This was my wife’s first Mother’s Day with two children. Last year, around Mother’s Day, we were booking flights to Ethiopia in preparation of picking up Dawit –– our almost 5-year-old, after a two-year adoption process.

It’s funny how holidays evolve over the years. Mother’s Day is a good example.


When you are young, your teachers and Sunday School teachers help you make special cards for your mother, who you obviously still appreciate because a mother is so involved in almost every facet of your life.


As you get older and begin to grow more independent, Mother’s Day is a chance to remind your mom that she means something to you even though you don’t always show it.


After high school, Mother’s Day is when you take time to realize how much your mother always did for you –– because no one is doing that stuff for you now, and you really wish someone would.


But when you get married and have children of your own, you realize that you never knew how much work being a mother really is, and you gain a deeper appreciation for the woman who played that role in your life.


As a husband, your job is to help your children express their appreciation to their mom while continuing to honor your own mother.


This was my wife’s first Mother’s Day with two children. Last year, around Mother’s Day, we were booking flights to Ethiopia in preparation of picking up Dawit –– our almost 5-year-old, after a two-year adoption process.


The boys made gifts, thanks to their teachers, but we made sure she knew how much we appreciate everything she does for us. She got a trip to her favorite restaurant and some shopping without the boys on Saturday. On Sunday, I worked with Dawit for about 10 minutes to help him learn to say “Happy Mother’s Day.”


He didn’t really know what Mother’s Day was all about, but he does love his mother and wanted to make her happy. He tried hard.


Over the time we worked, his greeting evolved from “Happy Mudda Days” to “Happy Muvva Day” to, finally, something that resembled “Happy Mother’s Day.”


When my wife first came upstairs, Blake greeted her with a big hug and kiss. Dawit knew what to do now, but our training went out the window with his excitement over jumping into his mother’s arms.


“Mudda’s Day” he said. Luckily, she knew what he meant and how hard those words are for him after less than a year here.


After church, we had a picnic and took her fishing. The only thing she enjoys more than fishing is spending time with the two boys, so the whole day was a pretty good one for her.


I can’t help but wonder how Mother’s Day will change for Dawit over the years. He will grow to appreciate my wife more and more. She is a wonderful mother and loves him and Blake more than anything in the world.


But I hope one day he will learn to appreciate his birth mother and, perhaps, even reconcile with her. When she abandoned him at an orphanage, he was malnourished and very sick with pneumonia. She was worried that she was watching her little boy slip away. Instead, she gave him a chance at a future. When we met with her last year, she only wanted two things for him: to have a big family and to become a doctor.


He has big, happy families on both sides now and enough cousins to make any reunion fun for him. Whether he becomes a doctor or not is still to be determined.


It is easy to say you would never give up your children. You love them too much. But Dawit’s mother loved him enough to think of his welfare over her own feelings.


Mother’s Day changes for all of us. But I think Dawit has more changes in store for him than most of us ever will.