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May 9, 2021

What I’ve learned from being a Catholic daughter and an adoptive parent

The first time I remember understanding the uniqueness of my mother’s love was the day she came home from a parent teacher conference. I was in second grade and my teacher said she was concerned about one area of my learning; I saw that it broke my mom’s heart to hear those words. I thought, “I don’t know why she’s so upset, I’m the one who feels like a dummy.”

Flash forward to my career working in an agency that specializes in creating and strengthening families. And then my own experience with becoming the adoptive mom to two boys who have my heart at a depth words can’t even describe.

I call it mom love, and it’s the most powerful and mysterious force in the world.

I see it in the birth moms who are brave enough to make sacrifices the rest of us can’t comprehend. That may be choosing adoption because they want their baby to have a different life than they can provide, or it may be living in our shelter so they can learn to tap into their inner strength, face their own traumas, and be a good parent.

I see it in our foster parents who are selfless enough to give mom love for now, knowing the connection they feel is temporary. They learn to keep their own emotions measured so they can rise up to meet the challenges of a child who needs them, to imprint the wonder of mom love on them so they can take it with them for the rest of their lives.

And I’ve experienced it personally as an adoptive parent. It was like the seed of mom love that was planted in me by my own mother bloomed instantly when I held my little baby in my arms. Every Mother’s Day it rings in my ears, the intensity of the love my boys’ birth moms have for them and the choices they made that changed all of our lives for the better, forever.

I am a spiritual person. The mom love I see and feel is, to me, the clearest example of God’s love that we get to enjoy on Earth. It is genderless – mom love can be provided by men, by our staff, by the church, or anyone who commits to loving you unconditionally, deeply, selflessly.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, with all their mysterious, magnificent powers!