I wish a wonderful Mother’s Day to everyone in the JCCA community and beyond. Though one day is wholly insufficient, we embrace this occasion to honor the mothers and mother-figures among us, including foster moms, aunts and grandmothers raising kids in kinship care, and mothers of various gender expressions. We celebrate the invaluable love and belonging you offer your children and the young people in your care.

Today triggers a range of feelings, from gratitude to pain and everything in between, given our complex experiences with––and sometimes without––family. Some of you are aware that my mother passed away in February.  On this first Mother’s Day without her, I feel sad, relieved she is no longer suffering and tremendously appreciative that she was in my life for so long, and my daughter’s. Because of this, my heart is especially open to those of our youth who today will find themselves thinking of a mother who cannot be there with them, or wishing that their family situation was different. It’s also the case that the child welfare system has historically not considered this separation enough from the standpoint of the mother; their grief is often no less piercing.  As we look toward our southern border, we are reminded of the enormous sacrifices that mothers make, hoping that their children’s lives will be better than their own.

The concurrence of Mother’s Day, Mental Health Awareness Month, and Foster Care Month in May reminds us to take a broader view. These themes are not in competition, but are closely aligned, asking us to honor the universal need for support, care, and connection all year round.

Please enjoy this day. Share your gratitude with those who’ve given you care and love. And, of course, consider how you can give it back.

With admiration,