Celebrating Mother's Day: The Meaning of Mom
By Misti Crane
The Columbus Dispatch
Sunday May 12, 2013 10:25 AM
Women don’t often talk about what motherhood means to them, the way it shapes their souls and their days, uncovers feelings they didn’t know existed. We asked nine central Ohio women to choose a word that describes what motherhood means to them...
Late last month, Mandy Litzke rounded up wayward kids and kept an eye on travelers fresh off flights landing at Port Columbus.
After a full day’s journey from his native Ghana, 15-year-old Christian walked past security to the cheers of 15 brothers and sisters he’d never seen in person. They pulled him close, said they loved him and piled in the family van to introduce him to his new home in Plain City.
Mandy and her husband, Dave, each had a daughter from previous marriages and have made it a mission to welcome children whose families can’t or won’t care for them.
Their adopted children range in age from 4 to 18 years and have come to the Litzkes from Liberia, Guatemala, Korea, Ghana, Armenia, Hong Kong, Haiti and Vietnam. Many have disabilities, including four who have Down syndrome.
There are eight bedrooms in the Litzkes’ house, a 20-foot dining table, a playground out back.
“It’s happy, organized chaos,” Mandy, 42, said.
She said she feels called to these children by her Christian faith.
But her story is more complex than that. She was a toddler when her stepfather killed her mother and left her an orphan, she said. When Mandy was 6, she moved in with a Georgia family who eventually adopted her.
She knew as a girl that she wanted to give a home to children without one.
“They’ve been through so much and taught us so much about being appreciative of what we have,” she said.
“It’s a blessing.”