If the court removes your children from your care and terminates you parental rights against your will, are you still a mother? If you were doing the best job with what you had, and what you knew, and loved your kids, but society decided it wasn't enough, are you still a mother?
Today as I stayed in bed a little later than usual, overhearing my happy family preparing breakfast for me to enjoy in bed, talking about what they would write in the cards to say how great a mom they think I am, I thought about the other mothers of all the children I have loved.
Of course I think about Small Sun's first mom often. He came to us through an agency domestic adoption and we have an ongoing relationship with his mom. Today I thought about meeting her for the first time, and him coming into out lives.
Thinking about the mothers of our foster kids is very different to me. Making a decision to place a child for adoption, choosing the family yourself, and setting the terms of ongoing contact is a very different dynamic than having outside authorities enter your house and tell you your mothering is unacceptable. Both situations might lead to a child being adopted, but there are such very different complexities.
Imagine the state takes your children. You fight hard to get them back. You do what you know how to do. You plead, you beg, you appeal, but in the end the answer is "you are not a good enough mother." Your children are gone forever.
What is Mother's Day for you then? Are you still a mother when your children have been taken?
This Mother's Day I hold my children close. I love them dearly and they love me. I think about the other children I love, who do not live under my roof. I pray for their mothers, who will always be mothers whether their children are with them or not.