Mother (n): a female parent, who brings up a child with care and affection. What a mother is not is someone who has to give birth to the child. Nor does it guarantee rights to the person, who does give birth to a child. It’s not a biological term but instead is a social, emotional, and psychological term.
As an adopted child, it’s a struggle to make people see it that way. The term “mother” is thrown around with little understanding of what it means to an adopted child. To us, who were adopted, a mother is an angel. To the endless questions of: “have you ever looked for your ‘birth mother’?’” No, I haven’t. I have a mother, so why do I need to go on a hunt to find someone who is a perfect stranger?
As an adopted child, my mother is my mother in every sense. So I wasn’t formed in her womb, who cares? So she didn’t give birth to me after a long and agonizing labor, does that matter? What she did do was bathe me, feed me, and protect me. She covered my scrapes with Band-Aids, she helped me with my homework, and she took me traveling. She taught me to be independent, taught me to be kind to others, and taught me to be brave. She loves me. Isn’t that what a mother does?
Being adopted has made me part of a whole. It gave me a chance. It gave me an amazing life. It gave me my mom.
To all those, who are considering adopting or who have an adopted child, here are a few tips and reminders:
1. Don’t differentiate yourself with the title “adoptive mother”. Just be their mother and don’t make yourself a competitor with the lady who gave birth to your child. My mom has always just been my mom. Period. End of story.
2. Don’t wait to tell them. Honesty is the only winner in the end. I was told when I was four years old and took it like a champ: as in it didn’t matter to young me because why would it? Growing up, at doctor’s appointments I heard, “We’re not 100% sure about the medical history, she’s adopted.” It was just a thing I heard, and a thing that slowly started to make sense to me. But it wasn’t a thing that hurt me.
3. Don’t worry about not giving birth to the child. Like I’ve said over and over, it technically means nothing. Take advantage of the fact that you didn’t have to suffer physically to have this beautiful child. All the benefits of loving a child with no weight gain or pain!
4. Don’t make a huge deal out of having an “adopted child”. If you make a huge deal out of it, it will be a huge deal. Make that child part of your family’s whole, and there won’t be any thoughts of insecurity, of being unloved, of being abandoned, etc. I have my father’s last name, I have two brothers with the same last name, I have a family who makes me laugh, and I have a family who supports me in every way, so why should I be different?
5. Don’t be afraid to talk. Sure your child may have questions or may want to know why, but just answer them to your best ability, be honest and be open.
Everything I am, my mother helped me to be. I love you, Mom.