This weekend celebrate Mothers Day. Though we should celebrate mothers each and every day of the year we set aside one day each year to make special celebrations.
Much is made of Mothers Day for birth moms and adoptive moms but foster moms are usally forgotten in the media as they consider them temporary and not real moms.
I for one wish to change that perspective this year for at least one foster mom!
I entered foster care one the day of my birth as my birth mother had no way of raising me and placed me for adoption. I was never adopted. However I experienced 15 moves within the foster care system until I aged out at 18.
Three of those moves were to one particular family. I spent six months, 2 plus years and 4 plus years with this family between 1950 & 1960.
Though the system placed the word (foster) mom before her name I for the past 50 plus years have only called her MOM!
She did not give me birth but she never considered me anything but her son. She cared for me, nurtured me and loved me even if I was with her for a temporary basis.
I remember her walking with me throughout the night when I had battles with whooping cough. I could not be laid down as I could not breathe so she walked with me while I was able to sleep peacefully in her arms.
She would be the one to teach me to read spending time each evening reading with me until I could do it on my own.
She let me know, though the system said I was a failure, that I could be anything I wanted to be. So many times she would quietly sing that song of yesteryear, though she changed some words, of “I asked my mother what would I be.”
She taught me the importance of faith in my life and showed it by example in her own life.
I remember one Christmas when an extra stocking was hung from the fireplace for Christmas with the words SON on it. I asked her who that was for as she had only one son…he quick responce was simply…YOU!
I knew she loved me and I loved her.
During the 1950’s she and husband cared for 29 other foster youth in addition to myself. She treated each of us as her own sons or daughters. I was the last child she cared for.
She was able in the mid early 50’s to adopt two of the youth she cared for…daughters.
I found out many years later that she and Dad tried to adopt me twice but were turned down. One time it was because they in their 40s was considered being too old (1956). The second time was due to a difference in their faith from the Catholic Church. A few months after the second attempt I was removed from the home.
I was removed from this home for the third and final time 50 years ago. Though I would never return contact between us never ended.
I was sent to Boys Town, Nebraska in 1961. Letters betwwen us flowed. She made visits to me there though back then it was a long trip by bus from Detroit.
After graduating from Boys Town and going to college we continued writing and visited when I was able.
Mom passed away on Aril 23, 1983. I was unable to be there when she passed but found a way to be there for her funeral.
In the twenty-eight years since she passed I have seen each year that a floral arrangement has been placed on her grave for Mothers Day and her birthday. Whenever I am in Michigan I make it a point to visit her grave.
The foster care system never considered her my mom but I did and still do. She will always be my MOM!
I met my birth mother back in 1986. In the years after until her death in 2001 I never called her mom or mother but rather by her first name. To me the title of mom is earned and not just granted by giving birth.
Only one person earned the title of MOM in my life and it is to her I give this tribute, love and special wish for Mothers Day. To me she was everything a mother could ever have been to me.
Mom’s birth son still is alive living in Florida; when we talk on the phone we often remember the days so far now in the past.
I love you Mom, rest in peace and a very special Happy Mothers Day to you!
May this also serve as a tribute to the thousands of women each year who open their homes & hearts to serve as a foster mother!