An apostrophe is a funny thing. Just repositioning it can change meaning significantly.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day, but for me it’s Mothers’ Day. It’s a day I celebrate three extraordinary moms: my birthmom, my mom, and the mama of my four kiddos. (Few know that since 1990, Birth Mother’s Day has been celebrated the preceding Saturday.)
I wouldn’t be here if not for the incredible decision of my precious birthmom. When people talk about those fringe cases, the ones people always use to demand limitless abortion, they’re talking about me. Through no fault of my own, I’m told (even sometimes to my face by pro-abortion activists) that I should’ve been aborted. My birthmom served in the military and had the option to legally abort her child conceived in the horrific violence of rape. But she saved me. She didn’t “give me up”; she gave me a life filled with beautiful possibility through the merciful and hopeful act of adoption. Her courage made me possible.
My amazing mom, once temporarily abandoned at the age of five, discovered her purpose in life while staying in a children’s home. During the year her parents were separated, God joined her heart with the hearts of so many broken children in that home who desperately wanted to be loved. She made a promise to God that she would be a mom to those who didn’t have one. Her story (you can hear an exclusive interview here) is truly movie-worthy. As the child of an alcoholic, her trajectory defied what “should have been.” Her childhood brokenness turned into breakthrough as she devoted her life to loving those wrongly written off as “unwanted.” I was the first one she chose to love through (“transracial”) adoption. America was just emerging from the Civil Rights Era. She and my dad had hoped that the world, through the sacrifices of so many who fought for racial equality, would embrace a family of white and black. To this day, people are still fixated with the hue of skin. But her courage made our diverse Christian family of white, black, “biracial”, Native American, Vietnamese and some with physical and learning disabilities…possible.
My incredible wife Bethany, who didn’t come from a background of adoption, never could have known how God would orchestrate adoption into her life. As she shared her powerful story in our recent podcast, Life Has Purpose, she became a single mom in the midst of an abusive relationship. That baby girl, radically and beautifully, transformed her life. “My daughter wasn’t an obstacle for me to overcome but an opportunity for me to become more than I could ever imagine,” she once explained. She never considered abortion, but as a teacher, many of her colleagues would urge her to abort to “save her career” (she continued to teach throughout and after pregnancy, by the way); some even offered money for an abortion. The biological “father” wanted the baby aborted. But God knew there was a father who wanted that child and would be the dad she needed in her life. Like my birthmom, my mom and millions of mothers out there who face(d) very difficult circumstances, Bethany chose to be stronger than her circumstances. That baby girl, named Radiance, would become my adopted daughter in a journey marked by miracles. Bethany is now a homeschooling mama to our four awesome kiddos (our youngest—Justice—is also adopted). She’s a children’s book author (see the adorable PRO-LIFE KIDS!) and the co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, named after a special little girl who was not “planned” but always meant to be. My oldest daughter is the tangible proof that some of the best things in life are “unplanned.” Bethany’s courage literally made what we do through The Radiance Foundation, possible.
To all of the mothers out there, none of us would be here without you. Thank you for the life and love you give to your children. Thank you for the bazillion thankless everyday tasks. Thank you for the hugs that give hope. Thank you for showing us what it means to never give up. To moms (whether through birth or through adoption), birthmoms, grandmoms, great grandmoms, foster moms and spiritual moms, thank you for making us all…possible.
Happy Mother’s Day. Or for those who were adopted, Happy Mothers’ Day!