I don’t fall for the argument I see so often from adoptive parents. The justifications they throw out, repeating themselves and others like an old skipping record. The one that always starts with the same words . . .
“I am my child’s real mom because . . . “
This is always followed by some variation of . . . I changed their diapers . . . stayed up with them at night when they were sick . . . helped them with their homework . . . etc, etc, etc.
My first reaction to this argument is . . .
Those are all actions. Something a nanny or babysitter can, and often, does. Yes, that means you are providing for your child’s basic needs but that, to me, is NOT what makes you a mother. That makes you a good caregiver.
So what is a mother then? What is it that I believe some adoptive moms understand that others don’t?
To me, being a mom is based first, and foremost, on unconditional love. It is the realization that no matter what might have happened to bring a child into your life, the minute you hold your child in your arms, it has NOTHING to do with a need they are fulfilling in you and EVERYTHING to do with their own needs.
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It’s about giving them the capability to love and believe in themselves. To know their feelings will be validated, understood and never discounted. That our own nsecurities or emotional needs do not restrict or hold our children back from finding and being who they truly are.
And, unfortunately, so often in the adoption world, I find adoptive moms who don’t seem to understand the importance of this. They want to find a way, with everything they have, to deny that their child will EVER face issues from being adopted, instead of putting that same fight into giving their child the confidence and trust that they can go to them with their feelings about adoption, no matter what they might be.
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But, as I said, there are others. Those who keep me grounded when I want to lash out at all because I’m hurt or my son is hurt. Those who seem to be rare but do exist.
To me, these are moms. These are the women who offer true unconditional love to their children. Who love them with all their heart and want only what is best for them and their lives. They aren’t digging those holes, burying their heads as far as they can go. They are, instead, doing whatever it takes, fighting whatever battle there is, being everything they can for their children. Because that is truly what it means to be a mom.
I am honored, together with Margie at Third Mom and Dawn at This Woman's Work, to be included on Cassi's short list of adoptive moms whom she thinks meet this ideal! Thank you, Cassi. All I can say is, I try. And your post will encourage me to try harder. Reading what birth moms and adoptees have to say has been a true education for me.