To Birthmothers on Mothers’ Day

by Rod Smith

(To my second son’s Birthmother on Mothers’ Day 2003)

You are mother......

On a weekend like this, with Mother’s Day getting a lot of attention, birthmothers who willingly or unwillingly placed a child for adoption might feel they have somehow disqualified themselves from the honor of celebrating Mother’s Day. Not so in my book.

There’s a woman somewhere in Indiana, whom I do not know, who has immeasurably blessed my life with the gift of her son. And now, the infant, bulging with good health in his dark blue sleepers, is asleep in a crib in a quietly lit upstairs bedroom.

Thanks, Birthmother. Your gift to me, I know so painfully offered by you, has vastly enhanced my life and life of the baby’s older brother.

You do not know him as he is now, but of course, he is very real to me. I know his sounds that announce when he is hungry, and I know when the dog has entered his room by the unashamed thrill in the child’s voice.

I know he is real to you, too, for you carried him within your womb. Now, and I am only guessing of course, he is probably real to you in the manner the baby of a distant relative might be to me. I know the child exists, but I do not have the smells and the sounds that make him a person. I hope it is something like that for you. I hope you are not daily in pain over your decision to give him to me. I want you to know he is safe, and, although I do not know you, I hope you are, too.

You are “mother,” and even though the boy is very young, I regularly tell him everything I know about you. I tell him that you carried him to full term; that you spent hours at his bedside in the hospital before you signed the papers consenting to his adoption.

A nurse, who would not describe you to me or tell me your name or estimate your age, leaked that she watched you sit lovingly with your son for several hours while he was in intensive care. She said your love and your anguish were very evident. She told me she watched you place a final kiss lovingly and gently on his brow, as if to say goodbye for years, but not forever. She said she watched you turn for the large glass double doors of the hospital ward and walk away to your hard life.

We do not know each other, but we do have something in common. I have your child. He is here. He is growing up under my roof. You completed all the paperwork, and now he has my last name and the first name I chose for him because no other name would fit.

I want you to know that he stands up by himself now. He walks holding onto things. He likes to play, and his favorite game is crawling away as quickly as his little legs will carry his little body when he sees me coming to do one of those repetitive parental tasks like change a diaper or wipe a nose.

Thanks for trusting me with your son. Thanks for believing a single man could do it. On this particular weekend, his first Mother’s Day, and on a day when his image and memory must surely visit you more than it does most days of the year, I want you to know the baby is safe with me. He is deeply and profoundly loved and widely celebrated.

Your gift to me is of immeasurable worth, and the world is better off because of women like you. Thanks, Mom. You are his mother. He carries you around in his being as indelibly as the memory you doubtless have of carrying him within you for nine months. You have richly blessed me, and I am very proud to be the parent of your beautiful son.

First published in The Indianapolis Star, 2003

2 Comments to “To Birthmothers on Mothers’ Day”

  1. Beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing that.
    Melissa

    • Awesome Rod, and I have another nephew:)
      Love the photo, can you send me it ..
      Enjoy Oz, I second your comment… our brother truly is generous:)
      Love Jen

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