I’ve never seen you.
I don’t know you.
I will probably never even know your name.
But this week, as I celebrated Mother’s Day — a day set aside to honor those of us whose arms are full and whose lives are fuller with moments and messes from children who grew in bellies and those who grew above them in hearts — my heart just couldn’t stop thinking about YOU.
Superman’s first mother.
Because as I held your precious boy — the one who crawled into my sleeping bag as we lay in a tent under the stars and cupped my face and told me he could never get enough mama snuggles — I looked into his eyes, and I saw yours.
I caught a glimpse of his infectious, dimple-filled smile, and I experienced what must be a piece of your contagious joy.
I looked into his soul, and I saw what had to be this gift of loving well that he must have gotten from you.
This Mother’s Day, as I looked at the boy who is now OUR son, I saw YOU.
And all day long, sweet mama, I just thought of you. Prayed for you. Longed more than anything for you to be able to see this boy who has grown from a tentative toddler into a charismatic little man.
Who has braved 14 casts and 10 surgeries and learned how to use new body parts that doctors have shaped and revised along the way.
Whose default is sheer joy and whose belly roars create a domino effect so that our home is now filled with constant love and laughter initiated by a 5-year-old firecracker who was born half a world away to a woman who loved him enough to risk her own life to give him one better.
I’ll never know the circumstances that led you to leave this sweet boy we now call “son.”
Was it a lack of healthcare to provide for this boy who needed life-saving surgery within the first three days of birth?
Was it a lack of resources in a country where healthcare is not a guarantee?
Was it a national policy, a lack of family support, a cultural stigma or just a desire for a better life — one that, for one reason or another, you didn’t feel you could offer to this boy whose special needs have developed into superpowers in disguise?
I may never know your story, but I’ll always know how much you cared.
Because you intentionally placed this little bundle of joy not in a place where he would be truly abandoned, but, at risk to yourself, in a hospital corridor where you were sure he would be FOUND.
And in placing this baby outside those massive surgery doors, you made a choice that for years, as I fell more and more in love with Superman, I really struggled to understand.
Because I couldn’t fathom how a mama could leave her child.
How a mama could say goodbye.
How a mama could place her angel anywhere but in the arms of another family and trust that her baby would indeed have a better life.
Especially a child as special and wonderful and amazing as Superman.
But as I’ve lived … as I’ve learned … as I’ve loved one of the most incredible children on the face of this planet … I’ve seen a glimpse of YOUR heart in the incredibly compassionate heart of your boy.
And what I struggled for years to view as selfishness, I now see as sacrifice.
There is no love greater than the one that relinquishes it all for another.
I’m just so sorry we entered the picture too late.
Instead of adopting your son, I wish we could have provided healthcare.
Instead of making him OURS, I wish we could have done whatever you needed to help YOU keep him YOURS.
Although it is the joy of our lives to love on HIM, we wish with all our hearts we could give him the opportunity to love on YOU.
If there is any gift I could give the boy who today we call “ours,” it would be YOU.
It would be you.
So while we fight for these beautiful superheroes whose mamas left them in hopes of better lives, we promise to honor you.
By loving your boy madly.
By never taking for granted the privilege of being Mom and Dad.
And to simultaneously run to the little Supermans of the world … provide those dreamed-of better lives … reclaim their hope … dust off their dreams … make them once again sons and daughters.
THAT is my Mother’s Day prayer for you.
The Woman Who Gets the Privilege and Honor of Raising Your Son
In honor of Mother's Day, would you consider making a donation to either Love Without Boundaries or the Morning Star Foundation, organizations that provide both orphan care AND surgeries for families who cannot afford them? In this way, we can fight for first families and help prevent the orphan crisis before it even begins.