confides in her. I celebrate my wife for foster mothering this incredible baby. I celebrate my wife for all the compliments she receives from the many professionals who assess and serve this baby who is labeled “at-risk”; they tell my wife that this baby is so healthy, happy, well-developed and sociable, and that it’s due to the love and nurture he has received. I celebrate my wife for continuing to mother this baby whole-heartedly even with the understanding that we may likely “lose” him from our lives; I celebrate my wife for loving at the risk of great loss and pain. I celebrate my wife when people ask her, “How do you emotionally hold back since you might not keep this child?” and she replies with saying, “I don’t hold back.” I celebrate my wife for saying to me that if this baby returns to his biological parents, she would be ready to take in another child.
My wife is not the kind of mother in typical circumstances. But she is one incredible and awesome mother nonetheless! As a mother, she has permanently marked at least two lives for good in ways that only a mother could do. I celebrate her for the choices she has made as a mother out of a big mother’s heart. So on this mother’s day of 2013, I celebrate my wife as one awesome mother who impacts lives. We celebrated all weekend and she said tonight that she didn’t want this to end. That’s how it should be. Here’s to you, Ellen.