Today is a joyful day to most of us. It is a day to celebrate, a day to be celebrated, but there are so many today that Mother’s Day causes a great deal of sadness. Many mothers are mourning the loss of a beloved child, many women are longing to become what is beyond their reach. Mothers are aching for children far from home, and daughters and sons are aching for mothers gone from this world. And, today, there are many children going to bed tonight that have been forcibly removed from their mothers. In Arkansas alone, 4,800 children woke up this morning in foster care, 600 of them have been removed from their families for good.
My own daughter has memories of her bio family (She came to us at 3 years and 9 months old). We talk about bio mom and dad on a weekly basis. She has a photo album of pictures of her with her first family. She has a teddy bear that she snuggles every night that came from her first daddy. Though I only saw her bio-parents one time, though I’ve never once had a conversation with them, they are a part of our daily lives. I love them, because they are a part of our girls. A few months ago, Natalie came to me and asked “When do I get to see my bio-mom (We do call her by name, but for privacy sake, I will leave her name out) again? I had to look at my daughter and tell her that a judge has ordered us not to allow her to have contact with her mother. It broke my heart. I love my daughter, and though, I do not agree with the choices that took her mother to the point of losing her girls, I ACHE for their mother. I think regularly about the pain she must be feeling on days like today. I think of all the things she has missed and all the things she will miss. I ache, too, for my girls, who have lost more in their short lives than most adults could fathom. I have started the conversation with Natalie about why her birth mom can’t be here, but I know that Lucy, Natalie and I have a lifetime of conversations to come. It will take a lifetime to heal from the scars the loss of this precious woman has caused, and I am so thankful that I get to walk with my girls through that pain and loss. I am thankful that I have the privilege to cry with them, ache with them, and heal with them. I am thankful that I can be there when their heart is broken for the woman who should have been their everything.
Today, on Mother’s Day, I cannot help but grieve for those children who are aching for their mothers but have no one to hold them and cry with them on this “happy” day. The innocent victims of abuse and neglect and abandonment did not deserve to wake up today as dependents of the state of Arkansas. They NEED mothers and fathers to stand in the gap for them. They NEED the church to rise up and say “We CARE. We are HERE.” We hear the numbers, and we become overwhelmed. It is easy to give up hope for these sweet little ones, but the math is really and truly in our favor. Today there are 4,800 children in Arkansas in foster care, but there are 6,000 CHURCHES in our state. Can you just imagine what it would be like if one family from every church in our state fostered or adopted? We would have waiting FOSTER families, but NO waiting CHILDREN! We are in a crisis, but that crisis is easily conquerable.
Would you, on this Mother’s Day, consider being a foster or adoptive family? Would you consider turning a spare bedroom into a home for a children who has no home? Have you always longed for a child? There are so many that are today longing for a mom and dad. Are you an empty nester wondering what to do with your retirement years? There are children who would love to bring laughter and life back into your quiet halls.
My life is so much richer because of my wonderful girls. I am overwhelmed with the gift of being their mother. Will you join me in my joy?
Psalm 68:6 “God sets the lonely in families…”