“Real” Parents

Real Parents: Adoption and Foster Care

I’m late in posting this because I feel like I am still processing what has happened.

Friday was a profound day: my foster daughter had a court hearing to make some decisions for her case. I’ve always hated court dates because they are such a poignant reminder of how broken everything is. It’s heartbreaking that a situation could go so off the rails that it ends up being debated and decisions made by outside parties in a court of law. Nobody wins. Ever. It is simply about mitigating the damages.

I’m feeling the strangest mix of emotions as I’m absolutely elated and wretchedly heartbroken. My foster daughter’s biological mom had her parental rights terminated on Friday.

We are going to adopt her.

It is still unreal writing that even though it has been on the horizon for a while now. I’m in love with this baby girl with every fiber of my being. I brought her home from the hospital more than a year and a half ago, did midnight feedings, got her through surgeries, and played peek-a-boo countless times. She’s my girl and she calls me mama.

I’m a mom which is why I’m heartbroken. I ache for her mom since I know she has just lost what I treasure most dearly. It’s a parent’s worst fear and she is living it. She didn’t show up in court and I can only imagine it’s because facing what was happening was too difficult. I grieve too for my little girl since she has lost something too even though she is so young and doesn’t understand it all yet. She will one day.

The timing of this is beautiful and tragic since Sunday was Mother’s Day. I sobbed in court as the judge asked if I want to adopt her.

“Absolutely.”

The judge said it was clear to him that my little girl’s real mom was in court that day. He told me to have a wonderful Mother’s Day. I sobbed more.

“Real” mom is such a loaded term for me. I’ve been working towards the goal of reunifying her with her mom and I’m so sad and yet so thankful that the little girl who has become such a part of our family gets to stay with us. One of her first words was “brothers”, you know.

Saying goodbye to her would be as painful as cutting out my heart and handing it over to someone else and hoping they’d protect it while I stood there bleeding. Probably more.

I’m not quite sure yet what makes a mom “real” since both her bio mom and I are moms to her, albeit in different ways. It hit me when I went to one of my son’s Mother’s Day tea party and the kids sang a song with the repeated line “there’s only one mom for me”. It cut through me since my little girl is always going to have two moms and I would never want her to feel like she has to choose between them. I shouldn’t need to possess her completely to feel secure in our relationship.

Because getting to adopt her isn’t like winning. This wasn’t a competition to see who could keep her. If we view adoption like this, the only one who loses is her. And if she loses, don’t we all?

Adoption is a promise. I promise that I will love her and put her interests ahead of my own for the rest of my life. She won’t always like what this will look like when it comes down to discipline and I’m sure she’ll mull over how much she hates me as she sits in time out later or when I won’t let her buy too short shorts, but it will be what she needs. Adoption is a relationship build on a promise, on trust, and grace.

Adoption is beautiful since it comes directly out of the heart of God. His grace and commitment to us is evidenced in how we are adopted into His family through the sacrifice of Christ for our sins. It is born out of pain and sin and mess much like the court room on Friday. It’s an act of worship because in the midst of all the chaos, we are saying that God is good.

It’s not going to be easy. I know that. It hasn’t been easy all the time. There are so many hurdles to navigate and pitfalls to avoid for this to be successful. Adoption always comes at a cost and I know I don’t have to pay it.

But I want to.

Right now, we are in legal limbo. More court dates and paperwork are needed to make this thing official and it could be… well… we have no idea how long. It doesn’t change anything though in the meantime. We’ll just be waiting for our legal situation to catch up with our emotional one.

She’s been my girl since I brought her home from the hospital on that cold and rainy fall evening 19 months ago. I just get to say so publicly now.

Thanks so much for all your prayers throughout this whole journey!

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32 thoughts on ““Real” Parents

  1. This is beautiful, amazing, and real. In reading your words, I felt like someone shared part of my heart. Thank you for writing and sharing.

    • Thank you so much, Erin! Even though this is where we are, we are definitely not the first to walk this path and so this is really is a piece of so many parents hearts- I’m so glad you connected with it πŸ™‚ Its so encouraging for us to connect with others in it too!

  2. You had me teary reading this. What a blessing and a gift this baby girl has. I know what it is to be in her place, I had a father who chose not to be involved and another who filled the role with so much love. Whatever the outcome of the level of involvement from her belly mom, I’m confident she will never question how loved she is. Visiting from Titus 2sdays

    • Thank you so much for sharing your perspective, Winter! I really appreciate it and your wisdom as we try to navigate all the unfamiliar waters; I so want to give this little girl everything she deserves and shield her from all the negatives as much as possible. I’m so glad to connect with you!

        • You are so encouraging! I honestly don’t know how we’d do this without all the support we’ve received especially from people like you πŸ™‚ It keeps me going during those hard days and it would be disingenuous of me to say that there aren’t days like that as you know too well. I’m so thankful for God’s love in this! Thanks again, Winter!

  3. Congratulations! I am so happy that the woman she calls Mama gets to still be her mama. I am heartborken that she has a history that led to her biological mom’s rights being terminated. your lil girl is in beautiful hands and what a journey who are all on.

    • Thank you so much, Karen! I feel so blessed to have her in my life and still in shock that I get to be her permanent mama! I love adoption, but as you said, it is heartbreaking and tragic at the same time. It’s definitely been a journey and thank you for your encouragement!

  4. I don’t cry, but this had me in tears. What a beautiful yet tangible picture of how Christ adopts us into His family. This little girl will know first hand the grace of adoption. Congratulations and happy belated Mother’s Day.

    • Thank you! I’ve been crying since this happened πŸ™‚ I feel so blessed and in awe of God’s love for us. I feel like I’ve learned so much more about Him during this crazy journey and the fact that He would choose to adopt us is so humbling. I’m so glad to connect with you!

  5. What a beautiful post! Congratulations on your adoption! I love how you wrote that adoption isn’t winning a competition. But that adoption is a promise. That is so well explained. I am going to share this with some couple I know getting ready to adopt as well. Thank you for sharing your heart!
    Blessings,
    Carrie

    • Thank you, Carrie! I really appreciate you sharing this with them- I hope it encourages your friends as they adopt too. It is a crazy process full of so much emotion and I’ll keep them in my prayers πŸ™‚

  6. Just beautiful. What a treasure that God brought you into your daughters life and you’ve chosen to obey that unique and chosen call to be her mama. Thank you for sharing the journey.

    • Thanks so much, Tiffany! I love how you call this a treasure- that is such a perfect way to describe how I feel about it! I’m so glad to get to share this adventure πŸ™‚

  7. Wow. Wow. Wow. This post touched me in all sorts of ways. You have such a way with words! The emotions were jumping off the page. I’m a crier, and I only usually cry when I’m watching something. But while reading your post, I felt myself tearing up! On one hand, I’m so sad that you have to experience something so difficult, but on the other I’m so thankful that we serve a Savior who decided to adopt us! I’ve never thought about it like that. Wow. Thank you for posting and being open about this journey. My heart and prayers go out to you!

    • Thanks so much, Hanha! I’m so glad this touched you; I’ve been so amazed more and more about how Christ’s sacrifice allows us to be adopted by God. I understood it before, but the depth of all this means feels like it is just starting to sink in more for me and I think the more we learn the more this will continue. I don’t think we’re ever “done” learning it! I’m so glad that I could share this with you!

  8. I was adopted through a closed adoption process at three days of age and by my choice, I have never had any contact with my biological mother. When I was growing up, all of the kids at school would say things like where is your “real mom”, etc. My parents were very open about the fact that my sister and I were adopted and came “from another mommy’s tummy” so it wasn’t like these comments shocked me however, I was unsure of how to respond. Now that I am growing up and seeing my friends with children to me, the definition of a “real mom” is someone who is unconditionally there for you, pushes you to try harder and do better, makes it to all of your dance recitals and soccer games, is up at 3am with you because you are sick and who you can always, no matter how far away you are, count on. My “adoptive” parents have never ever been anything less than real parents to me.

    I am so excited for you and this little girl. I can tell she is going to have a wonderful life with you and the rest of her family!

    Have a fantastic weekend
    Sarah
    http://coffeeandglitter14.blogspot.com/

    • Wow, Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your story! I can’t tell you how much this means to me and how encouraging this is πŸ™‚ I hope to be this of parent to all of our kids, biological or not and love them each to pieces. I’m so glad that your adoption story has been so beautiful and it sounds like you have awesome parents. Our adoption isn’t closed per se just since I know her parents and have been working with them for the past year and a half which is nice in a lot of ways since there isn’t much mystery and she’ll always know that she was adopted. I wish I could spare her that confusion when kids would say “real parents” and just want her to understand that I’m here for her no matter what. I really appreciate your support!

  9. Congratulations! It has to be so hard when you’ve been working towards one end, though secretly hoping for the chance to adopt this little girl who has become such an integral part of your family. Lots of prayers for her birth mom too.

    • Exactly, Stacey! I loved how one of our social workers in training said that if we do this right, we are going to get attached to our foster kids. All kids deserve that kind of love and affection even if it hurts terribly for us. It’s only natural to want to hold on to someone who means so much to you and yet, we’ve wanted to do everything we can to help her and her situation. I feel so blessed that we get to be officially a family now (or at least whenever this is official)!

  10. Oh my goodness, this was beautiful. What a blessing… and congratulations. I will continue to pray for your journey. Happy Belated Mother’s Day.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

    • We really appreciate your prayers, Jennifer! That means so much to us! Thank you too for your Mother’s Day wishes- it was a little extra sweet this year πŸ™‚

  11. I don’t believe there is any such thing as “real” parents. There is love that is stronger than all ties. To say one is real means that there could be another that is “not real”. There are step-parents, grandparents, foster-parents, care-givers…to love a child as your own, even when they are not “your own” is one of God’s greatest gifts…to ourselves as well as to the child. We are all called by God to love everyone as we love ourselves.
    I think your attitude toward the birth mother and your daughter is remarkable and kind and filled with a heart of love. It seems as if God knew exactly what he was doing when he put the three of you on this path.

    • I love your point that to say one is real means that another is not real- it is definitely very binary. I think that is why I’ve been hesitant to say I’m her “real” mom since it negates everyone else in her life and like you said, there are so many cases where kids have so many people who love them and are looking out for them. I question my motivation in wanting to do so because is it simply that I want to posses my little girl fully and crave the validation of our relationship? My concern with that is that this sentiment is far more about me than it is her and this kind of thing never works out so well for the kids… I think that is why I wish there was another term that signified the commitment and love with feel without the loaded-ness of this one, but still we use this for lack of a better word. Thank you too for your encouragement about her bio mom πŸ™‚ God has been so good in this especially as difficult as it all has been. I’m so glad you stopped by!

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