When I look at my daughter, I see so much of myself in her: her mannerisms, the way she throws her head back when she laughs, and how she is constantly singing and making up songs as she goes throughout her day. I see how she cares so deeply for all living things including bugs, flowers, animals, and people. She just has this whimsical sense about her that I feel proud to say comes from my very own heart and soul. Then there are times when I catch a glimpse of her beautiful big eyes that literally shine when the sun catches them, and I am taken back to when I first met her biological mother. They are the same beautiful eyes. She has this boldness and fearlessness about her and I sometimes wonder if that came from her birth mom too.

My daughter has no memory of the one who loved her first, the woman who carried her in her womb and gave birth to her in desperate and uncertain circumstances. This woman would be easy to scoff at and blame for my daughter’s unfortunate circumstances that burdened her as an infant. Yet, when I think of her birth momma, I can only feel love.

Love because she chose life for my daughter

Love because she gave up her body for 32 weeks to bring my daughter into this world

Love because her DNA runs through my daughter and is evident in her big gorgeous eyes, her sweet dimple, and even her low raspy endearing voice

Love because she is God’s precious child and I believe all humankind is bonded between the reality that we are all God’s children

So how do we honor a woman that my daughter has no recollection of? We don’t even have a picture of her. I wish so desperately I had taken a photo on the day I first met her and watched her embrace our daughter in her arms. It’s such a special memory in my mind that I wish I had a photo of it to share with my daughter. How do we honor someone, when it’s hard for our 4-year-old to comprehend the significance her birth mother holds in her life?

These questions run through my mind late at night when sleep escapes me, especially as we come up on Mother’s Day. It is a day that I feel celebrated and so incredibly thankful that God gifted me my daughter through adoption. It’s the day I remember how much I longed to hold the title of mom.

Yet, along with the celebration and joy, my heart can’t help but feel a heaviness for the woman on the other side that is surrounded by celebration when she is without her child.

It’s such a heavy reality of how broken this world is, the heartbreak, the unfairness—I also believe it is such a beautiful picture of hope as well.

A child came into this world born to a mother in a desperate situation unable to raise her child. Then she was adopted by a family that eagerly longed for a child. It’s a lot of feelings, some are even too heavy for our 4-year-old to carry at this time. 

I want to tell her this grand story, but all I have is what I know to be true, and the truth is she was never unwanted and never unloved. She was born out of love and that love brought her to us.

So we honor her birth mom by saying her name. Nothing negative is ever spoken about her. We discuss how she gave our daughter some of her best features. She gave her a name that means Holy. That name is so precious to us that we kept her name when we adopted her. 

We honor her birth mom by praying for her. We ask God to help her heal, help her to give herself grace, and help her to know how loved she is.

We honor her by never forgetting the incredible gift she brought into this world. 

Through the years there will be questions about our daughter’s biological mother and although we don’t embellish her story, we talk highly of her. We let our daughter know how incredibly hard it must have been for her birth mom to let her go and how badly she wanted a good life for her baby. She wanted her to be with a family that valued God, she cared about her education and vaccine decisions we would make. She cared so much about our daughter’s well-being that with a heavy heart, she made the decision to let another family care for the only valuable relationship she had in her life. That is a kind of sacrificial love that most of us are privileged to never understand.

All adoption stories are different, some may have no idea about the families their children come from. My niece was adopted from another country from an orphanage with little to no information about her background. My brother was adopted at an older age and has many memories of his biological mom. What we know of our daughter’s birth mom is the few encounters we had and a couple of phone calls. Some families will get a whole written history of their child’s biological family. Some stories are laden with trauma, drug use, and abandonment, while others were well thought-out decisions and circumstances that led to adoption.

I think the takeaway is no matter how horrific or dramatic the situation that brought your child to adoption, the fact that their birth mother chose life for your child is something to be highly honored.

My hope is for my daughter to one day meet her birth mom and get all of her questions answered; but in the meantime, I can build up a respect and love for her birth mother so that if they do ever meet, there is a sense of peace and forgiveness that encompasses such a complicated relationship, all while honoring a woman we hold with high regards in our home and our hearts.