Women

05.09.14

‘Why I Don’t Like Mother’s Day’

Dr. Jane Aronson, known as 'The Orphan Doctor,' on her wish as a mother.

Since I got involved with orphans, I have had a lot of trouble with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I feel badly on these days every year for the past 30 years or so. I have two sons who were adopted and I think a lot about their mothers and fathers and hope that somehow in the cosmos, they know we love their boys. I like a homemade card, but nothing more….even that seems silly these days. I just want to be with my boys for a little bit, that’s all.

When I started working as a teacher in New York and then as a medical student and doctor in Newark and New York, I was surrounded by children without at least one parent, some without both parents. Many of my patients as a pediatrician were kids in kinship foster care and then I went to work abroad and found kids in orphanages abandoned, relinquished…castaways, certainly without parents. Families were no longer nuclear and my world was not like a Hallmark card. 

I want all the orphans in the world to have parents--that is my ideal goal--but I know that this is pretty unrealistic. In the meantime, I started Worldwide Orphans Foundation, almost 17 years ago and the purpose of that organization was to serve as “global parents”—provide training for staff in orphanages to make them more loving settings, find educational settings that would help kids achieve, provide arts and sport for expression and self-confidence, and give kids camp where they could play and forget about not having parents. WWO would help kids find success in spite of their lack of family and parenting. Along the way we began to prevent orphaning and reintegrate and reunite kids with their families.

Orphans are all around us—hundreds of millions of them exist and they are in the street, homeless, heads of households, child soldiers, prostitutes, victims of early marriage, working as child laborers, trafficked, abused, neglected and unparented. How the world got like this is not a fair and just story, but no time for that now.

Do something on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to help an orphan. I don’t care what you do, but make a promise to help an orphan have a better life on those days and if you feel good about it on those days, do more. Just do more. Maybe you can do more than you think.

Dr. Jane Aronson is an accomplished pediatrician specializing in adoption medicine and the author of Carried in our Hearts, now available in paperback.