I have grown so much in my understanding of birthmothers since then that I feel ashamed some times to think about my prior ignorance. Today, I recognize them as special individuals and respect them for what they’re doing for their child. My heart also goes out to birthmoms who are often misunderstood and devalued. There is nothing that quite gets the Hulk in me fired up when I hear negative comments about birthmoms.
For me, I just didn’t know about birthmoms. I was ignorant. I lacked any awareness about birthmoms. I was clueless. And many of the opinions that Craig and I hear weekly demonstrate the same ignorance I was under.
Remember Moses? He was a pretty important person in the Old Testament and known for his experience with God at the burning bush, leading the Israelites from captivity, parting the Red Sea, and receiving the Ten Commandments, to name a few. He was also adopted. I wonder if anyone ever said these things about Moses’s birthmom:
- She must not love her baby.
- I could never give up my baby like her.
- She shouldn’t have a choice in who cares for the baby.
- She doesn’t deserve contact with the baby after he’s adopted.
For many, the story of Moses and the Nile River may be a familiar one. In Exodus 2, Moses’s mom placed him in a basket and left him at the edge of the river. The Pharaoh’s daughter found him and adopted him as her son. Viewing Exodus 2 from the perspective of the birthmom though changes this familiar story for me.
- Moses’s mom loved her son. Loved him. Exodus 2:2 says, “She saw that there was something special about him.” I can just picture her looking at his sweet face while she held him thinking this. This love didn’t start after she saw him. I imagine it would be challenging to ignore the kicking, hiccupping human being inside. No, I don’t think that there’s any denying that Moses’s mom felt a special bond with him as he grew in her belly. I believe that other expectant moms, including those considering adoption, would agree that a special, loving bond forms with the baby growing in their bellies.
- Along with her love for Moses, his mom must have been filled with fear because the Pharaoh had ordered that all baby boys be drowned in the Nile. Moses’s mom did not give up her baby; she chose life for him. She chose to place him up for adoption and made this difficult decision because otherwise his wellbeing was threatened. Just like with Moses’s mom, we cannot begin to understand what a birthmom’s life is like. And I mean that, we truly cannot understand what it is like. Just in the little I’ve personally learned about birthmoms in our adoption journey, I cannot imagine their worlds, but I do respect them for choosing life.
- The Pharaoh’s daughter raised Moses. The Bible doesn’t tell us that Moses’s mom chose her, but it paints the picture that she meant for the Pharaoh’s daughter to find him where she would normally bathe (v 5). With the Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses would receive the best care possible. What good mother wouldn’t want the best for her little one? When a birthmom looks at profiles of waiting adoptive families, she is looking for the very best for her baby because she is unable to provide it due to her life circumstances.
- What’s special about Moses’s adoption is that his mom was able to continue to be near him. She was even able to breastfeed Moses (v 8). She was able to watch him grow and make sure he was loved, and this is so important to a birthmom. And one day I hope I am able to demonstrate this to the woman who entrusted us with the special gift of a child.
Do you see where I’m going with this? I hope it’s clear:
- A birthmother loves her baby.
- A birthmother makes the difficult choice to place her baby up for adoption.
- A birthmother wants the best for her baby.
- A birthmother deserves to know her baby is loved.
I will never truly understand a birthmom’s life. What I can do is respect and honor her for choosing to give her baby life. I can demonstrate this in how I speak about her, how I share the adoption story, how I keep my promises to her, and how I love the gift she entrusted me with, a child. For without her, Craig and I would not be parents.