Each one of us knows at least one of those special women -- the woman who may have tucked us in at night as a mother, taught us in a classroom as our teacher, given us pride in our heritage as a member of our family. This Mother's Day, FOX News wants to honor those women who have shown courage and given inspiration in every facet of their lives.
FOX Fan recently talked to Barbara Kadzis -- a biological mother to four, and an adoptive mother to six who recently received a new home from the ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Barbara and her husband, George, decided to begin adopting special needs children after reading an article in their local paper. The rest, as they say, is history.
George lost his battle with cancer a mere two days after the Kadzis family was welcomed into their new home -- in the blink of an eye, Barbara became a single mother. But, as is her way, Barbara found solace in the promises of her faith and the love of family and community. Now, we ask this teacher the lessons she's learned about being a mom.
FOX Fan: Define “mom” – what does that word mean to you?>
Barbara Kadzis: Mom is an earned title of endearment and honor.
FF: What has been your happiest/most fulfilling moment as a mom – professional or otherwise? What has been your biggest trial?
BK: My most fulfilling moment as a mom is witnessing the bond between the children. For example, the three adult sons thoroughly enjoy each other's company at the ages of 33, 30, and 24. THAT makes me so very happy! The seven children still at home -- ages:16, 15.5, 15, 13, 10.5, 9.5, 7.5 -- thrill me to death when they inquire, for example, about each other's auditions, exams, or projects! Each time there is any evidence of that family spirit?---that makes me just jump for joy!
Each child grows into such an interesting individual adult---but time spent in their company must then become limited. THAT is the hardest reality for me---subtracting their unique personality out of our group "mix". When they leave the nest, we all miss their unique "gifts"-his particular smile, her goofy jokes, that one's off the wall opinions, etcetera---it's lost to the family group---until they come visit, perhaps! That day to day banter and dialogue---it's gone---there's a gap! That's the hardest part.
FF: You already had enormous responsibility as a mom to four children. What made you decide to dedicate yourself to adopting & providing for more children?
BK: George and I both knew that the purpose of adoption is to find families for children and not to find children for families...so when my husband and I saw that we could meet a particular orphan's need for a family---we put ourselves forward to be considered. If we were considered a good "fit" for this child we felt blessed to be chosen to be his or her parents! As professionals in service careers and as experienced parents, this was quite in keeping with our personal and marital goals. We wanted to serve these particular children as their parents.
FF: How do you incorporate the role of mom into your work in the classroom?
BK: I think being a mother has only enhanced my twenty years in the classroom. I understand how life can be after three o'clock for a family. Ten children have taught this mother that every child has strengths to share and each child has weaknesses -- developmentally, spiritually, physically, whatever. However children are our society's biggest asset, and any time spent on their behalf and with them is not in vain.
FF: You yourself were adopted. What did that experience teach you about the importance and role of parents in the lives of their children?
BK: My birthparents gave me the gift of life. My adoptive parents gifted me with my future. While they were not young, wealthy, nor college degreed, they gave me stability, security, and support. My adoptive mother's love for me was fierce, and life-affirming. She had a faith in me that I never could understand. She felt I was a gift to her; now I have ten gifts! I am truly spoiled!
FF: What are three valuesor lessons you’ve given to your children that you hope they'll pass on to their own?
BK: Three values I have actively taught to each of our ten children:
-- Tell the truth and search for truth always.
-- Keep each promise, or do not promise at all.
-- Serve others and thereby serve your God.
FF: Who are the women you looked up to – the women who inspired you to be who you are?
BK: My adoptive mother was my inspiration. Martha was a free thinker, voracious reader, and fierce defender of the weak and vulnerable. She loved with every ounce of her being and raged with every fiber of her being at injustice within her day to day environs. She scared and enthrallled me with the passion she had for learning, literature, music, and art. Without the advantage of a high school diploma, she was a product of coming of age in the Depression. She lived in the real world, but received her strength from a deep faith in the servant Christ. She sacrificed for her family.
For this shy, scared-of-her-own-shadow, introverted child--my mother was my anchor and my biggest fan. Her devotion to me was not based on blood heritage, and her iron strong claiming of me as hers---showed me what parenting love is all about.
FF: What do you see as the importance of mothers playing a role in every facet of society – i.e. business, politics, culture, etc.?
BK: Mothers in all areas of business, politics, and culture afford us a holistic perspective. Raising new little souls to functioning adulthood affords women who are mothers "the whole picture". Who better to design health care policy than a mom up to her armpits in insurance claims forms for broken growth plates and torn ACL's from her kids "leisure" activities? There is a wisdom and a "Far Side" point of view that only a mother can bring to the table. And they definitely can multi-task!