Monday, March 5, 2018

You're Not Even My Real Mom

"I hate living here," he shouted through the bathroom door. "All you think about is YOU. And you're not even my REAL mom."

I knew this day would come. I remember talking about it with Rebekah, months after Ty was born. I was an emotional teenager once who didn't understand why my parents were bent on standing in my way or dousing my love-struck heart with buckets of ice water.

His words still felt like a punch to the heart and arrived a few years earlier than predicted.

He knows me better than any of his siblings. He's thoughtful and perceptive. He rubs my back when he feels tension and sits in the kitchen while I'm cooking, so I don't have to be alone.

He's almost nine and this year has brought more questions than any of the years before.

One notable change is his relationship with Rebekah.

For eight years, Ty loved Rebekah through me. We would talk and visit but his interaction with her was really an overflow from my friendship, not his. This year has been different. After too many low-battery sitter situations, we added a cell phone to our plan to act as our family house phone. Rebekah's number was one of six that we programmed in. Ty started his communication journey with misspelled text messages that ended with heart eyes and poop emojis, but over several months he grew into asking for regular phone call privileges.

At the dinner table, he'll fill us in on all the doings in Colorado and takes great pride in being the first to know. Here and there, I've had hits of sadness that have nothing to do with their conversations, but everything to do with his maturity and independence.

I can't help but think about how different our life would be if we had acted on our fear and distanced Rebekah from our hearts and life. I get teary thinking about it.

When Ty gets a perfect score on a math test and picks up the phone to share his news, my heart doubles in size. When he puts the phone back and tells me he's the luckiest kid on the planet for having two moms, I thank God for guiding us past boundaries.

It's not perfect, but nothing is.

Watching an eight year old process loss and long for people he doesn't see often enough is hard, but unloading eighteen years of pain in a single conversation would be harder.

Having multiple moms is messy business and we each have to work through the pain that passes through our part. While Ty grows into a story so much bigger than he is, there are going to be days of harsh words and accusing questions. Today, it was directed toward me, tomorrow it might be her.

We have to stand together as moms and remember where our confidence lies...certainly not within the capricious hearts of our self-serving children.

I have to fight failure monsters, knowing that many of Ty's outcries are fixed to time that's hard to give in a family of seven. Rebekah's monsters feed on guilt and make her wonder whether or not she deserves his attention at all.

However hairy it may be, we'll never stop wrestling for love. Love for God; love for each other; and love for a little boy that is still discovering both.

Love will time.


  1. I love your heart! Even in the best circumstances, adoption is messy and hard. Our God who is love itself is bigger than the mess. Thanks for giving me a little inspiration to keep loving through the pain and joys of today.

  2. Oh Rebekah. I feel like this may be me someday. As my daughter (adopted at birth) doesn't have cell phone privileges yet, her eyes light up when we talk about her birthmom and birth sister. Especially when we announce an upcoming visit with them. Keep your head up and know you are the best mother for your little guys.

  3. There's definately a lot to learn about this topic.
    I love all the points you made.

  4. Beautiful. so true. my girl is also almost 9 and has seasons of hard times. Every time I have a friend beginning adoption journey I say "You have to accept that you'll never be enough. You'll always be the brunt of them processing their loss because you're safe". But man it's hard.
    We're beginning foster journey, and will have to toughen up even more. But man, those babies are so so worth it.

  5. Adoption is hard. Man alive. My son is also 8 and just started to ask questions about his adoption "did you get me from the orphanage?" "did you know what my name was when you got me" "the lady that had me, what was her name?" We do not have the relationship you have with Ty's BM, I kind of wish we did and then I am also glad we don't to be honest. It's so hard, I don't know if not knowing her will be easy or not knowing her will be harder in the coming years. We are so open about his adoption. It helps he has friends who are adopted and his cousin is adopted. My son asked her name the other night and asked if his name used to be Noland blank blank (birth mom's first and last name) bless his heart. it's a winding, curving, unending road we are on, but I would not trade it for the world. Our kids will be okay. We will be okay. Praying for Ty's heart and your mama heart. -Heather

  6. We went through that when our boy got his own phone and had freedom to communicate with his birth mom whenever he wanted. Unfortunately she wasn’t consistent and I don’t think it fulfilled the desires of his heart. She died last year the day before his 15th birthday. Now he (and us) have to deal with what could have been.