Most moms are their children’s first. Most most moms conceive, grow, and birth their children the “old-fashioned” way. But me, I am my children’s second mom.
You see, when your child was adopted, you didn’t meet them until after they were born. You don’t share their physical features. The child doesn’t yet know your voice, your scent, or your heartbeat. It’s a unique, bittersweet moment, when your child leaves the arms of her first/birth/biological/natural mother and is softly set into your arms, and your heart.
I’m not a “great mom” because I adopted my children. There is a misconception that parents like me, parents who adopt, are saviors of poor children who “need a good home.” Our children are often deemed “lucky” to have been adopted but truly, I am the lucky one.
Though I am not a great mom because I chose to adopt, I am a great mom because I was chosen. My children weren’t accidents, as in, oops, we had unprotected sex and wound up pregnant… again. My children’s first parents selected me, carefully, among a stack of glossy profile books of hopeful adoptive couples, to be THE one.
There’s not falling into this role. Everything about my motherhood was intentional, which started in a hospital bed over eleven years ago. After a year-and-half bought of mysterious and debilitating illness, my husband took me to the ER where I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a chronic, autoimmune disease. I was in a state called DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis) in which my body had gone toxic. My blood sugar was 700, seven times the norm. I was dying.
A few days later, after forty-eight hours on an insulin drip in the ICU, I was greeted by a somber Diabetes Nurse Educator who told me first, I was very, very fortunate to be alive. And second, asked me and my husband if we planned to have children. It was then that I knew, without a doubt, that we would adopt. I was not going to put my body through hell or put my unborn baby at risk, for the sake of biology.
Saying yes to adopt was that easy for me. But the adoption journey, anything but easy.
Fourteen months after our home study was complete (that means interviews, background checks, paperwork, a home inspection, medical examinations, and fingerprinting) and after about fifteen profile showings where we weren’t chosen to adopt a baby, we got THE phone call. We were parents to a baby girl who had been born that morning. And in a matter of moments, I became a mother.
The past several years have been a whirlwind as we opened our heart and home and were chosen three more times. First, for a baby girl. Then two years after that, our son. And four years later, another daughter.
Blessing, upon blessing, upon blessing. Four babies in eight years. Amidst the pain of my body failing me, there was joy. Four first mothers thought I would be an awesome mother.
I take the responsibility of motherhood quite seriously. Because motherhood didn’t come easily and because I made promises to my kids’ first mothers that I would be the mother our babies needed. I would be brave, resilient, kind, empathetic, encouraging, supportive, and most of all, loving. I would not only provide for the children’s basic needs, but I would dish out praise and healing and grace for all of my years. We would vacation. We would seek the best schools. We would provide a happy, comfortable home, a big family, and a diverse group of friends.
I am honored to be the one my children call mom. It’s an incredible privilege and humbling honor, one I do not take lightly. Being chosen encourages me to be great: to be the mom my children’s first parents want me to be. To be the mom my children need me to be.
Being a great mom isn’t something I chose. Instead, someone chose it for me. And for that, I am forever grateful.