Adoption and the Real Mom, Reprised

Sometimes when I write, I share the marital funny with you.

Sometimes when I write, I share the pee-laced mess.

Sometimes when I write, I ponder the thick, humid exhaustion we mamas breathe.

And sometimes when I write, I confess my guilt for not being at my mama best when we adopted our toddlers.

You and I just never know what’s gonna show up in a life full of kids, do we?

The truth is, when I write about the reality of parenting, there are times I accidentally break open my chest and my heart falls out, and I remember those stories the most because they come from the deepest place of mama fear and mama love. Kids, you guys; they make us lose our minds and find our hearts and consider it a worthy trade.

Once upon a time, I wrote a post about adoption and the Real Mom, and I exposed my soul in all its brokenness and tiny bit of beauty. Today, Jamie Lynne of I Am Not The Babysitter blog fame is rerunning that post, “On Being Made Real,” in its entirety. Jamie’s on a trip to Ethiopia to visit her son’s birthmom. I have no doubt both moms’ hearts will fall out. Would you join me in wishing them peace as they join in the grand adventure of longing and loss and love?

And thank YOU for being part of my grand adventure, too. And for joining your lives to mine here.


On Being Made Real

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day.

When you’re 9 years old and a girl, I suppose being an emotional wreck is to be expected.

Ah, heck.

When you’re 37 years old and girl, I suppose being an emotional wreck is to be expected.

But sometimes, it’s hard to know which 9-year-old wrecks are I Stubbed My Toe And That’s A Great Excuse To Let Go Of The Emotional Mess Smouldering Inside Me,

and which wrecks are Real.

Yeah, yeah.  I know they’re all real.  But the Real real ones are those that will haunt my daughter into adulthood.  The ones that have Serious Potential for me the mama to Screw Up.

The other night, my Aden missed her birthmom.  Aden and Ian share a birthmom, so it was a natural conversation for the three of us to have together, and soon Ian was snuggled up, all ears.  There I sat, on the ground in the hallway next to the piles and piles of dirty laundry, with two kids missing their birthmom and asking questions.

Click over to I Am Not The Babysitter to read the rest…

Or read the original here…


Psst… a big, huge thank you to Kendall Hoover of for connecting me to Jamie. You’re the best. You are.


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11 responses to “Adoption and the Real Mom, Reprised”

  1. As soon as kids go to school and learn the real primary definition of the word parent means someone with offspring, they understand that all the secondary definitions are used to describe people who raise kids but are not actually parents according to the first definition. It’s worth noting that the first definition requires that a person have offspring and says nothing about having to raise them. Lots of people who adopt respond as you did the first time with clever quips about kissing boo-boos and helping with homework. It’s such a confusing response because it does not respond at all to the thing they are attempting to communicate which is that they are not really that person’s child even though they are raising them – someone else made them and they should be taking responsibility for them. The second response was SO much more dialed into the what the child was talking about. Parent’s raise kids (they don’t ‘parent’ them) A Grandparent or Aunt can raise a grandson or nephew and it does not make them Parents and we would not expect the child to refer to them as a Parent even though they are acting the way parents are supposed to. When Grandparents or Aunts expect to be referred to as Parents in those situations, everyone says, ‘his Mom isn’t really his Mom, she’s his Grandmother.” or “She’s really his Aunt, not his Mom.” It boils down to what the adult wants to be called in exchange for doing the work of raising a kid for the absent Parent. It’s reasonable for the kid to sometimes want to make the distinction between their parent and the person acting like their parent, especially if they believe that the person acting like their parent would rather have the world think of them as ‘just plane old parent’ rather than as an adoptive parent, because that is not just lying it erases their ‘real’ parent and who they really are to everyone the kid encounters. Their feelings are logical and reasonable considering the weight people put on the word parent and the work parents are expected to do. You did a super job of responding the second time. Way to grow.

  2. We’ve all done it. It’s so humbling when people say sweet things about our family and I know, know, KNOW that my parenting is not nearly as graceful as I wish it were.

    And yet, maybe that’s part of the training; my kids have heard me say, “I’m sorry — I messed that up” so many more times than I can count. Because some day they may be Mamas and Daddies – whether the “giving birth” kind or the adoptive kind — and if they are, they are going to make mistakes. And they will know they are only human when they do.

    Adoption is a hard thing. I wish more people were as thoughtful about it as you are.

    • Yes, Dreena. Exactly this. I wrote once about my gratitude for having a mama who wasn’t perfect & taught me by example to say when I’m wrong & ask for forgiveness. I’ve had PLENTY of opportunity to practice since becoming a mama myself. 🙂

  3. “Kids, you guys; they make us lose our minds and find our hearts and consider it a worthy trade.”

    This is quotable. So well said. I think I’m going to tweet it. I’ll give you credit, of course. 🙂

    And your “On Being Made Real” post is one of my favorite posts of all time, on any blog. How wonderful that it’s being shared with a wider circle now!

    Blessings to you,

  4. Thank you for sharing that, what tender moments between you, Ian and Aden.

    Oh, and “Kids, you guys; they make us lose our minds and find our hearts and consider it a worthy trade.”? So true. That is motherhood put into words. Well said, my friend, well said. And way to be a guest

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