I have known many very special women in my lifetime. Three in particular come to mind tonight when I think of bravery, strength and courage.
The first is my beautiful daughters’ birth Mom. She was 18 years old when she made a choice that I cannot even begin to imagine having to make. She put the child that she had given birth to only days before into the arms of strangers and somehow found the courage to believe that we would be good, kind and loving parents. She trusted us with the most precious of gifts. She gave us her daughter. Think about that for a second. I mean really think about that. Could you have done it? She handed this beautiful little creature to me and then watched as I got into my car and drove away. How she found the strength not to chase after my car screaming at the top of her lungs I will never know. In my opinion, that is the ultimate in selflessness. A descision made purely out of love. She changed the lives of so many people with that decision. Hers. Ours. Our daughters. Our daughters children someday. Everyone who will listen to my re-telling of her brave story. Whatever happens in her life or mine, she will forever be the absolute bravest woman I have ever met. She gave me the gift of motherhood. If I live to be a thousand years old, I will never be able to thank her enough for that.
The second is a friend of mine who lost her son to cancer. He was three years old when he passed away last year. He fought longer and harder than many adults could have – and he did it with bravery and courage beyond his years. But this story is not about that sweet little boy. It is about his mother who has amazed me at every step along the way. In her shoes, many of us would have sunk into an inescapeable depression. Drugs. Alcohol. Anything to numb the pain of that kind of loss. But not my friend. She has given of herself, her time, her money and tomorrow – her hair. Tomorrow, she is shaving her head to raise money and awareness for all children going through this terrible disease. In hope of finding the cure that will come to late for her sweet boy. She is, quite simply… amazing in her strength. She might not know this, but her story gives me courage every day. If she can survive the loss of a child, then I can certainly make it through anything life can throw at me. All of my sad stories seem pretty lame compared to that. She is a hero, a champion of mothers everwhere.
The third I met just this week. A teacher at our daughters school. I found out recently that she is a birth Mom. She came over for dinner tonight and shared her amazing story with us. She listened as I told her our adoption journey story, and we enjoyed discovering that – as two opposite sides of adoption – we shared many of the same feelings of fear and self-doubt. We both felt sad and happy at the same time. She validated a lot of the fears that I am struggling with right now and talking with her was wonderful and needed. Towards the end of the evening she kept saying how she wasn’t sure she could have the courage be an adoptive Mom. How brave she thought adoptive moms are. How brave I was. Me? Seriously? I am not brave. Or strong. I am terrified. I am hanging on by a thread. For her to say that she thought my side of the adoption story is the tougher one… I dont even know what to say to that. I am in awe of women like her, women who can give the gift of family to someone else. Amazing.
A lot of birth Moms do what they do without the love and support family. A lot of them do it completely alone. All of them do it out of pure love and the desire to do the best for their child. Many people I have come across in the last few years seem to think that women “give up” their children because they are not able to parent them properly, or because they don’t want the responsibility. I say that they are doing the very best parenting that can be done… that is the selfless act of doing what is in their child’s best interests and ignoring the pain that sometimes comes with that choice. I say they are all heroes.