You’re Not My Real Mom

10 May

All kids have a line that they love to throw at their parents.  One they know will really sting.  A verbal smack, if you will.  And like many adopted kids, Sweet Pea knows the one that hurts the most.

You’re not my real mom.

Whammo.  Like a dagger to the heart.

My response?  “I know.”

I mean, what else is there to say, really?   Because she means I’m not her birthmother, and she’s right.  I’m not.  I didn’t pee on a stick and see the happy little plus sign.  I didn’t carry her in my belly for 9 months.  I didn’t suffer through morning sickness, or have ridiculous cravings, or waddle around with my hand on my back.  I didn’t labor to bring her into this world.  I’ll never know what that feels like, and it breaks my heart.  I don’t have a memory of that moment where the doctor held her up and said “It’s a girl!” and I cried and laughed and brought her to my chest for her first meal.  There are no pictures of me in the hospital bed, looking exhausted and yet elated. 

But there is a girl in this world who has those memories.  She carried my Sweet Pea, and delivered her to us.  And where her memories end, mine begin. 

Memories of an infant, hours old, laying on a warmer, staring at us with giant brown eyes as if to say “Who are you, and what have you done with my mother?”  We took her from the only thing she knew in this world.  And yes, we brought her to a wonderful nursery in a wonderful home with wonderful grandparents and aunts and uncles…but it was all new and different.  New smells, new sounds, new heartbeats…

I believe she knew.  And I believe it hurt.  It still hurts.  She misses her birthmother.  There is a connection between a person and the woman who carried her that is unparalleled, and Sweet Pea needs that connection.  

I can be many things for Sweet Pea.  I can witness all her firsts, and cheer her on, and hold her when she cries, and take her to get her ears pierced, and read her bedtime stories, and hold her hand when she falls asleep.  I can stay up all night when she’s sick, and make her breakfast every morning, and take her to Disney World. 

But I can never be her birthmother.  And she can never be my birthchild.

And for that, on this Mother’s Day, I’m in mourning.


10 Responses to “You’re Not My Real Mom”

  1. Erin May 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    This post absolutely breaks my heart! And I have nothing to say in response because I don’t have this experience. Yes, I went through the labor of bringing Emma into this world and I’ll go through it again to bring Peyton. However, the adopting mom is very sacred and deserves to be celebrated as much as us “real” moms. You CHOSE to be Abigail’s parent. You made a sacrifice a lot of people aren’t willing to make, even those “real” moms. Abigail is incredibly lucky to have you and one day she’ll realize it and thank you and we’ll see a pot that is obviously soaked with your tears! It’s true that the bond between a birth mother and child is unlike any other – but the bonds that matter so much more now are the ones that you get to experience. Abigail has someone who stands by her and up for her every day of her life. That, too, is a bond unlike any other and one that is very rare. Don’t sell yourself short just because you’re not the birth mother – a lot of people can be a mother, but very few can be “mommy.”

  2. Laurie May 10, 2010 at 4:43 pm #


    As an adopted child, can I say that all that might not necessarily be true? I think we know how best to hurt our parents, but just because we say it doesn’t mean that we really think it. I have always known that I was adopted and it has always, honestly always, felt like a huge gift. I was wanted 100%. My parents went to a lot of trouble to get me, as I’m sure you did. My mom asks me every so often, “Don’t you want to find your birth mother?” But honestly, I have a mom. She’s the only mom I’ve ever known and I have only curiosity about the other. If I ever do meet her, I’ll tell her thank you for giving me up and that I hope that she has had a great life too. Not in a snarky way – but honestly, I’m so thankful she didn’t keep me (18 and unmarried) and I really truly hope that she has had a wonderful life. But she isn’t my mother and she never could be.

    Maybe you didn’t give birth to your daughter, but you are her mother. Most definitely. And somewhere out there is a woman who gave birth to a girl who is not her daughter.And my bet is that your daughter knows that too.

  3. Meg May 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    Love you! Totally know where you are coming from. Also know this is just the tip of the iceberg on this topic… keep going!

  4. nglass May 10, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    Katie, I DO know what you mean, and still there are no answers. Kids hear you say that the birthmother loved you so much that she wanted you to have a life she couldn’t give you–But THEY DON’T BUY IT. How about this one–why did she give ME away, but not my brother or sister? Any answers out there? One day it’ll be easier for you, I hope. Adolescence isn’t for sissies after all. Still, I feel my daughter’s pain when she sends letters that are not answered….every year @ birthday time. But I AM HER MOM, just as YOU ARE ABIGAIL’S–you have shown it with your courage, faith, and STEADFASTNESS thro every challenge–THAT’S what makes you a Mom.

  5. GG May 10, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    Katy, you have given Sweet Pea all that her birth mother could not and would not have given her. Someday Sweet Pea will understand that.

  6. Dia May 11, 2010 at 12:36 am #

    There are many things that make a mommy, the least of which is biology. I hope you both find peace. You may not share DNA, but you share your LIFE. Love you.

  7. Jessica May 13, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    heartbreaking. So beautiful. You are every bit a mother as any of us who carried our own. All that you do for Sweet Pea is by definition “a mother”.

  8. anymommy May 16, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    I love you and this open, honest, love you have for her.

  9. PK July 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    She is testing your authority.
    What she’s really saying (in my opinion) is that you don’t have the right to control or parent her- more than likely because she just doesn’t like what you are saying. And that is not true. If you believe God brought you to her and her to you, then you must believe that God gave you that authority to be her parent.

    Maybe I’m wrong. since I am not that close to the situation, it’s hard to say… But possibly I have some objectivity as well?

    I think the better response is “I’m not your birthmom, but I am your real mom.”
    It’s a little confrontational and I’m sure you don’t want to step on her feelings but sometimes- esp as they start getting into these mouthy ‘tween years- you have to put your foot down.

  10. Heather February 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    You are your DD’s mother. You (and your husband) adopted this glorious child into your family, just as Christ himself has adopted you into His family. God’s plan is perfect. The very hairs of your head are numbered by God. He cares very much about you and your family.

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