Posted Online: May 09, 2013, 10:22 am

Balloon launch to commemorate birthmothers

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The Center for Youth and Family Solutions Commemorates Birthmothers with Balloon Launch


ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – For many mothers, Mother's Day is a time of celebration with their children and families, spent enjoying each other's company and gift-giving. For birthmothers, however, this day is often marked with remembering the loss of the child they placed in adoption. The Center for Youth and Family Solutions seeks to commemorate this sacrifice on Birthmother's Day, May 11, at the First Annual Birthmother's Day Balloon Launch.

The Birthmother's Day celebration honors and remembers first mothers, whose children have been placed in adoption. Everyone in the community is welcome to attend the balloon launch, which will include a short ceremony.

Mary Kay Collins, Assistant Director of Adoption at CYFS explains, "Our Crisis Pregnancy and Adoption Counselors carefully considered how to not only give a voice to the birthmother's loss, but also a way to honor and respect their sacrifice. A balloon launch symbolized raising up the motherhood experience for birthmothers. As a society, we need to help birthmothers step out of the shadows and be acknowledged as first mothers to the children they placed for adoption."

Since 1990, the Saturday before Mother's Day has been set aside as a special day to honor and remember the motherhood experience of birthmothers who placed their children in adoption. Founded in Seattle, the day purposefully falls on the day before Mother's Day to symbolize the reality that a birthmother's decision makes the adoptive mother's motherhood possible.

Historically, birthmothers are often the invisible members of the adoption process. The loss of their child was only intensified when told to "forget" or "move on". Many birthmothers become a shadow in the lives of the adoptee and the adoptive family they helped create.

As adoptions began to move toward more openness, birthmothers began to step out of the shadows and into a role that is uniquely theirs.

"It is extremely important to me to be remembered by my children as well as their adoptive parents. Adopting out my children was the hardest decision I have ever made. It was not a decision to be taken lightly. It was an extremely selfless act and took a lot of courage," said Jessica, a CYFS birth mother. "Knowing about Birthmother's Day, helps me know my children and their adoptive parents have a chance to remember how much I love my children and how much pain I struggled with to give them the life they now have with their adoptive families."

The commemorative balloon launch will take place at Heritage Church at 4801 44th Street in Rock Island at 11am.

The Center for Youth & Family Solutions is a not-for-profit social service agency providing strength-based, family-centered social services to youth and families in need throughout Central Illinois. These services include foster care services, child abuse prevention, crisis response for runaways and their families, adoption services, intervention and education with at-risk youth, counseling services for individuals and families, mental health crisis response and community advocacy programs. CYFS hosts eleven offices across the state of Illinois, and annually partners with over 20,000 individuals and collaborates on over 7,000 cases in 37 counties.­­ For more information, visit cyfsolutions.org.