Allison Quets is the mother of twins, a boy and a girl. Because the children were conceived through in vitro fertilization with a donated egg and sperm she is not genetically connected to the children, but she is the birth mother who carried them for nine months and brought them into the world.
By law, Denise Needham of Apex is the adoptive mother of the twins. But almost since the moment adoption papers were signed, Quets has been fighting with the Needhams over the children. Recently, in a highly publicized incident, Quets and fled to Canada with the children. Now she is in jail awaiting a trial on federal kidnapping charges.
This, and other recent stories I have covered, made me think about the word "mother," and what it means in today's mixed-up world. It used to be simple- the person who gave birth to you was your mother. Today, a mother can be the person who gives birth to you, the person who adopts you, the person who raises you, or simply, the person who is there when you need someone the most.
In many high-profile cases children are left without the traditional version of "mother." Clare Miller is being raised by her aunt and uncle while her mother serves a 25-year sentence for killing her father. Attorneys for the couple told a judge in Wilmington last week that she saw them as her "real mother and father" having been with them since she was just four-years-old. The judge must decide if the child can visit her biological mother, Ann Miller, in prison. A psychologist testified that the child is confused about how all of these parents fit into her life.
Michelle Young, a pregnant mother beaten to death last year in her Wake County home, left behind Cassidy Young, who is now almost three-years-old. Presumably , she is being cared for by her father and his relatives, including his mother and sisters. The child will likely only know her real mother through the memories of Michelle Young's family, but who will fill that important role in her life as she grows up?
What these stories have left me with is a sense of remorse for these children who are stuck in the middle of these tragedies. Sure, they have plenty of people who love them, that's a good thing. But I firmly believe that the role of a mother in a child's life is critical. It gives a child stability and makes him or her feel safe. Having confusion about who your mother is at a young age can be damaging to a child down the road.
I had a good mother and I aim to be one. I hope all of the adults in these situations, as well as the courts, will keep in mind what's at stake in these cases- a child's future.
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