Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Meeting "birth" mom

This day is one that I want to remember well. Not for my benefit, but for our children when they will ask me about their first mother. The term "birth" mom is really not accurate since "H" has cared for her children up until last January when circumstances forced her to make the hardest decision imaginable. I know she loves these children dearly and didn't just give birth to them. Thus the name "first mother".

In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast at our hotel and then headed for a quick swim (see the Swimming Pool post for details). After that wonderful experience, we got into a van with Ken, Michelle, Ryan and Kristen and all of our children (6 children between the ages of 3 and 6). Our first stop was the Kwahu foster home where the other families met their children's first mothers but "H" was not there. I was sad because I was worried we would not get to meet her and she wouldn't have that opportunity to meet us.

We went on a short ride to the site of the new orphanage that our children would live in until our adoption is finalized. It was absolutely peaceful and beautiful there. I was so impressed by all  the work that has happened there. It will be a refuge for so many children for years to come.

Once we returned to the current foster home, I saw Eric go inside and I stayed outside with our daughter "A". He came outside to tell me our first mom "H" was here! My heart began to race as I tried to gather my thoughts and clear my mind. I went from disappointed to excited in a nanosecond and I wanted to remember every single detail.

As we embraced, our girl climbed from my arms to "H"s back (in a true Ghanaian style) and began to play with the zipper in the back of her mothers dress. Since "H" didn't speak English, we smiled and embraced each other for a moment and found someone to translate. We learned a few key things we wanted to know. We learned about our daughters name and tried to remember all the details. As we were together, I wanted to be sure that this meeting was not for ME or about ME. This was for our children as they are old enough to hopefully recall this day. They were able to see their mothers and father all together in a loving setting. I don't know what I expected, but this was not at all the way I anticipated the meeting to go. I have such respect for "H" as she is a woman with such grace and kindness.

Someone had music playing outside the foster home and our son rushed over there to show off his awesome dance moves. An impromptu dance party ensued and I joined holding "A". As I was making a fool of myself (after all, my white girl moves are pretty bad next to Ghanaian dance moves), I saw "H" looking from the side with the biggest grin on her face. Not sure what she thought of us or our dance moves, but I glanced back and smiled. Adoption is messy, sad, hard in so many ways. I am glad our children will have this day when their mothers were together and they were able to show affection to both.

Eric at the hotel with "A" and "K"


  1. What an amazing experience. I cannot imagine the emotion of it all!

  2. Good for you for sharing this. I've thought many times about writing about our first mother experience (we call her that too!!!), but it was not as peaceful as yours, and although the boys did not know what all was said (as they really showed no interested in their first mom or the conversation), I am just really torn on whether to record it on paper or not.

    Ashley (for some reason it won't let me sign into Google this morning!)

  3. Ashley, not sure if you read this but I will send you an email as well. I wrote my experience down a long time ago and kept it private while pondering the same thing. I have read about other people's experiences and it was helpful in preparing for that meeting. I feel that all of this is information our children will want to know and if done with sensitivity, it can be made public on a blog.I think what is different in Ghana is that our first mom can visit the children and she does so all the time.Therefore it wasn't awkward for the kids to see her and then see us at the same time.