A Letter to the Undocumented Mother

by Charlotte Gray

Hey you,

Yes, you, the one who is a mother without documentation to prove it.

The one who has given mother-love to those who didn’t come from your body.

The one who wipes snotty noses at a daycare. The one who dries tears at the playground. The one who babysits for free so a child can experience a stable home. The one who cares for younger siblings full-time. The one who prays for the teenager racing down the street way-too-fast. The one who says, “Sure, we can keep him/her at our house for awhile.” The one who says, “Yes, we’ll hide you, but first we’re taking you to a hospital.”


You are not alone. There are more of us out there than you realize. Without us, the human race would not exist. We love the broken and unlovable.

We are not widely recognized heroes, though. Parenting is considered to be a thankless job, and never is that more true than when you’re an undocumented parent.  If you’ve heard, “You’re not my real mom!”, or maybe “You just took me in to be a slave!” Or even maybe, “I’d be better off without you!” then know, you’re not the only one that has heard that. You’re in good company actually.

If you’d give the world just to hear the title “Mom”, or even just to hear “Thank you”, then know, there is a language the heart speaks, and it far surpasses titles and etiquette.

It’s hard to not have proof of your bond. It’s hard to hear others whisper about you behind your back. It’s hard to be doubtful of the good you’ve done in someone’s life. It’s hard to reach out to help and be rejected again and again and again. It’s hard to feel the guilt of mistakes. It’s hard to wonder if they really would be better off without you.

But, from one undocumented mother to another, let me tell you, no love is sowed in vain.

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
(Luke 6:38 NKJV)

This isn’t a promise that the receiver of your love will realize all you’ve done for them. They may never know. In fact, there’s no way they can recognize or repay you for your love. If they could, then it wouldn’t be true love. Because true love gives regardless of repayment or recognition.

However, even if it is impossible for them to recognize your gift into their life, even if all your efforts seem to come to naught, even if you can’t see a good fingerprint of your efforts left behind, even if you are never documented in word or deed as mother, know this: Heaven has its own ledger it keeps. 

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:37-40 NKJV)

An Undocumented Mother

For more encouragement in your journey, feel free to read:


  1. Thank you for this. I felt sad in church on Mother’s Day when all mothers were invited to stand for a special blessing. Then the Lord brought to my mind the thoughtful women in my past who had honored me on mother’s day even though I am not a biological mother. A parent of a child in my preschool class who gave me a card from their child, a card from a godchild, and girlfriends who made me stand in church for the blessing of moms saying I was like a mom to so many children. I don’t have women like this in my life now but I know my motherhood will be acknowledged some day in heaven. You are a blessing and I pray God will comfort and strengthen you in the days ahead.

  2. Elisabeth says:

    Thank you so much … this is beautiful! <3

  3. Thank you! Thank you! This blesses me so much.

    As an undocumented mother with a heart for other undocumented mothers, especially those who don’t have their children to hold anymore, I wrote a poem (click my name and it will take you to it). I hope it may bless someone as much as this post has blessed me.

    1. I read your poem Jordan, and it was truly beautiful. Thank you for being a voice for those afraid to speak their needs.

      1. Thank you. When I read your comment, unexpected tears came to my eyes. That is just what I seek to do, yet simultaneously feel so inadequate to do. I’ll keep trying, though, and asking God to speak through me…

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