My thoughts on birth mothers and adoptive mothers have been an evolving process over the last four years. When we first started out we were taught about open adoption and how beautiful a relationship with birth mothers can be. I found myself even looking forward to what that would look like. When it came to it actually happening, it was not as easy as it sounded. As an adoption unfolds, it’s possible that adoptive parents will find out information about the biological family. This could hurt or help the ability to maintain respect. In our case I had a very difficult time getting over some of the hurt and anger I felt during our contested adoption.
I think the main thing to remember, and this is something that I tell myself often, is that she still decided to place him in my arms. No matter what else happened during our yearlong battle, she held true to her decision. She made the choice to be his first mother, not his only mother. She gave me the chance to be his second and for that I am eternally grateful.
The word “second” can be a tricky, loaded word. I am my son’s second mother, which means there was a first. When I hear the words first and second I quickly think of competition or winning. I am not sure if I am the only one, but it is the first thing that pops into my mind, except for when it comes to my son. I am his second mother, but there is no competition, or blue ribbon winner. It is simply a statement of time. Before he was born there was a young woman who made a difficult decision. That decision meant that she would carry her pregnancy to full term and deliver a healthy beautiful boy who would never be hers to raise. He would be mine. She would hand him to me in her hospital room and call me his mother.
I strongly believe that it does not take a pregnancy to be a mother. I also believe that once a woman has carried a child, she is forever a mother. There are two women in my son’s life. It would not matter whether our adoption was closed or open, that fact would remain. I am my son’s second mother but that does not mean that I am second best, or of lower standing. We are equals. We are both women who love a child, each of us in our own way.
I am his mommy, momma, or mom. I have fed him, clothed him, kissed his booboos, read him stories, played with him, taken care of him when he was sick and snuggled him to sleep. I get the honor of seeing him every day. I hug and kiss him whenever I can, although he thinks it’s too much (apparently when you’re four you are already too cool for mommy’s kisses). I do things that she gave up the chance to do in order to give him the life she thought he deserved. But that does not mean he was not loved or was not wanted. This is what I hope to pass on to my son as he learns more about his story.