Mom

6 May

My mom is an incredibly special woman.  In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d like to share her (our) special story:

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My mother began fostering children in the 1960s and continued until the adoption of my sister S. in 1989.  Over the years, my parents fostered dozens and dozens of children, most of them special needs in one way or another: shaken babies, crack babies, mentally handicapped babies, babies with cleft palates and holes in their tiny hearts.  Letting go of each one was hard on us all, but especially for my mother, but still she was always ready to take the next and the next.

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I was born in 1977 weighing in at 1.9 oz and was given up for adoption shortly after my birth.  I was in the hospital NICU for 5 months.  Near the time I was ready to be released, the caseworker (now my Godmother) from Catholic Charities contacted my mom and asked her if she would take me on as a foster baby.  My parents already had a foster baby, Bobby Allen, in addition to five biological kids ranging in age from 14-21, plus a special needs adopted son, Richard.  In my mother’s way, she believed that love could nurture and save a child, so she agreed.  She came up to the hospital and saw me in the crib–this tiny, alien-looking baby looking up at her.  “I knew when I saw you,” she said to me years later, and home with her I went.  This is the first photo of me ever taken, at 5 months old, leaving the hospital in the arms of what would become my adoptive mother:

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She adopted me when I was about a year old and she was 42, and over the years, continued to foster all kinds of babies, every color and special need, even winning the Houston Mayor’s Award for service twice.  I’m proud of my family and of her for being so open-hearted.  I’m proud  to have been raised in a diverse family and one so dedicated to the service of others.  My mom, now in her 75th year, still continues to serve others: through her church, she takes communion to shut-ins and those in nursing homes, and she is always ready to lend a hand to those in need, whether it be a person in need of money at a gas station, helping to organize her church’s Jesse Tree to deliver Christmas gifts to children who wouldn’t otherwise have a Christmas, or just listening to the infirm tell their life stories.

My mom is a great lady, and I hope that I can follow in her footsteps in my own small way.

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Read my poem, “Poem for the Adoptive Mother,” that I wrote for her several years ago for Mother’s Day and that first appeared in Linebreak (forthcoming in my first book of poems, The Glass Crib).

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One Response to “Mom”

  1. Sarah Chase May 6, 2011 at 8:10 PM #

    Amanda,
    Thank you for sharing the story of your adoption. I had heard the story many years ago from Leslie. Your mother is a rare person. She models such a generous spirit. I am sure she is proud of the woman you have become.
    Sarah

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