Motherhood is a miraculous gift. From the beginning months in the womb, to our child's first breath, and then everyday thereafter is motherhood in it's entirety. One missing piece makes motherhood incomplete. Before I go any further, let me introduce myself. I'm Katie. I'm married to my junior high crush and I'm mommy to two miracle baby boys: Wesley and Micah. Adoption made me a mommy for the first time and thirteen short months later, I birthed my second son. Wesley is my oldest, he's petite and a mix of Samoan and black. Micah is my youngest; we call him our tank. Even though my husband is Mexican and Puerto Rican and I'm Mexican and white... Micah came out even lighter than me. You get the picture, our family doesn't really match. But for me, our family is normal. It was shortly after having my biological son that I realized that my normal is actually quite different for most. And ooohhh how the awkward stares and comments began!
I honestly can't remember the last time our family went out to eat without having at least one on-looker staring at us the entire meal. And some people even take the initiative to warn my husband that at least one of our boys don't belong to him. And for the comments, I know most are sincere and some out of curiosity, but I would be lying if I said it never bothered me. Comments like, "You did something good for one child. And now you get your own child."......"So...your not his real mom? "....."And who's your real son?" But the comment that probably stings the most was said shortly after becoming pregnant, "Now you know how it feels to be a real mommy."
I mean excuse me... do I really have to explain how our family became a family to complete strangers!! And do I really have to defend the sincerity of my love for my boys? And worse, why are moms who are in the same motherhood journey as me, judging and measuring the authenticity of my mommy-ness (if that's a word?) My initial reaction is to roll my eyes, and say "they're both my sons and we're a family. Thank you and good-bye." But after I pause, I realize that my family can shine light on the message that all families look different.
Let me first say that questions are not wrong. I've learned in the recent months to be less hypersensitive and embrace the questions, even if they're awkward. When asked about being Micah's "real" mom versus not being Wesley's "real" mom, I explain that I am both of my kids' "real" mom, but Wesley has a tummy mommy too and I am his heart mommy. There is really no wrong question, in fact, it is much better to ask a question than to just stare or make a statement about a family dynamic you may not understand.
I recently heard this quote from a well-known adoptive mom "Families don't have to match. You don't have to look like someone to love them." This is so true. But sadly in the same breath, she continued "Anyone can birth a child...but that doesn't make her a mom." I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. Wesley has an amazing birth mom. Even if for no other reason, birthing a child makes you an amazing mom. She couldn't be his everyday mommy so, she gave me the gift of raising him. This reality doesn't make her or me any less of a mom. Without each other the motherhood journey is incomplete. Motherhood was never meant to be done alone. We need each other. It takes a village and in some cases it takes two moms. Being an adoptive and biological mom, I've realized in any case, the desire is the same... to love and nurture our babies the best we can... to instill confidence and strength. No matter the difference in their birth story, they were born on purpose for a purpose. And I can't wait to watch my boys share their purpose with the rest of the world.