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Mother's Day: What About Mothers Who Placed Their Baby for Adoption?

mother's day, flowers, love

This Sunday, May 13th is Mother's day, an important day set aside to celebrate mothers. One of the ways we will celebrate here in America is through gifts. As a country we will spend upward of 21 million dollars to honor mothers, surpassing the spending of Valentine's day by over 2 million. This is only one small evidence of our priorities on mothers in our culture, and it is a good priority! We should celebrate mothers and all of their vital contribution to nurturing life and family, but what about those mothers who chose adoption as the best way to nurture the life within them? How do we support them as a society and more specifically, how does the Church support them?

Between one and five million Americans have been adopted, reflecting a similar number of birth mothers. We need to consider how to not only give honor to their role and sacrifice but seek to recognize them and their contribution to the nurturing growth of society's families.

Eight years ago I became one of those statistics — a birth mother of a child given for adoption. Consequently, Mother's day is hard, even all these years later. I loved my child and chose to give her what I believed was a better life than I could have ever given her but still this does not prevent me from grieving my loss. I believe that mine is not a unique feeling but to be true of mother's who have given their child to be parented by another family.

In my experience, I have found that most birth mothers are silent about their choice of adoption and had not realized how much long term pain was involved with their choice. In many ways it would be easy for me to to choose to be silent also, but I will not because I believe it is important for everyone, who is not a birth mother, to understand the mental and emotional pain involved in giving your child to someone else.

Because Mother's day is on Sunday, churches across the country set aside important time during their services to give honor to mothers who raise children. Many birth mothers like me will choose to miss church on this day because it is too painful a reminder.

What this means is that between one and five million women who need the church's love and support are potentially missed or missing. In our evangelical culture, with a core value of family values and life, we need not omit this celebration but instead create room for both mothers who are or have raised a family as well as those who chose to enable other women to become mothers by their choice of adoption for their children.

Luke 10:25-37, is the passage of the Good Samaritan. This parable is filled with amazing analogies and principles to be garnered, but one reoccurring theme/lesson that we are able to see, it that when someone is hurt and suffering, we cannot be like the Levite or Priest and walk by quickly without engaging another messy issue. Birth mothers pain cannot be dismissed, justified or walked around, we need to walk toward them and be a part of their validation and overall healing.

I believe with voices like mine giving attention to the sacrifice of adoption unique to birth mothers, places like the Church will begin to recognize and set aside a place of honor and care but right now we are not. This must not continue. I would ask that you would help me and other birth mothers by working to add our voice to the narrative of adoption and honoring mothers. It could be as simple as giving appreciation on social media or at church on Mother's Day by publicly acknowledging and thanking to birth mothers and encouraging others to love and support them.

This acknowledgment of birth mothers is only a basic but much needed first step to making the deeply needed change I perceive as a birth mother — to further show the love of Jesus Christ and His Church to a needy world.

Kelsey Tormey is a graduate student at Denver Seminary pursuing a degree in Justice and Mission. She is passionate about making sure that everyone feels the love of Jesus Christ through advocacy and mental health care.

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