On This Mother’s Day

May 8, 2016 adoption realities, Amy A., Attachment 4 Comments

The second Sunday of May carries such incredible significance for women around our country. For many, Mother’s Day is a time of celebration – a time to sleep a few extra hours in morning and a time to receive breakfast in bed, gifts, hugs, kisses and words of appreciation. Church services celebrate mothers and their contribution to their family and the world. As a special treat, mothers are taken out to breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner, and they enjoy food that was not only prepared but also cleaned up by someone else. For these women, this day is filled with joy and love as their spouse and children go to many lengths to share their gratitude for the amazing wives and mothers in their lives.

For others, the anticipation of Mother’s Day and the day itself can feel crushing. A woman quietly weeps at church when all of the mothers are asked to stand for a round of applause because she just suffered her third miscarriage. This woman wonders if she will ever be a mother while sadness and anger weigh heavily on her heart. A husband and wife wake up on Mother’s Day under a dark cloud, as both of their mothers have passed away. A gaping hole has been left in both their hearts. Another woman’s mother is still alive but has been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She knows her relationship with her mother will never be the same and already misses the incredible woman who raised her. Before having breakfast with her husband and children, a woman who was recently diagnosed with cancer prays to God that He will grant her many more Mother’s Days with her precious family.

Although a woman’s husband and children have an entire day of fun activities planned to celebrate this special occasion, she cannot help but long for her child who sits in an orphanage across the world. Her heart will not be whole again until that little one is in her arms. She eats lunch with her family but cannot keep her eyes off the empty place at their table. Did her sweet child in China get enough to eat today? She plays with her children in the backyard and wonders if anyone played with her son today. Did anyone make him smile? Bath time comes, and she gently washes her children’s bellies, fingers, and toes. Her mind wanders to her treasure across the ocean. Is anyone nurturing and loving her baby until she arrives?

The alarm goes off the morning of Mother’s Day, and a woman immediately hits snooze. How many night terrors did her new daughter have last night? Although her adoption training taught her that attachment can take time and that her daughter might have various challenges, her new reality is overwhelming and scary. They flew home from China three months ago, and this mom is desperate for the light at the end of the tunnel. How much longer before she can sleep through the night? How many more kisses will she give before her heart feels great connection and love? Is there hope for her family to finding healing and restoration again?


I was rocking Tyson before bed the other night, and my mind drifted to his birth mom, as it does on many such occasions. What was it like for her to say goodbye? Does she know he is alive? Has God given her peace that he is loved and cherished in a family that will always protect him? How I long for her to see his new smile, to hear his silly laugh. What I would give to hug her and thank her for giving him life.


As I sat next to Tucker at preschool during his special birthday celebration, his teacher asked him, “Would you like to introduce your special guest?” Tucker looked over at me with a beautiful smile on his face. He said, “That is my mommy.” And I cried. My eyes welled up with tears, and I couldn’t stop them from falling. I get to be Tuck’s mommy, forever and ever. What an honor – what a privilege it is to be my son’s mommy.

I remember a time when I wasn’t their mom. I can recall the days, weeks, months, and years before we said yes to adoption, before we saw their pictures, and before we brought them home. I ache for every moment of their lives that I missed before I was able to first hold them in my arms. If I hurt this much, how much do my sons’ birth moms ache?

Recently, my sons’ preschool hosted an activity for Mother’s Day in which the children matched babies with their mommies. When I received the email about it, I thought about Tuck. Would that activity be a trigger for him? Would it be another situation that makes him feel different? My goal with Tucker is always connection, and if he is learning that mothers match their babies, it could create a feeling of disconnect in his heart. I asked his teacher if she would share A Mother for Choco with her class. I love how the author so sweetly shares that a mother is someone who meets her child’s needs for nurture, affection, love, playfulness, and connection. At the end of the story, Choco is “very happy that his new mommy looked just the way she did.” I’m so thankful that Tuck’s teacher did read this story to the class and that I also had the opportunity to read the book to my son, Liam’s class because a mother’s ability to love her child is not bound by their physical similarities or differences. Her love grows in her heart and only becomes stronger and deeper with time.

To the woman who lost her baby too soon…

To the woman who is watching her mother fade away…

To the woman who said goodbye to her mother already…

To the woman who receives yet another chemo treatment…

To the woman who longs for her child across the ocean…

To the mother who is struggling with the challenges of adding a new child to the family…

To the person who has two mothers, one by birth and one through adoption…

To the person who does not look like his/her mother…

I see you. I hear you. I know you are there. My heart can understand the depth and complexity of your emotions. I am with you. You are not alone on this Mother’s Day. Sometimes I think it’s the knowing that we are not alone that can bring us such comfort. Then through that comfort and connection, our hearts can begin to feel peace, which can lead to healing. No matter what your circumstance, no matter what your pain, I pray that you feel connection and comfort that leads to peace, healing, and hope this Mother’s Day.


4 responses to “On This Mother’s Day”

  1. Julie says:

    It’s the first time that I comment a blog… I’ve been and I am some of these mothers. Your text touch me direct to the heart! I received many messages for my first mother’s day with my daughter, even one from her chinese nainai but I can help thinking about her first mommy. She will never know that her daughter is now healthy and growing…

    • Amy Abell says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read it. I’m so thankful that it resonated with your life experience. We stand together in this journey!

  2. marika Reynolds says:

    I never thought about this. Praying for you to mother’s to mother a child

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