I haven’t stood on my adoption soap box for a while because things have been going along swimmingly, without odd remarks from strangers or major hurdles as far as our children and I go. Until recently.
We were out at a friend’s house when one of the guests, out of curiosity, was asking me about the adoption process and how Ben and Emma came to be with us. We get it often because it’s obvious that our children are not biologically ours. And I’m always happy to answer. The woman asked about their ‘history’, about their birth mothers and whether or not Emma and Ben will meet them one day. Run of the mill questions for parents with adopted children, ones that ‘real’ parents never get asked.
And I’m sure most of you also don’t get questioned about your children’s HIV status or if they were abused. And I will definitely bet my shriveled up ovary that you don’t have someone ask you if you love them as much as you’d love your own. Emma was sitting with me at the time when the woman posed this question. Her words, not exactly, were something along the lines of:
Will they ever meet their ‘real’ mom? Will you be fine with them wanting to find out more about their ‘real’ families’? But I suppose you love them as much as you would have loved your own children.
I looked over at Emma who had a puzzled look on her face. I’m not sure which bit had caused the confusion – the bit about her ‘real’ mom or the bit where I might not necessarily love her as much as ‘my’ own’ child. When we left I was waiting for Emma to ask me more but nothing came. Which doesn’t mean she didn’t hear or internalize the comments.
I sadly didn’t forget that easily. I’m sadly one of those people who probably over think situations and I’ve been wondering whether I am a ‘real’ mom.
I know when Ben was just a few months old people would ask me, without seeing my infant, his age. I’d say 2 / 3 / 4 months and they’d say “What! You’ve just had a baby and you’re so thin!” And I’d say “no, I didn’t have him. He’s adopted.” And they’d say nothing. Unsure whether they should say congratulations or apologise for my short comings as a woman.
And if I’m to be completely honest there’s been times (though rare) that I have wondered whether what I feel for Emma and Ben is ‘real’ mom love or a diluted version of it because I didn’t carry them or give birth to them. I occasionally find myself thinking whether I would have loved a mini version of me more, because they looked like me or resembled a granny or sibling in photos.
But today I again realised I am a real mom. That I’m Emma and Ben’s mom. Not by default, but because I love them so incredibly much.
I, along with all the ‘real’ parents, burst with pride today as I watched my daughter perform in her school concert. My heart skipped with joy when the curtains opened and there she was. A tear ran down my cheek as she looked into the crowd and spotted us and my love for her poured out when she yelled “Daddy!” from the ‘stage’.
I cried as I watched Emma sing and dance and get distracted and I had to pinch myself that after so many of years longing for a child, there I was, amongst other moms and dads, watching our children perform.
I left Emma’s school today with a full and happy heart knowing that Emma nor Ben need ever look for their ‘real’ families or their ‘real’ moms. Because we’re right here. I’m here x