Mother’s Day is one of our favorite holidays. It is the day we honor our moms and everyone who has been like a mom to us. We thank everyone who took the time to share their stories and photos with us. Please take the time to read about these amazing women!

Grand Prize: Glory Grace K.

Glory Grace K. and her mom

Glory Grace K. and her mom

The most important story of my Mother is when she adopted my two sisters and me. 

We were in foster care for hard to place children. I was in 5 homes in 1 month because we were horror children, I at 4 years old, from lack of love and training. We also had severe PTSD and were malnourished and filthy from no hygiene with a bad case of lice. NO one wanted us!! Then they placed us with Mom and we discovered a world we did not know existed, a world of love and kindness!!!!

Mommy fought a long hard battle over 4 years to adopt us. Documenting everything that happened, like when we would be sick for 2 days after the terror of having to do visitations. Mom finally was able to convince the social workers to stop visitations. When we would be terrified from a nightmare from our past, Mom was always there to comfort us. Mom would take us to every door of the house to show us they were locked and that we were safe, telling us she would not let anyone hurt us.

We were extremely terrified of the dark so Mom made sure we had a nightlight, no other foster parent did that for us and I remember crying all night at the other homes. Mom would pack each of us a little lunch pail filled with goodies to carry around all day, we carried them everywhere we went because we were terrified we would not have any food to eat. After we were placed with Mom, she bought a new van with tinted windows because we girls thought the biologicals may see us in our car and follow us home and take us.

We called Mom, Mom from day one without any prompting or suggestion from anyone, because we knew she was our Mom. Before that day we had never called anyone that, not even the biologicals. We were never foster children to Mom, but her daughters.

On our adoption day, Mom let me bring my kindergarten teacher to the proceedings. She had comforted me when I had to be away from Mom at school. Mom even let is pick out our favorite place to eat afterward and it was a grand time.

After our adoption, Mom moved us thousands of miles away so we could feel safe because we girls were still scared they would find us.

Mom celebrates with us every year on the special day when she became our Mom, always reminding us how much she loves us and continues to make us feel safe and secure. When I tell people how I used to behave when Mom got us they hardly believe me. Thanks to Mom’s unconditional LOVE, long lasting patience, and more than a little bit of training, we are now well behaved young ladies that are known for our good manners and big smiles. So we went from terror to bubbling happiness from the love Mom has shown us.

Adopting us in her 50’s, Mom has made a lot of sacrifices so she could be our Mother and us her children. I am so thankful and proud to be the daughter of such a strong, determined, compassionate, loving and amazing lady, who to this day takes under her wing, women who need advice, and love, and would gladly go back to foster care if she could!! Everything I am today, it is because of the loving example of my dear sweet Mom who fought so hard for me and won!

 I thank God every day for my Blessings.

First Runner-up: Renee E.

Renee E. and her grandmother

Renee E. and her grandmother

My grandmother, what can I say, one of the most influential women in my life……

In 1949 she came to Canada overseas from England. She married my grandfather in 1952, they had 4 children, my dad being the 3rd. My grandparents have a farm in southeast Saskatchewan. I was lucky enough to be raised on the family farm where my parents’ house was just down the hill from my grandparents, this meant I got to spend a generous amount of time with my grandmother.

My grandmother taught me many things throughout my life, I see myself in her so much and always catch myself saying, “this reminds me of my grandma.” She was like a second mother for sure.

Gardening, grandma and I were In the garden a lot during the spring, summer, and fall. She took such pride in her garden and what came out of it. We spent many hours weeding, watering and harvesting. One of my favourite things we use to do was harvest the apples and make apple juice, delicious!

Cooking, oh boy, where do I begin! My grandmother was a wonderful cook. My aunt even composed all my grandma’s favourite recipes, some handwritten, into a beautiful keepsake cookbook for us grandchildren. I think it is safe to say, my husband thanks her for passing down this trait to me, I love to cook, especially things my grandma use to make. I’m glad I paid attention and learned her techniques and tips. One of my fondest memories was packing up hot lunches and heading to the field in the brown Ford pickup for my dad, grandpa and any hired men. Pork chops, hamburger steaks, sausage,  mashed potatoes and gravy, bacon sandwiches, macaroni salad, homemade pies, cinnamon rolls, hot coffee and lots of ice water or lemonade were frequently on the menu.

Many times I remember sitting on the floor playing with toys in my grandma’s bedroom and she, on her bed, hand patching coveralls or jeans, sewing a button on or mending on something. Of course, I would pop up from playing and she would show me how these things were done. She taught me many things that come in handy.

When my grandmother wasn’t in the garden, cooking, cleaning, sewing, helping out in the fields or tending to some other important task you would find her resting in her room or relaxing at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and a slice of toast.  This is where she would share her stories from the “old country” with me, or talk about the things that interested her at the time, also where I shared my latest happenings at school or whatever I was up to at the time. I could always ask her for advice or share my troubles with her, always ending up with her assuring me everything would always be ok.

Something else very special to me was that my grandmother saved every note I had ever written her when I was a child. She told me she did, never fully believed it until going through her things my aunt found all the notes I had composed over the years to her. From simple “I love you,” to “I am in the barn playing with the kittens if you need me”.

A few years back my grandmother’s mind started to go, she was diagnosed with dementia. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time, sit at the kitchen table with her like we use to, having a coffee, tea or juice along with a slice of toast or a slice of one of her amazing pies. My grandmother taught me how to work hard, love and appreciate life, take pride in the things I do, be strong and to take care of anything and everything that faced me in life. The older I get the more I realize I am just like her, and extremely proud to be like her. She had a big part in raising me and certainly was the best grandmother in the world to me.

The photo I chose to go with my story is of me and my grandmother from 2 years ago attending a tea party at the manor she now resides in. It was such a sweet occasion, she was having a “good day” that day, she remembered who I was. I suppose it was a small glimpse and reminder to me of how we would sit at the farm kitchen table, coffee, tea or juice in hand having one of our many chats. Also, there is a photo of one of the notes I wrote her, (she always put the date on them and my name) and the cookbook cover, that’s me crawling out of her pantry, and a photo of her cooking.

Love you, grandma.

Second Runner-up: Desiree F.

Desiree and Brandi

Desiree and Brandi in South Korea, 2017

I was a restless young child. I wanted to grow up fast so that I could start living life like my idol, Indiana Jones. I’d walk around the house quoting lines from all of his movies, my favorite being, “Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.”

I was so sure that the world outside was filled with immeasurable treasure. Shiny and sparkly things buried deep in the Earth in exotic lands far, far away from my small country home in Maine. I’d traverse the overgrown grass and weeds of the grounds outside my backyard in secret, soiling my overalls beyond repair in an attempt to capture the essence of adventure in flights of fancy. It was on one of these explorations that I stumbled into Brandi’s yard.

Imagine a scrawny mud caked child no more than 6 years old wandering about your backyard. Brandi tells it that, “a tiny little girl wearing pigtails came diddly bopping up my back steps, sees me through the screen door and asks ‘what you doin?’” Every now and again she reminds me that it was I who found her even though I didn’t realize then how important she would be in my life.

Brandi ended up bringing me back home that day where she met my mother and my little brother. My mother and she became best friends and there isn’t a time that I can recall from that point on, that she hasn’t been a part of my life.

My mother is a wonderful woman, brave, smart, and kind. Throughout my life, she’s suffered greatly from debilitating health conditions but still managed to take care of my brother and me without much family support. It was when she met Brandi that our lives changed so much for the better.

Brandi took care of us when my mother was in the hospital which was multiple times per year. She cooked and cleaned and got us ready for school on the days my mother was too sick to leave her bed. She taught me how to ride a bike, how to shoot hoops, to dance, to laugh and enjoy the beauty in life around me. Brandi has always had an amazing sense of humor. She was our source of comfort when my mother was sick and the security I didn’t know we needed until I was much older.

When I look back on all of my accomplishments and adventures, the many states and countries I have visited and lived in, all of the “fortune and glory” I’ve obtained in my life so far… I think the best treasure I have ever stumbled upon is her. I’ve found that life’s greatest treasure of all is love in all its forms. Brandi brought an abundance of that into my life. I’m grateful and incredibly fortunate to have her as a mother figure in my life.

Pictured: Brandi visiting me in Seoul, South Korea 2017. It was her first time outside of the USA. She was terrified of flying. She came anyway.

 Nancy W.

Nancy W. and her mom

Nancy and her mom

This picture is of my mother and me when I was about a month old. My mother was not supposed to have more children after losing one.  When she found out she was pregnant with me, the doctor urged her to let him take me because if she tried again she or I could have major health issues or die. My mother refused and we both had problems as a result but she always thought the risk was worth the outcome she received. I was only 4 pounds 11 ounces at birth and my mother refused to leave the hospital without me.

Growing up she not only helped me and my siblings, but she also helped others in need. She took care of both of my grandmothers when they could no longer care for themselves, as well as strangers. She volunteered when she could to help in many ways.

Regretfully, I lost my mom in 2003 due to cancer and I miss her every day and I strive to make her proud by continuing her legacy of helping others as I can.

Bonnie H.

Bonnie H.'s grandma

Bonnie H.’s grandma

This is my beautiful grandmother, Ellen Delaney. She was born in Ireland in the 1800’s, someone whom I’ve never met. She came to live in Boston as a child. This is the only picture our family has of her as a young woman. She looked very beautiful, but had a difficult life in Boston, raising all the children, and not having much money to live in the early 1900’s.

My father was her oldest child. He was 12 when his mother passed away, leaving behind nine young children. She died in the hospital after her last baby was born and they gave her a blood transfusion of the wrong blood type.

I never met her, but always loved her. I look at this photo and dream of her, and her strength as a mother. How many hearts were broken on her passing? I didn’t know her in person but I knew she was my loving grandmother always.

I keep this photo on my mantle so it can remind me of where I came from, my roots, my Irish heritage. It helps me stay strong when I feel weak. She made it through many hardships in life, except one. Becoming a mother.

Claire P.

Claire P. with birth mother and her mom

Claire P. with birth mother and her mom

This is a photo of me pregnant with my first daughter (Margot) my mom and my birth mother that I met when I was 19. My mom (in yellow) was called and told she had a baby coming.

After 8 weeks she was called, she said she had expected her baby quite a bit sooner because my older brother (who was also adopted) came within one week of the notification of her first phone call. Instead, it was the adoption agency informing her that they didn’t have a baby for her. My mom asked why and was advised that the child she had matched with was believed to be terminally ill with brain cancer and instead would live her brief life in an orphanage.

My mom told the adoption agency that whether it be 60 days or 60 years that was her child and she wanted me immediately. So here we are 30 years later. Healthy and happy. She has been a perfect representation of hope in hopeless times, and knowing blood doesn’t make a child your child.

Madelyn L.

Madelyn L. and her son

Madelyn L. and her son

This picture was taken on Mackinac Island when my son was about 10 years old……So here’s the story…..

When my son was growing up, we took him to Mackinac Island every summer.  We usually took our trips with my best friend and her daughter (who was born five days after my son).  These trips always were a lot of fun, and we have some really great memories from our times together.

When I was raising my son, I had a very strict rule concerning his toys – NO guns and NO weapons.  He was very aware of these rules.  I encouraged building toys and educational toys, but I strictly forbade any type of toy that suggested any type of violence.  My son was also taught another rule as he was growing up, and that was how to save money.  I encouraged him to look for sales and to buy things on clearance, and I showed him how this could help him have more money for the future.

So this one summer, my friend and I were on the island with our children.  We had all been to the island numerous times and knew our way around quite well.  So, this particular trip, the kids asked if they could go off on their own for a while.  We felt comfortable that they would be safe, so we agreed to allow them some time to themselves.  We were all to meet up at our hotel at 4:00 in the afternoon.  So the kids took off on their own, and my friend and I had an enjoyable afternoon together.

When it got close to 4:00 pm, we headed back to the hotel.  When I walked into the lobby of the place, I saw my son sitting there in a large wingback chair, waiting patiently for me.  He was holding a large, wooden gun, which was about three feet tall.  Just as I opened my mouth to start screaming at him for buying a weapon, he quickly said, “I KNOW MOM!  But it was on sale for 75% off!”……I couldn’t stop laughing!

Shauna Q.

Shauna Q.'s grandmother, great grandmother and her grandmother's sisters

Shauna Q.’s grandmother, great-grandmother and her grandmother’s sisters

This is a photo of my grandmother Possie, ( yes Possie, her mother read the name in a book) with her mother and sisters. Grandma is seated center.

She was a very strong woman who came west from Ontario to Alberta in 1909 and set up her own dressmaking business. She believed that we should all know how to live independent and be able to care for yourself.

Grandpa whom she met in 1915 had the same beliefs. My dad was taught to sew, cook and do domestic chores. My Aunts where taught plumbing, carpentry and such.

Grandma lived to 93. I was her only granddaughter (10 grandsons) and she passed on to me strength of character and steadfastness during adversity.

Thank you, Grandma! Love you!

 Karen G.

Karen G.'s mother

Karen G.’s mother

My dearly departed mother had such a wonderful sense of humor, sometimes unaware of it. Way back in the 1960s when I was a child, a savings and loan had a television commercial showing a historical timeline as referenced by the rings on a Giant Sequoia (since we were in California); They started at the bottom with the Magna Carta, the Renaissance, various events in world history as they progressed closer and closer to current time. My mother was busy ironing in the other room and of course, we children had the TV volume way up high. When the narrator of the commercial said “The Japanese have just attacked Pearl Harbor” as the timeline got closer to our time, my mother could be heard crying from the other room, ‘Dear God! Not again!” We still chuckle about that one.

Renée E., CA

Renée E. and her mother

Renée E., CA and her mother

I would like to start my story by saying that it would be wonderful if everyone lived every day like it was “Mothers Day.” Each mother is a gift from God during their lifetime here on earth. Their success as a mother is not measured by things but who they are to others. These women deserve our respect and honor every day of the year. They are the true teachers of wisdom and love.

I feel my mother is one of these women. She has now lived on this earth for 100 years and soon will be 101 years old. She has seen many eras of time as they have all changed and developed the world we live in now.

She always says she lived in a simpler time and loved her childhood memories. Born in 1917 in a small town on Lake Superior she was not fortunate to have any siblings. My grandmother’s chances to have a large family were not to be. Being the only child that survived she grew up happy but something was missing.

The story she would recall each year as she brought her childhood doll out for Christmas was always my favorite one. MaryJane (that is the name she gave her doll) was the 1st prize in 1924 to the child who sold the most newspaper subscriptions. With the help of her father, she won the contest and received the doll. The newspaper did a story and picture of the winner. When mom was asked how she liked the doll she answered: “she is my true baby sister.” So MaryJane became very special to my mom and she took very good care of her.

But there is another reason why she is special, inside her back she is a phonograph with cylinder recordings that play nursery rhymes. So at night, MaryJane could play you a rhyme to help you fall fast asleep. What a wonderful doll for a 7-year-old living in simpler times.

MaryJane is now 94 years old and still looks great. She attended my mothers 100th Birthday Celebration last year!!

(The photo on the table in the picture is Mom with her doll at 7yrs old).

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