I just celebrated my first Mother’s Day this past weekend. At the age of 38 it feels late but as I understand it isn’t as odd these days. One would think motherhood has been something I have been trying for forever but it isn’t, I’m a late bloomer! I have, however, waited a couple of years for this but didn’t know just how much until this past January.
My husband and I were matched with Nathalia in October ’09 and traveling to Haiti in February 2010 to sign the first Haitian documents for our adoption process. We expected to be a family by the summer of 2010.
On January 12th we received a text message asking if everything was ok, “earthquake in Haiti”. I cannot describe what went on in my heart, the denial of the magnitude of things was quickly washed away the first time I turned on CNN. From that moment on life was encompassed with fear, hurt, hope, angst and endless prayer.
The first weekend after the devastating quake I was without hope that we would be among the families assisted by the government. I realized we were missing a document we needed, and those who should have helped us would not be. I was broken, more than I have ever been in my life. Nancy, a friend with children in Haiti and I were both caught in the paperwork trap and afraid. Through tears I told Nancy that I now knew, more than ever, I wanted to be a mom. The fear about wondering if I would ever be “good enough” was quickly replaced with the fear it might not happen.
After a sixteen-day struggle, on January 28th we received an email confirming that our daughter would be flown out of Haiti. The children at our orphanage had been living outside for more than a week; they were out of the specific formula that Nathalia needed, and low on all other basic needs to survive. Rachoul our orphanage director had fought to help our family while caring for the children, nannies and her family.
On the 30th we were in Ottawa to watch the plane land. A gracious woman handed my husband and I our daughter, and she was in our arms for the first time. It was so surreal I couldn’t even cry, I clung to every moment. My friend Nancy was there, our girls came home to us on the same flight. At the end of the day we sat beside each other and just breathed our miracles in.
3 months later, this past Sunday I went to church and stood with the other Mother’s for the first time. I knew I had the right to be standing. But I cannot deny that there is much turmoil as I stand, my mind is in Haiti. I think of the children who lost Mother’s on January 12th, of the Mother’s who lost children. I think of the children who are now being born- harmed or hurting as they are without homes, shelter, food and protection.
My mind wanders to the Mother’s who cannot fight for their children, their spirit’s broken as they face so many losses. My heart breaks for those that before January 12 never felt that they had to choose between being a Mother and giving their child a chance to survive. Now they arrive at the gates of an orphanage to give their child up. Suddenly, they have no home, no job, no clothes, no food, and no shelter. After being a mom for 4 years, for the sake of the survival of their child, they make a heart-wrenching selfless decision. I stood on Mother’s Day and in my heart I stood with them.
This Mother’s Day I say thank you to my mom, for how she raised me and all she taught me, I pray that I can be like her. I am blessed to have her still in my life to meet her granddaughter, I know what a gift this is and to not take it for granted.
Most of all I want to recognize Florence Derise, as her sacrifice offered me the greatest gift a woman ever could. Motherhood.