I don’t know what it is like to have biological children. I don’t know if it is different than having Step Kids or Adopted Kids.
But I imagine it is. I hope it is.
For me, the label step mom or adopted mom is just as much as a label as autism, or deaf , or amputee is to someone else: it’s a part of who I am but it doesn’t define who I am, or, who my kids are to me.
Being a step mom to Anthony is a different role than his biological mom has with him, but that doesn’t make it bad or sad or negative. I’m not offended when we are out and somebody refers to me as his mom and he corrects them to step mom. It’s a fact, that’s the role I have in his life. The fact that he’s my step son doesn’t make me love him any less but I think I love him differently than anyone else ever could because nobody else is his step mom, and how can that be wrong? To not acknowledge that step mom is the role I have with him is to ignore his story, his past, his history.
The same could be said about Jonathan, my adoptive son. I am his mom, but sometimes we need to define it as adoptive mom so as to acknowledge where he has come from, his past, his bio parents and his history. There is a culture that comes along with adoption and to ignore it and pretend that it isn’t there would be fooling ourselves and denying him a very important part of his identity. Not all, just a part.
My role with them is just as much a part of defining who they as it is defining who I am. It took me years to reach a point of acceptance and understanding with my role in Anthony’s life. For a very long time I felt because I wasn’t his ‘real’ mom, that I was just a grown up in his life who did mom like things. And that sucked to me. But because of his unconditional love, his respect and finally seeing that he viewed me truly and fully as a mom (he tells me this once in a while – it kills me!) started to help me redefine what being a mom really meant. Ultimately it let me move on after infertility.
At the end of the day we are a family. A mixed up blended mish-mashed family with many roles and many titles and many ways to identify ourselves. It is not like Anthony goes around calling me step mom (he actually calls me Lindsay) or that when Jonathan calls to me he says “Hey Adopted Mom!” (it’s actually Mommy right now).
But what I want you to know about not having biological kids is that I’m not sad about it. At one point I was, but I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if I wasn’t ok with where I am in my life. You may get to experience being pregnant and giving birth and raising your ‘own’ child, but being a step mom and an adoptive mom is something that you may not experience and instead of feeling left out or hurt, I feel privileged and lucky, and I think if you don’t get to experience being a mom in the ways I have that it is you that may be missing out.