DEAR MOM: I LOVE YOU

What does the word Mom mean to you?  In foster care the word has so many meanings.  It can be the word a toddler picks up because the other kids in your home are using it, it can be used as a word to hurt you, or it can be a word that your told shouldn’t matter if the child you care for chooses to call another women.  I remember the first day little man called me mom.  I remember the exact moment and where I stood in our home and his words, "I LOVE you mommy."  I also remember the first time a case worker told me that it’s just a word and it should not matter if now his bio mother wanted to use it.  All I could think in my head was would you feel that way if your children the ones you cared for started calling another women mom would you still feel that way?

 

To my bios I will never question if they see me as there mom because that’s who I am but as a foster mom I won’t sit here and try to tell you that we don’t question who we are and what our role looks like to the kids God places in our home.  There are kids that are placed in our home for a short season and then there are kids like little man that has spent more of his childhood in our home then her home.

Mom: one's mother -- Google.

Mom: The woman who loves you unconditionally from birth, the one who puts her kids before herself and the one who you can always count on above everyone else -- Urban Dictionary.

Mom: A person who has responsibility for the care of children -- YourDictionary.

What is the one thing that all of these definitions of Moms have in common? Read them closely and focus on the key words - loves you unconditionally, has responsibility for the care of children, one's mother. See it yet? Or better yet, focus on the words you haven't seen: Biological, adoptive, step, foster, etc.

With today's generation there are so many different types of moms, but the 'type' does not define the mother, nor should we allow it to. These women in our lives strive hard everyday to ensure a beautiful life for the kids they care for, the least we can do as a community is give them the credit they deserve. I am not able to express enough how many times I've heard the phrase "but she's not the real mom", when I've heard someone talking about a step parent, foster parent, family member that has stepped in, etc. I can't help but to wonder what their definition of a 'real' mom is, biological maybe? Because each definition I have listed above says otherwise.

I get it there will be a connection that bio parents have with the children placed in our home that I will never have and I try to honor that connection as much as possible.  There’s never an expectation for a child in our home to call me mom and honestly most of them call me Bonnie.  I made it a point for the first 8 months of little man’s life with us to make sure I referred to myself as Bonnie so she would see I was not trying to take her place.  It wasn’t until she disappeared for a large amount of time and he got older that I referred to myself as his mom.  (This does not mean I did'nt pray everyday to be his forever mom)

As a foster parent there is this fine line that we walk of what we wish in our hearts to be true and while we may wish for a child to forever be ours we also know that sometimes that's not what is best for that child.  Yes, we may be able to provide a child with a "better" life if you look at things like schooling, extra activities and attention because we have been blessed with a different life then a bio parent, but just because you can provide these things does not always mean in the long run you are what's best for the child.  It's hard like really hard to not dream of a future you can provide them and it's even harder when you have to let go of that dream and that child for what God has planned for them.

To the biological mothers, thank you for not giving up on your children from the get-go. For being there from the initial cry, to the cry over a scraped knee, from the first word to the first day of the school, and from the first time you held your child to now, as you swear to never let them go. You are a true inspiration, and your light shines through your children. You deserve a thank you every day, for you chose to never give up, you chose to love.

To the adoptive mothers, thank you for giving your child a second chance. For taking a child out of a bad situation and giving them a new lease on life. For loving a child unconditionally for no other reason than for wanting a child to raise, to love, and to give a life that someone else could not. You deserve a thank you every day because you chose to give a child a second chance at a beautiful life, you chose to love.

To the step mothers, thank you for stepping up to plate and being either the figure your spouse's child needs, or being an alternate figure when the child needs someone else to go to. Thank you for treating someone else's child with as much love as you would your own. You deserve a thank you every day because you chose to step up to the plate despite the situation, you chose to love.

To the foster moms, thank you for giving the children you provide housing to a chance to feel like they belong. Thank you for giving up your time, your space, and your love for a child that has probably never felt that. You deserve a thank you every day because you chose to provide something someone else could not: a feeling of belonging, you chose to love.

To the family members that has taken on the role of mom, thank you for saving the day. Maybe your previous title was grandmother, aunt, sister, or even dad. You have not given up your role as these things, but taken on another role as mom. You play both for your child so that they never feel that void. You do all that you can to ensure your child is loved beyond the imaginable, and that they know they aren't any different from any other child because your love is no different from that of other moms, it's immense and it is true. You deserve a thank you everyday because you chose to be a hero for your child, you chose to take on a double role, and you chose to love.

Each of these types of mothers is beautiful, inside and out, as her light shines through them and their children. We truly do not give these women the credit they deserve because as each of them may play different roles in different situations and different circumstances, they each play one role that they can all relate to, and that is always choosing to love.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is LOVE." - Corinthians 13:13.

What I have learned on this journey is while yes in my mind I am his mom I have to check what I feel I am owed at the door.  I have to honor her just as much as I want to be honored, because without her I would not be able to LOVE him.  I never would have learned that lesson of a selfless love for a human that was not birthed into my heart but was placed into my life.  

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