Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Plan B Family

My most influential spiritual teachers have been, without a doubt, my children. I have three adopted children and two foster children. All my children, for various reasons, did not end up with their birth families. Being raised by your birth parents is what I would call Plan A. When that doesn’t work, then you have to go to Plan B. I am a Plan B parent.

People say to me, Oh, what a wonderful thing you have done for these children. They have no idea how selfish I am. My children have been God’s greatest gift to me. Each one has given me a gift like no other. On Mother’s Day I wrote a letter thanking each one. What I said to each child is private, but I will share the gifts.

James gave me the gift of motherhood. The night before I got James I kept thinking, This will be the last night of my life that I am not a mother. The next day I would become a mother and I would be a mother for the rest of my life. Being a mother opened my heart.

Mia gave me the gift of connection. Before her arrival, I lived a very isolated life. But Mia never met a stranger. A trip to the grocery store became a social event. Through her, I became connected to the world around me.

Dan gave me the gift of acceptance. Dan joined our family as a 14 year old autistic teenager. I had to accept him just the way he was. Because of Dan, I learned to accept James’s autism as well. And to accept other people, too, just as they are.

Grace gave me the gift of ... grace. Grace is God’s invitation to us to experience His unconditional love. To receive God’s gift of grace, we must have faith. Faith that God loves us even when others don’t or when we can’t love ourselves. Faith that God’s angels hold us in the light when all we see is darkness. Grace taught me to trust God.

Lily gave me the gift of peace. Her presence radiates serenity and calms the air she moves through. Because she is my last child, my heart feels full and complete. Through Lily, I have learned to rest in God.

I ended the letter with these words. God has blessed me beyond heaven by entrusting the five of you to my care. All of us have come to this family from other families. This is a family God made. We are together because He brought us together to love one another. As He has blessed me, I bless all of you. Thank you for the honor of being your mother.

I thank God for my Plan B family.


  1. I love this! I actually cried when I read this. I remember each child coming into the family, except for James. James is the reason why I am so connected to you and your family. I love each of you as my own, and you are truly a wonderful mother! I love how you captured each child's gift to you. From the view of a daughter(and an adopted one at that), you are a blessing of mother. I think Plan B parents are God's gift to all the children out there without true families.

  2. Thank you for your lovely comment.

  3. What a beautiful post. I am an adoptive mom and identify with your comment about being "selfish." It feels so strange when people compliment me for adopting, as if I'm the one who sacrificed anything! I'm the one who is eternally grateful for my son, his birth and foster families, his country of origin, all of that. Anyhow, thank you.

  4. Thank you for your comment, Pam, and blessings on your Plan B family!

  5. I'm from a Plan B family, too. I was blessed by my adoptive parents but always so grateful to the mother who chose to give me life and then make the difficult selfless choice to give me up. What a wonderful gift to share your heart with your kids!

  6. Yes, it is important to remember the birth families, too. Thank you for acknowledging that. I always say a prayer on Mother's Day for all the birth mothers of my kids. Especially for Dan's mother who died. Meeting her before she died and promising to care for her son was one of the most profound experiences of my life.

  7. Wonderful. I'm sorry I don't have anything more profound to say, but--wonderful!


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