Thoughts for Elvie’s Ethiopian Mother, On Mother’s Day

Rarely a day goes by that I don’t think about my children’s first mothers, but on Mother’s Day, they are even closer to my heart. Because while I celebrate a holiday they’ve never heard of the children I share with them, they are far away. It is not lost on me that I am the lucky one. I am so grateful to both mothers for the choices they made and the deep love they carry for their children.

We are in touch with Elvie’s family only via letter and progress report. If I could call her mother today, these are the things I would want to tell her. These are the images I would want her to see. Today, I honor her.

  • The choice you made for Elvie was a brave and beautiful choice.

    The choice you made for Elvie was a brave and beautiful choice.

    She lives because you allowed her to go where she could get the medical help she needs, even though that meant losing her.

  • I have loved your daughter fiercely from the beginning.

    I have loved your daughter fiercely from the beginning.

    You chose what was best for her first, and I will honor that choice and fight for what’s best for her every day.

  • She is beloved and cherished by all of us.

    She is beloved and cherished by all of us.

    We are so happy to have her in our family, overjoyed to spend each day with her.

  • She is a fighter.

    She is a fighter.

    She has been through so much, and she keeps on fighting. She was very sick when she came home with us, but she wanted to be here on earth. I think it was born into her, that fight and drive to keep going.

  • She is happy.

    She is happy.

    In fact, she is the happiest baby I have ever known. Despite everything, she smiles. Her disposition is such a gift.

  • She is silly.

    She is silly.

    Her sense of humor is second to none. As soon as she was strong enough to start making little jokes, she was making them. You would be delighted by her.

  • She is luminous.

    She is luminous.

    There is a light inside her that just glows. Even though she is still a baby, people can see that light.

  • Even though she is happy most of the time, she also lets us know when she is displeased.

    Even though she is happy most of the time, she also lets us know when she is displeased.

    She is strong, and she will not just sit back and let anyone do anything. She gets over it quickly, but she is not a pushover.

  • She is and always has been perfect.

    She is and always has been perfect.

    If surgery hadn’t been necessary, we wouldn’t have changed a thing. She was just right, just as she was. And now that she is different physically, she is still just right.

  • Her big surgery was tough, but she did just fine.

    Her big surgery was tough, but she did just fine.

    Like I said, she is a fighter. She fought through surgery and recovery to come out on the other side just as happy and vivacious as ever.

  • She has come so far, so fast.

    She has come so far, so fast.

    Do you see her standing? No one knew just what she might be able to do, but she is always working hard to surprise us. Her determination is unmatched, and I believe she’ll be able to do whatever she wants. She will work hard for it, and it will happen.

  • Her life is a gift of joy.

    Her life is a gift of joy.

    It is a gift to her, to us as her family, and to everyone we meet who she charms with her quick smile and friendly wave. We are so grateful to you for the gift of her life through birth, but also through the choice you made for her future.

  • You will always be her mother.

    You will always be her mother.

    I will always remember that you are her mother, too. It is a privilege to share the honor of being Elvie’s mother with you. On this day set aside to celebrate mothers, I celebrate you. From my heart to yours, across all these miles, may you have peace and joy.

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