Think for a moment of every mother you’ve had the privilege to know in your life. Whether it’s the one who gave birth to you, the ones walking along side you as you move through life or the ones that paved the way, chances are that each of these unique women inhabits the role in a way all her own.
For every woman who decides when and how she wants to have a family and executes that plan flawlessly, there are many women who have a very different story tell. Some women find themselves pregnant and facing motherhood in a time not of their choosing, with unexpected decisions looming before them. Other women find themselves struggling with infertility and have to make difficult choices about how to create the family they desperately desire. No path is the “right” one and the routes taken to motherhood do not make on woman more of a mother than any other.
This month we have the privilege to introduce you to two incredible women who came to the title of “Mom” in their own unique ways. Their paths, lives and approaches may different but their fierce love and dedication to their families are very much the same.
KATE MOORE’S journey to motherhood began with a delightful surprise. She and her husband, Adam, had been married for three years and had not even begun to discuss when to start the family they both wanted when Kate discovered she was pregnant. Henry was such a sweet, happy baby that they soon decided to try for another baby. They expected it to be simple. After all, Henry had come to them so easily.
Unfortunately, Kate and Adam encountered something that many couples experience but few know about until it happens to them; secondary infertility. After years had passed and no sibling appeared for Henry, the couple began to discuss adoption. It was something they had always wanted to do, but planned to pursue once their biological children were teenagers. Now, though, adoption might be their only choice for growing their family.
Research into the process was disheartening for the couple, as they realized that private, domestic adoption would be prohibitively expensive. When they were informed that they could adopt for free from the foster care system, they initially balked. They feared the pain and trauma involved in bonding with a child, only to face the threat of having to return him or her to the biological family (especially if that family was unsafe). They weren’t sure if they wanted to expose themselves and Henry to the risk of such pain.
They let the idea of fostering rest for a couple of years, only to discover that they both experienced a change of heart at the same time. They deeply believe that God changed their minds and readied their hearts for fostering and moved ahead with the process in 2012. Kate took a leave from her full-time position as HR Director for a local company, so that she could be closer to home as they navigated this new family landscape. The couple fostered for three years, with kids coming and going during that period.
Every case was difficult and painful, but one in particular was so traumatic and ended so badly that Kate wondered if she could ever foster again. Before long, though, she determined that good foster care will always be heartbreaking; that the depth of the heartache reflected the depth of the love. She ultimately decided that the love she could show and the difference she could make in the lives of these children was worth the pain.
Shortly after this time, Kate and Adam decided to try fertility treatments. After three unsuccessful IUI attempts, and weathering the financial and emotional toll they brought, Kate felt desperate. In a moment of deep grief, she poured her heart out before God, holding nothing back. As she worked through her emotions, she arrived at a place of relative peace and deep trust in God. She asked, very simply and sincerely, that he send her a son. She later discovered that Adam had uttered that very same prayer, that exact day.
The next day the couple’s foster care agency called to see if they would take in a four day old newborn baby boy. Both instantly believed that God had answered their prayers. That sweet little baby is now their four year old son. A year having Evan join their family, they had the opportunity to welcome his biological baby brother, Isaiah, into their home. The road to their adoptions was rocky and painful; Kate doesn’t deny or gloss over this fact. “Being a mom has been a rollercoaster of pain and joy for me. I have learned so much about love, hope, strength and trust through the process. The valleys I’ve walked through as a mother have made me realize that no mountain-top should ever be taken for granted.”
Kate, Adam and the boys live in Southwest Michigan with their rescue dog, Marley. Kate has recently returned to work full time in Human Resources, supporting the HR and Talent Development departments of a local credit union. She loves being a mother and especially relishes the moments of discovery and connection that occur when she gets to experience the things that most bring them joy. She notes. “There’s a subtle-but-worldchanging difference between when your kids are enjoying something and when they’re enjoying something because you are part of it. Those are moments I love most – and the hugs, snuggles and words of gratitude that come out of those moments are treasures.” •
AMELIA LAMBRIGHT was pretty sure she didn’t want a family of her own. Until she was 26, she was determined to dedicate herself to a career, eschewing the role of mother. In 2009, Amelia became an aunt for the first time and the love she felt for her niece, Zoey, made her think that maybe she did want to have children of her own. When she and her husband Kyle decided to start a family, they expected things to move quickly. Instead, they (like so many other couples) ran into the roadblock that is infertility.
When they were not pregnant a year after they began their quest to have a baby, the couple sought out a fertility specialist to begin some testing. Another year passed and Amelia and Kyle were preparing to begin fertility treatments when they discovered, to their shock and joy, that they were expecting a little one. In February of 2013, the couple welcomed a bouncing baby boy they named Kael. A brother, named Jack, followed in May of 2015 and the arrival of a little girl named Ryleigh in March of last year made them into a family of five.
When Amelia was pregnant with Ryleigh, they discovered she would be born with a Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate. Upon her birth, she was also diagnosed with Metopic Craniosynostosis (a premature fusion of an infant’s cranium). Both of Ryleigh’s diagnoses required surgical intervention and the follow-up care required have posed some challenges to the family. Amelia is grateful that, as a stay-at-home Mom, she has increased flexibility for doctor’s appointments and other logistical concerns. She is also incredibly thankful to live in a state that offers both access to doctors who specialize in cranial reconstruction and Children’s Special Healthcare (a fund that helps to cover the costs associated with the medical care required).
Amelia is so inspired by her little girl. In her first year of life, little Ryleigh faced more medical challenges than most people go through in a lifetime, but she bounces back each and every time. She has an indomitable spirit and a sweet smile for everyone she meets. It’s Amelia’s greatest wish that every child, no matter where they live in the world or whether their parents can afford it, would have access to the medical care they need. That’s why organizations like Operation Smile, Cranio Care Bears and Cuddles for Clefts are near and dear to her heart.
Amelia relishes her life as a mother and loves that she gets to be home with her children. She especially appreciates the time it gives her to share the things she loves with them. For example, she is passionate about science and takes every opportunity to share that interest with her children. Watching them learn and discover as they make volcanoes or play with slime is deeply satisfying for her.
While she wouldn’t trade her time at home, Amelia does admit that the monotony and repetition of life as a stay-at-home mother can begin to wear on her. She is careful to find time for herself, whether that means spending some time outdoors or taking a leisurely stroll down the aisle of a bookstore, looking for her next read. Reading is Amelia’s very favorite way to relax and she indulges whenever she can. She read 216 books last year alone and if she gets to finish an entire cup of coffee before it grows cold while she is reading one, she is truly content.
Erica Shier is a married mother of four who loves reading, scrapbooking & thrift stores. When she’s not driving her small pack of children around, she spends her time volunteering, writing & trying to keep on top of the laundry.