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Guest: Thanking my son’s other mother on Mother’s Day
On Mother’s Day, I will celebrate the other mother who made this day possible for my family, writes guest columnist Christina Darden Hjort.
Special to The Times
SUNDAY is my first Mother’s Day — officially.
But honestly, every day has been Mother’s Day since November 12.
That’s the day our son came into the world.
My husband and I had been in San Francisco visiting friends when the call came.
Despite waiting four years for a domestic adoption, we were hardly prepared for the news on the other line:
“Get to Boise, now! Your son is being born today!”
Years of hoping, waiting, praying, wondering if this moment would ever happen, were forgotten in the second I held Samuel in my arms.
And since that day, my gratitude and wonder at this incredible gift have only grown.
Each morning, my joy is rekindled when Samuel greets me with his big dimpled smile. And when he falls asleep in my arms at night, his face pressed tightly to my chest, my heart swells with thankfulness.
So, yes, this Mother’s Day will be a sweet celebration.
But it’s been a long time in coming, and not without some scars.
Miscarriages, failed pregnancies and false starts left my husband and I weary. But so, too, did the tumultuous and often disappointing journey through adoption, as I chronicled in a Seattle Times guest column last year, “Happy Mother’s Day, Jenna.”
Still, my hope is that it has left me a bit more sensitive toward others for whom this particular day is salt in an already open wound. Although I’ll be delighted to finally call myself “Mommy,” I am acutely aware that somewhere in Idaho is a young woman I fear will be hurting Sunday — reminded once again of all the “might have beens” and aching for the beautiful boy I hold in my arms and now call my own.
Separated from her father by prison, and her mother by drugs, it seems Britt didn’t get a very fair shot in life. So when she found herself pregnant at 18, she was faced with a difficult decision. In the end, she made what I consider to be the bravest and most selfless of choices: She chose for her son — our son — a different life than the one she’d known, one with parents to bathe him with kisses, comfort him up when he falls, surround him with love and encouragement, and just simply be there, forever.
These days, most adoptions are varying degrees of an open relationship between the biological mom and the adoptive parents. But while Britt chose us to adopt her child, she elected not to meet us, talk to us by phone or even hold her child after he was born. It was her way of coping.
And who am I to judge? She did the best she could to deal with the situation, having little support and no mother of her own to comfort or hold her.
I think about her often. I wonder how she is, and if she thinks much about Samuel.
I hope she’s at peace with her decision, and feels content in knowing he is not just cared for, but treasured. Not just growing, but thriving. Not just loved, but absolutely adored.
I am so very grateful.
Life without this happy, sweet child seems impossible to imagine. But I also know he came to us at a high cost. Because our greatest gain was her greatest loss.
I will never forget that, and it’s what I will tell Samuel when he is old enough to understand.
How the selfless act of this young woman I didn’t know, made us all the family we always longed to be.
There is truth in the saying that mothers are made, not born.
But every time I look at this precious boy Sunday, I will also be celebrating the other mother who made Mother’s Day possible for my family.
Thank you Britt.
Thank you for your sacrifice.
Thank you for the beautiful child now sleeping soundly beside me.
And thank you for making Sunday, and every day, Mother’s Day.
Christina Darden Hjort is an award-winning TV and radio producer, now living in Seattle.