I hope everyone enjoyed their Mother’s Day on Sunday.
While most mothers and children love to celebrate mothers I know there are many who do not. Some even dread the holiday. How do you explain to your teacher that your mother is in jail, in rehab or simply abandoned you? How do you cope with making a craft for someone who abused you or who has nothing positive to say about you? For many children in care it is a day that triggers huge pain and loss.
What if there is no contact with your mother and you have grown up with multiple women called foster moms? Do you make them a card for mother’s day? Awkward.
We try our best to make sure our children (whether they are bio/foster or adopted) are given opportunity to celebrate any and all moms and mother figures they want to. Some of our children do not want to do anything for their birth mother and others do. It can change from one year to the next if something happens such as a biological mother stops contact or lands in jail.
Our small fries are too young to decide so I do things myself for their birth mothers. This year I ordered flowers and had them delivered the day before mother’s day. I put a lot of thought and symbolism into them that probably went unnoticed but I feel like the love you put into something comes through. I didn’t just pick up a $2 bunch of carnations from the grocery store. I picked blue flowers for our baby boy’s birth mom and two purple orchids to represent our two Cystic Fibrosis darlings.
Here is a list of other ideas I have done before and some new ideas. I guess I should have created this post two weeks ago but it will now be forever accessible and you can also use some of these ideas for upcoming Father’s day! Birth fathers deserve to be honored too. These ideas can also be used to honor grandmother’s or any other family member.
* Handprint crafts – There are so many ideas on Pinterest but here are a few of my favourite.
You can find more at I Heart Arts n Crafts.com
* Photo crafts are always great keepsakes. If the child is in foster care, ask parent at visit if you can take a photo of the two of them together for a craft and then use that photo to make any number of photo crafts. Mugs, picture frames, cards, magnets, key chains, bookmark, ornaments, pillows and t-shirts are just a few of the keepsakes you can make with photos.
* Poems to make them cry. There are lots of mother’s day poems that are just not appropriate for a mother who is not able to care for her children. Find one that is meaningful to her situation. Maybe it’s about strength or just the fact that she created a beautiful child. Be creative and sensitive.
* Treat them like a queen. Some of the mom’s we have worked with have had very hard lives. They have never been able to afford a pedicure or may never go to a play. We have spoiled some of our birth moms to a special package of treats that will help them to feel special. Every mom deserves that once in a while. Think about what you would want to receive and give that.
* Kind words. Even a text, email or letter can be very appreciated. For some children, it can be healing to write a letter to their birth parent each year on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to express anything they want. These letters do not have to be sent and maybe they can’t be. There are many children who will never know anything of their biological family especially if they were adopted internationally. If they are kind letters, and we have no way to contact a birth parent we keep them in the child’s memory box. One day, they may want to read them, burn them or, if possible, give them to a birth parent that they may have contact with at a later point in life. How special would it be for a child to be able to give a parent 10 years worth of letters at a reunification?
* Baking or meals. If a child is having access visits with parents, sending home made snacks or meals that the child made is a nice gesture.
* Home made spa kit. There are lots of recipes online for easy to make spa items. Add a nail polish and a bath scrubby and you’ll be sure to make mom happy.
* Hand painted pottery. We have a few places in Brantford where you can take a child to create or just paint a special plate, mug, or other painted keepsake for any family member.
I hope this list has kick-started your creativity and your compassion. Even mother’s who struggle with addictions, or have done some terrible things deserve to know that they are valued. They created a beautiful child, (whom you may be raising) and we need to honor them.
I know some birth families are very hard to work with but sometimes doing something that shows so much love and compassion such as any of the above ideas, a heart is softened and relationships can be healed or just started. Creating a good relationship with birth mothers can be hard. There is sometimes a tug of war over a child. Foster and adoptive mothers need to be the ones to reach out with the olive branches. Sometimes it can take months or even years to build any sort of relationship or trust. Even if you think they hate your guts, they will most likely cherish any of these treasures from the child that they birthed.