I have started this post almost 100 times only to write one sentence and click the x out box.
But this time I will push through the tears.
I will push through the hurt.
I will push through the pain.
I will lean into grace.
I have a huge packet of paper regarding you and your teen motherhood filed away in my closet somewhere.
I have read the packet at least 50 times, each time finding out something new about you.
I have read about the three year, gut-wrenching process that led to the termination of your parental rights to your son.
Oh, what an ugly picture is painted of you in those documents.
I have found you on social media. I have seen your picture. I know what you look like. Oh, how I see him in you.
But really, I don’t know you.
I don’t know what your voice sounds like or what kind of music you listen to.
I don’t know what kind of car you drive or if you have any hobbies.
I don’t know what you do in your spare time or if you have a favorite sports team.
I don’t know your favorite color or what holidays you celebrate.
I don’t know which season you like best or what your goals in life are.
I don’t know if you have any pets or how close you are with your family.
I don’t know these basic things about you, but we are more intimately and deeply connected than two woman can be.
Our son has a contagious laugh and a killer smile. I imagine he gets those traits from you.
He has a bleeding heart for the world around him and has more compassion than I have ever known a five year old to have. I bet he gets that from you too.
He has a stubborn streak and an intense curiosity about how the world works those and those qualities probably comes from you as well.
And while I see both my husband and I mirrored in our son so perfectly, I also see you.
I’ve been thinking about you a lot this week as Mother’s Day approaches.
Last year, I celebrated my first mother’s day as our sweet son was my foster son. It felt a little surreal as I was somehow a mother, but not. Alex had only been with us for 2 months and I was still getting to know him.
This year, mother’s day feels different knowing that there are legal state documents identifying him as my son. It feels different in the sense that we have a trust and a bond that only exists between a son and his mother. It feels different in the sense that he feels secure and I know him on an intimate and intricate level. It feels different in the sense that he really is mine.
But I am not naïve. I know he’s yours too.
I won’t lie. When Alex first came to us, I had hatred for you.
How could you do this to him?
How could anyone do what you have done?
Did you even care for him at all?
As I walked through counseling appointment after counseling appointment, story after story, emotional trigger after emotional trigger—the implications of trauma saturated our son’s (and our) life.
Every night terror, every tantrum, every bit of defiance, every aggressive act, every ridiculous fear—I blamed you for.
I was so mad at you. I had no heart for you.
But the beauty of God’s grace is that it how the power to permeate and change our hearts. And oh how I am glad He has changed mine.
On the day of Alex’s adoption, I cried. I cried a lot.
I cried out of joy and happiness.
I cried because of how compelling the redemptive grace of Jesus is.
But I also cried out of heartache and pain.
I cried for you.
My heart was convicted.
It was if all this time I had made myself out to be a saint and you a sinner.
Oh, how far from the truth that is.
My sister, there is nothing fundamentally different about you and me.
We are both sinners in need of grace.
I hate the idea that because you failed, I somehow won.
I hate that your greatest loss has become my greatest joy.
I hate the irony.
If I could talk to you, I would tell you that he loves sports and hot wheels.
I would tell you that he has learned his letters and before long, he will be reading.
I would tell you that he loves to dance and brings laughter and love into any room.
I would tell you that he is ticklish behind the knees and he asks to sing jingle bells every night before bed no matter the season.
I would tell you that he wants to be a police man when he grows up and that he could live off of peanut butter and bananas.
I would tell you that he conquered his fear of water and his favorite place to be is the lake.
I would tell you that his best friend is our dog and that he gets overly excited about drinking Gatorade.
I would tell you that he loves his baby foster brother in a deep and powerful way and he goes out of his way to help others.
I would tell you that he loves to color pictures and play board games.
I would tell you that he loves to snuggle and with mommy and daddy and he prays openly every night.
I would tell you that he is affectionate, kind, sweet, and caring.
I would tell you that he has come so far in one short year of being in our family.
I would tell you that is loved not only with your whole heart, but with mine as well.
I would tell you how incredibly grateful I am to be his mommy and how unbelievably humbled I am to receive the gift of your son, but also a capacity to love beyond anything I knew existed.
There are no words for the gratitude I have for you, it sounds shallow to me even as I write.
My thankfulness is a living, breathing, moving work of the Holy Spirit.
I desperately want you to know that he is safe.
He is healthy.
He is happy.
I know it is not the life you hoped for of imagined for him. This I know.
But I promise you I am doing the very best I can to be the best mommy for him.
I am doing everything I can to provide him the best opportunities for success and happiness.
But most importantly, I am doing everything I can to pour God’s love into his heart.
After all, my love for him is an overflow of God’s love for me.
My sister, I promise to honor your memory every chance I get.
Our son has asked about you. He has mentioned you. He remembers you.
And while the memories he has carried with him are not the best, I know there are happy ones too.
As he gets older I know he will ask more about you.
And when he does I will tell him what a courageous woman you are. I will tell him that you love him deeply.
One day, when our sweet boy is old enough, I hope to find you.
I hope to share a cup of coffee with you and enjoy the company of our son together.
But until then, know that I am praying for you.
My sister, I know there is not a day that goes by that you don’t think of him. Or a day that goes by that I don't think of you.
You and I will always be connected.
You are the mother that carried him and gave him life and I am the mother that has been blessed with the unimaginable gift of being called “mommy.”
My hatred towards you has turned to a deeper love for you than you will ever know.
And that is a miracle of Christ himself.
So this mother’s day when my family gathers together and shares laughter, love, and food—I’ll be thinking of you.
And as you wonder about your son this mother’s day, may you feel secure and at rest.
There is not a woman in this world I want to meet more than you.
But until the time is right, I hope God whispers in your ear that your son is safe, he is loved, and my family is immensely blessed because of you.
I pray this mother’s day that some of the grief and darkness that has certainly overwhelmed your life simply floats away and makes room for peace and grace to sink in.
You are forgiven.
You are loved.
You are cherished.
You are a daughter of the king.
You are not forgotten.
From the very bottom of my heart, Happy Mother’s Day to you, my sister and my son’s first mommy.
With all my love.