Being a birth parent is a misunderstood and undervalued position. In a society that doesn’t value life in the womb, these people make selfless decisions.
Birth Mothers & The Beauty that is “Welcome”
Last week we officially began the “Welcome Home” series! Each week we will celebrate the welcome that is adoption, foster, and orphan care ministry. This beautiful welcome looks different for each child and each family. Some welcomes are temporary, some are forever. Some result in family, some are only a chance to make a passing impact. All are beautiful.
Today I have the privilege of sharing a tribute that a friend of mine from college wrote. I have watched, through social media, as her family has grown and developed. She and her husband love their boys fiercely but their love doesn’t stop with the boys. I have learned a tremendous amount seeing the testimony of Mark and Ashley’s lives and I know you will too!
Whether you are considering adoption, have been adopted, have adopted in the past, or are a birth parent to adopted children, I hope this tribute is balm for your soul and an opportunity to give voice to something which is often misunderstood. Most of us who have not yet adopted can’t understand the relationships that form between birth parents and adoptive families. I trust this will give you insight!
For those new to adoptive lingo Mark and Ashley adopted their children from the United States as infants. This is different in many ways than adopting internationally or out of the foster care system. Mark and Ashley were chosen by the biological mothers of their boys to parent these two beautiful children.
In a society that thinks of pregnancy as expendable and inconvenient, the choice these women made to love the babies they held in their wombs and make a plan for them is beautiful. Mark and Ashley have a wonderful perspective on it!
A Tribute to Our Birth Mothers
If you had asked Mark and I eight years ago what our thoughts were on what our family would look like we would have told you we wanted four or five kids and that we definitely wanted to adopt at some point. Although we said that I don’t think we had really put a ton of thought into what that would look like for us or if we had a “plan”. And because of that we did not fathom then the impact that a birth mother and birth family would have on us.
Two years into our marriage, as we struggled to conceive, we faced decisions on what becoming parents would look like for us. Although I struggled with feeling like I was missing out on the specialness of a pregnancy we knew that God had placed adoption in our hearts early on for a reason.
We jumped into our first adoption journey in September 2012 and I think our two biggest fears were the financial aspect (which God answered in huge ways) and fear of what a birth mother and family would look like in our life. Why was she choosing adoption? Would she want to come to all of our family events? Would she want to be called mom too? And would our kids grow up and want to be part of their birth family and not ours? I think these are questions most potential adoptive families have to wrestle with and come to terms with what they want their relationship to be like, as well as hand over their fears for the future to God. I’m so glad that God authors our stories because I do not like being in uncomfortable situations and if I had let fear lead decisions in our adoptions we would have missed out on some amazing opportunities with our birth mothers.
On February 22, 2013 our son Max Canaan was born. It was also the day we would first meet and speak to his birth mother, Krystal. It was about 7pm when we walked into the hospital that night. We were both terrified about meeting her.
When we walked into the room that night Krystal immediately handed Max to me and wanted me to hold him. The next four or five hours were really special to us as we spent that time taking pictures with Max and listening to Krystal share about how she had come to the decision to place Max with us. She also shared a lot about her family, her pregnancy cravings, and how she had become pregnant. She shared that her biggest reason for placing Max was that she wanted him to have a mom AND a dad; especially a good dad!
What a gift we were given that night as she handed us our first son and my skewed views of a birth mother were wiped away. We met a real person that night with real pain, a person who had made some really hard decisions. And while we were celebrating one of the best nights of our life we still cried with her because we knew it would forever be one of her hardest nights she has to face.
In September 2014 we were matched with our second son Eli James. We knew immediately that we wanted as much of a relationship with his birth mother as we could. Because we had about 6 months until she would deliver we had the chance to get to know her for a while before he was born. We started by talking on the phone with her and then eventually we started sending letters and cards. She was able to send us ultrasound pictures and pictures of his biological siblings.
In December I was given the chance to fly down to Florida to see Felicia for two days and go to an ultrasound with her. I had never flown alone and was really nervous but I knew this would be so important in our relationship. I wanted to be able to share as much about the pregnancy and his birth mom as I could with him later. It was amazing to actually see Felicia pregnant and to feel Eli kick. I also got to hear from Felicia her story of how she became pregnant and how she came to her decision to place Eli. Felicia had gone through a lot of hard things and was continuing to face a lot of hard things.
This trip ended up being even more special because we didn’t get to see her at all when Eli was actually born. I’m so glad I had the chance to go and didn’t let the fear of the unknown keep me from making those memories.
Meeting our two birth mothers has opened my eyes to a lot of things. The biggest thing I have learned is that we didn’t only open our hearts and home to new babies but also to their birth families. We had prayed that we could bring children home and fill our arms but also that, as their parents, we could help point them toward God and accepting the gift of salvation. Now we are praying that for our birth mothers and their families because we genuinely love them.
My fear of them coming “too close” to us has changed to our prayer that our relationships could get closer. Our boys look just like their birth moms and it’s a daily reminder when I look at their faces of how great a gift we were given by these women. We gave birth to our third son this past June! After getting to experience how incredible it was to feel him grow inside of me, it gave me a whole new viewpoint concerning what Krystal and Felicia went through. I still have a hard time fathoming that they carried Max and Eli for nine months and then trusted us with loving them as well as they did. Birth moms deserve much more respect and gratitude than they are often given credit for.
For another inspiring story in the Welcome Home series, check out Welcome Home: #1Less Orphan in Ghana, Africa