Mother’s Day MASH
I’m sitting in the back of the van with my best friend from church, Elizabeth. We’re on our way down to Appalachia to work on houses for the week. It’s a long drive and we’re only two hours in with another five to go. Elizabeth pulls out a pencil and paper then lifts an eyebrow. “You in?”
How I loved the game of MASH! Do you remember it? With a few swirls on the paper you could know your fortune. Would you live in a Mansion, an Apartment, a Shack, or a House? Who would you marry? Tennessee, the cutest boy from church, Seward, Andy, or Christian Slater? What would your job be? Actress, president, writer or teacher? How many children would you have?
This past Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day. My husband and son got up early to purchase the most beautiful bouquet for me. My son carefully wrote “Mommy” on an envelope then presented his card to me via a bulldozer. We celebrated the afternoon with my own mother at a lovely dinner. All around us at the restaurant sat families celebrating moms young and old. Grandmothers, mothers of toddlers, great-grandmothers, mothers of teenagers, and even some pregnant “mothers-to-be.”
Watching so many mothers in that restaurant I couldn’t help but think of those of us who build our families through adoption. For a woman with a six-month pregnant belly, that she is expecting a child is obvious to most. But for an adoptive parent who to tell and when to tell is a difficult decision. Some people choose not to say anything until a match is confirmed. Some choose to shout it from the mountaintop. Some choose to wait until the child is placed firmly in their arms and all court papers are signed. Some announce their decision even before selecting an adoption agency. We all have our reasons – fear of acceptance, fear of rejection, fear of ongoing questions, fear of not enough questions. It’s a major life event – one of the four categories of MASH! – and yet it’s a path that so many adoptive parents walk alone.
For me and my husband, on our first adoption, we told everyone. Friends and family knew when we finished our Home Study, when we submitted our dossier to China, and that incredible day when we were matched with our son. But as we prepare for a second adoption, I’m not sure what we will do. It’s not that I don’t want to share our exciting news, but with all adoptions there can be uncertainties. Timelines can vary immensely. “Sure things” may change in an instant. And I have my son to consider.
As I sat in that restaurant I wished for the umpteenth time that adoptive parents had some sort of sign we could use to identify one another. Like our own secret gesture. I would flash it whenever I could. It would say “Whether you will become a mom in three months, six months, a year, or two years you are on this journey and you are not alone.” And then I would say aloud the best words any mother-to-be can hear “Happy Mother’s Day.”
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