Fourteen years ago a mother gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I don’t know her. I don’t know her circumstances, whether she was overcome with love for him or terrified of the implications that giving birth to another child would have on her life and the lives of her three older children. I don’t know if the boy’s father was there to scoop him up and marvel at how pink, perfect and precious every finger and toe was. I only know that 14 years ago a mother gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, and that changed my life forever.
Fourteen years went by, and I was oblivious. I didn’t know. I didn’t know that in another country a mother was struggling to care for her beautiful boy, that every day things were getting harder for her and harder for him. I didn’t know that every day the two of them were one day closer to being torn apart. And then they were.
I don’t know what it feels like to lose my mother, or to live with a mother that is present but still lost. I don’t know what it is like to live at home for years until one day something happens that changes everything so much that I can never go back. I didn’t know that this was happening to a mother’s beautiful boy. But it did.
Without the intervention of Project 143 in the life of this boy I would never have known that my heart could ache for another mother the way it does for her. I would never have known that my heart could be so compelled that I would ask my husband and family to change everything about our lives so much that we could never go back. I didn’t know that hosting a boy would make me feel like I had been a mother who is present but also a little bit lost, or that becoming a host mother would make me a better mother. But it did.
I still don’t know everything about him, what his soft baby hair smelled like, how he toddled or tumbled taking his first steps. I didn’t hear him speak his first word, and I never had the opportunity to walk him to school on his first day. But as I knock on his bedroom door, sit on the side of his bed gently stroking his hair and asking him to wake up, I want to scoop him up. I marvel at how big and long his body is, how soft and quietly he breathes in sleep. I see his scars and it shatters my heart worrying about the scars I cannot see. And then he opens his eyes and smiles. He bear-hugs me and laughs, “I love you, my little mommy.” And I am.
Thank you Kostic family for sharing your story from Summer Hosting. We appreciate you and your role as a Project 143 host family!