We don’t have any pictures of our boys’ birthmothers.
I am sad about this for my boys. They have asked about pictures, a little, and I think it will be more important to them later, as they grow up and think more about what adoption really means. Perhaps when they are first asked to make a family tree, or write an autobiography.
Each birthmother made the choice not to give us a picture. And so even though I would have liked those pictures for my boys, I wouldn’t change what is. They had their reasons, I am certain. And from women who were already giving us everything — their children, their hopes, their trust – to insist on more would have seemed cruel.
Mother’s Day is an obvious one, but I think of them often, our birthmothers. It has been some years now, and the faces I thought were seared into my brain are fading. We met them each for just a few minutes, all of us with fear and hope and adrenaline surging through our blood, and what I remember now are flashes and impressions. Long black hair. Shy brown eyes.
I try, when they ask me, to make word pictures of their first mothers. I tell them how they looked, and I tell them what they said, the best I can remember. Mostly, though, I tell them how they were; the things I will never forget.
She was strong.
She was kind.
She was generous.
She loved you so, so much.
She was afraid, but she was brave.
If I could, I would tell this to the mothers who gave me my children: We remember your names. We remember you. You are honored in this house. I hope, this Mother’s Day, that you are well. And I hope that alongside the bitter, there is sweet.
2 thoughts on “Empty Frames”
Carol, This is perfect.
Thanks so much for sharing.
Oh Carol this is so on point for me it hits me this day and also on his birthday really ty for putting this into words you are so gifted. I am glad you touch my life.