As we get ready to honor and celebrate all the moms and mom-figures in our lives, one mother reveals why she buys two extra cards each Mother’s Day—and reminds us all that this day is also for every woman out there who no longer has their child to hold.
For mom-of-three, Jill Robbins, Mother’s Day comes with her own (once-secret), cathartic ritual that began in 2013, which was her first Mother’s Day as an adoptive mom. She buys two cards—one for each of the birth mothers of her two adopted boys.
She writes these mothers snippets of what their boys have done and accomplished and gives medical updates on their challenges. She thanks these mothers…she wishes them peace. Jill then seals the cards and tucks them into a shoebox on her closet shelf.
“I don’t know what else to do with them. I don’t have any place to mail these cards, you see,” writes Jill. “Somewhere on the other side of the world, there are two women who would probably give anything to get them.”
The San Antonio, Texas mother of three and writer of Ripped Jeans and Bifocals, revealed her ritual in her Facebook post in late April. Jill has two young boys that were adopted from China—7-year-old Kyle and 6-year-old Zack. And every year since 2013, she’s been writing cards to their birth mothers.
In China, children are abandoned since there are laws that prohibit a mother from making an adoption plan, so Jill has no way to find them and nowhere to send her cards.
These mothers will never know of Jill’s undying gratitude for their sacrifice or how their sons are happy and thriving in a family that loves them fiercely.
“I write these cards for me, “explains Jill. “I hold them against my chest before putting them in a shoebox that sits on my closet shelf, and I squeeze my eyes shut, and I wish so hard that these women who gave me the gifts of my boys can know how much I cherish them.”
In her post, Jill shares, “These women wonder where their babies are. I know they do. Although I don’t know the circumstances that led to their decisions, I do wish them peace. I wish they could receive these cards I write every Mother’s Day. I wish they knew their babies were safe and loved. Cherished. Thriving.”
Though Kyle and Zack don’t yet ask her too many questions about their birth families, Jill is aware how very different her life would be if it weren’t for these brave women. “Had these women not made the choices they made, my life would not be the same. For me, it’s about gratitude.”
Though Jill focuses on adoption as a writer, speaker, and author, she shared with us that she never expected her story to receive the overwhelming response it did. Posting it randomly on Facebook, she never anticipated the enormous ripple effect it would have. The reason she decided to reveal her personal secret was with the hope that others out there hurting or searching might read her story and know how important they are.
Stating how complicated adoption is, whether you’re adopting or giving up your child for adoption, Jill offers up a heartfelt plea, “Hug all those mamas. Hug them tight. No matter how you slice it, mamas do hard things.”
In this season of celebrating mothers, we hope everyone will answer Jill’s call and honor moms everywhere with love, understanding, and gratitude.