I am the mom of my children.

The other day, a well-meaning, curious person asked me if Lizzie’s mom is in the picture at all.  And, I felt like she had slapped me in the face.  I explained that all parental rights had been terminated, so no.  She was relieved to hear it.  She walked away and I sat with unpleasant memories flooding back. 

There is no question that I am dramatic and get worked up about things I can’t control.  Just ask poor Brian.  There’s also no question that she meant no harm.  But, unfortunately, there is also no question that it hurt me and felt like a little part of me and who I am to her was being taken away.

Growing up, my dad had a mug.  It said something like, “Anyone can be a father, it takes someone special to be a dad.”  And, that’s how I feel about this.  No, I didn’t carry them in my belly.  No, I didn’t pee on a stick and see two lines.  (Although I’m quite familiar with seeing only one.)   And, I definitely didn’t make stupid and dangerous choices that endangered their well-being. 

But, I did make the decision that I wanted to love them forever.  That I wanted to take care of them everyday.  That I wanted to get up every morning when I so desperately want to sleep.  That I want to never have a snack, talk on the phone, or fold laundry in peace again.  That I wanted to laugh at their antics until I cried, scream at their antics until I cried, and talk about their antics while they slept.  That I wanted to get man-handled, interrupted, hugged, and kissed constantly.  This is what I decided.  This is what I do.

I also made the decision to deal with the fact that one day they might want to look for her.  That they will always have biological family out there somewhere.  Some that we will meet and some that we will not.  I made the decision to raise black children in a white world and to try desperately to help them deal with that reality.  I didn’t realize how complicated these decisions would be.  But, I made them.  And, I don’t regret them.

And, it’s hard.  Not the regular mom stuff.  Well, it is.  But, that’s what being a mom is.  It’s the other stuff that I thought I understood but really didn’t.

I know one day they are going to ask about her.  I also know it’s totally understandable, but I’m not looking forward to it. Brian already has a plan when they ask about their “real mom.”  He is going to say, “Your real mom is in the kitchen making your dinner and I don’t want to ever hear you use that term again.  But, if you want to know about the woman who gave birth to you, I’ll tell you everything I know.”   I love Brian.

Adoption is complicated.  Transracial adoption is even more complicated.  It will always be obvious to everyone who we encounter that they’re not biological and people will always have questions.  And, that’s ok.  In a way, I feel that we were given this great opportunity and responsibility.  We can try to educate, encourage, and inspire.  It is my greatest wish that because of us, we will not always be so unusual.  That someone who encounters us will decide to adopt, too.  That would be amazing.

But, there is one thing that I know I can do.  I can try to get people to stop referring to someone else as my children’s mom.  I’ve been trying really hard to be assertive and speak up.  Usually, I will politely say, “Oh, you mean, the biological parent?”  They will correct themselves and I will answer all questions.  The other day, though, I didn’t correct her.  I was taken off guard and didn’t want to offend her.  So, instead I dwelled on it and wrote an angsty blog.  🙂

As I was talking to Brian about it, in all my angsty glory, I was saying that I just need to stop letting it get to me.  But, he encouraged me to continue to correct/educate people.  Otherwise, they’ll just go on to say it to someone else.  Well, he had a point.  (He does that.)  Back to that responsibilty thing. 

For the rest of my life, people will ask awkward questions.  I will know that there is someone out there who got to have a piece of them that I never can.  I will be worrying about them.  Lecturing them.  I will probably still be trying to figure out how to do Lizzie’s hair.  But, these are my children.  This crazy universe full of: inexplicably fertile drug addicts, well-meaning people with poor choices of words, beautiful friends, amazing family members, and family court judges, brought us together.  Thank you, universe!  Their mom loves them like crazy.  I would know, it’s me. 🙂

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