rachel weeping

Thursday, May 8, 2014

rachelThis week finds me once again in the bittersweet portion of my year. I’m a birthday week celebrator, and the fact that my birthday falls so close to Mother’s Day just doubles the fun. Plus, gifts! But five years ago, the week I turned thirty, we welcomed two little hurt and scared children into our home for the first time. Every night for a full week, it would take us three full hours to put them to bed, most of it spent sitting on the floor beside that sweet little girl’s side of the bed because she was too scared of me to be comforted and too traumatized by her situation to be touched. Once we crawled with exhaustion out of the rooms, then I would weep until I could fall asleep. I stopped eating, started praying during every moment of the day, and wondered if we had made the right choice. My birthday and the accompanying Mother’s Day celebrations haven’t been the same since.

That was the first year I parented children who were not my own on Mother’s Day. The first year that I was the one who accepted their handmade cards and gifts because their own mama couldn’t receive them herself. There’s only been one year since when I called all the children in my home my own on Mother’s Day, and even then, they are someone else’s children still even as sure as they are mine.

Last week, we learned that the county will be filing for permanent custody of Sweet M. A nice sounding phrase that denies the truth of a child being ripped from their birth parents forever. A permanent severing of a relationship. I am relieved the case is moving forward because children, even babies, deserve answers and permanency for their lives. I am devastated for this mama and her broken family. This year, for the first time since her oldest child was born, she will be spending Mother’s Day completely alone. This sweet baby will spend her Mother’s Day with me. I’m the one who will wake up to her smiles and snuggle her to sleep.

This week, as I packaged up the handmade cards and gifts to send to Brenden and Raniah’s first mama, the grief settled in my stomach again. She knows them in a way that I never will, and I know them in a way that she never will again. We are both the mamas of the same children, and it bonds us irrevocably to one another for the rest of our lives. Loving another woman’s children is a strange and heavy burden to bear in the middle of the joyful delight of seeing them grow up in my own family.

We often hear on Mother’s Day about children who did not get to be with their mamas, but fewer people want to talk about the mamas who do not get to be with their children. So this week, as children all over celebrate their mamas, I will be grieving with the mamas who do not get that pleasure. The ones separated by death, by illness, by prison, by addictions, by poverty and difficult choices. Those forgotten women are never far from my heart this week. I grieve with and for them, and I celebrate every one for being the bearers of life. I pray they are surrounded by support, even knowing that most of them aren’t. I pray they are forgiven, even knowing that most can’t begin to forgive themselves. I pray they are comforted, even knowing that comfort is often too far away to comprehend.

This is what the LORD says: “A cry is heard in Ramah—deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted—for her children are gone.”
Jeremiah 31:15

 

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