I don’t know what it is, but it seems like a lot of adoptive parents are currently whining about how it’s so unfair that people recognize birthmothers as mothers. They complain, “I’m the one who is there everyday. I’m the mom!”
My kids have two moms.
My kids have two dads. We know Cassie’s birthfather, but he’s recently fallen off the face of the earth. It happens with people sometimes. Jackson’s birthfather has chosen not to be a part of his life, but he still exists. There are still two men responsible, in one way or another, for their paternal parentage.
My kids have a lot of brothers and sisters. And yes, they are all siblings. Not “technically” siblings, or cousins, or just their birthmoms’ kids. They’re just siblings.
Now, God knows I should be better about nurturing these relationships. (I should be better about a lot of things.) But the point is, I acknowledge that my children have other, or more, families. I am in no way threatened by this.
Whether your child knows his birth family or not, he still has multiple moms and multiple dads. That’s just the way it is.
You can protest all you want. You’re the one there when she’s sick. You’re the one at the baseball games. You’re the one up in the middle of the night. Yeah, all of that is true.
But it’s also true that this child was created by two other human beings. Acknowledging that fact doesn’t make you any less of a parent. If you read accounts from adult adoptees, so many of them put off searching for birth parents because they knew it would hurt their adoptive parents’ feelings.
That’s bull shit!
I’m a grown up. You’re a grown up. Grow up and understand that we are not the most important people anymore. Our kids are. I never want my kids to feel guilty because they care about their birth families. I never want them to feel disloyal because they refer to their birthmoms as “mom.” For the record, we call everyone by first names (except Jackson’s Auntie Chelle, for some reason). But I didn’t freak out when Cassie talked about being in her “MOM’S” tummy earlier tonight. I know who she meant, and I’m OK with that.
I admit, it did take me a stupidly long time to realize all of this. I was so insecure for the first few years of Jackson’s life that I, too, would say things like, “Giving birth doesn’t make you a mom.”* The thing is, I didn’t really mean it at the expense of S’s role in Jackson’s life. It’s a sad fact that society sees adoption as second best. I think it’s somewhat natural for adoptive parents to internalize that, and be insecure about our roles as parents. However, it comes out as hostility towards birth parents. That’s not good, especially for our kids.
Before I finish, here’s the usual disclaimer: Some biological parents are crap. I get that people who adopt from horrific situations – abuse, addiction – may have justifiable rage at their children’s birth parents. I imagine it can be pretty frustrating to hear people call a junkie your kid’s “real mom.” Even so, at some point, you may want to explore your feelings with an adoption-competent therapist. Just a suggestion.
I am in no way perfect. I have issues. But I try really hard to at least make sure that my kids know that they can feel what they want to feel, think what they want to think, and say what they want to say when it comes to adoption and their birth families.
So yeah, my kids have two moms. As my mom would have said, “Big whoop.”
* To be fair, in other contexts, I’ve talked about why I don’t think biology is best.