Often when we run into old acquaintances, or meet someone new, the topic of Ethan’s adoption will come up. (Mostly because Ellie still loves to talk about how he’s “stuck to us” and she’ll bring it up with anyone and everyone, so I feel the need to fill in some of the details.) Inevitably, they will ask one of the following questions, or something like it: “Where is his “real mom”?” or “Is there any chance his “real mom” could come back into the picture?” I generally say something like, “Nope! He’s ours forever!” or “His birth mother’s rights were terminated. So he’s not going anywhere!”
But what I want to say is: “Can we define “Real Mom”? His “real mom” is the woman that brought him home from the hospital, the one who fed him countless times in the middle of the night. She’s the one that has changed thousands of diapers, and fed, bathed and clothed him every day of his life. She was overjoyed to see his first smiles and will never forget the first time he laughed. His “real mom” is the person that swaddled him, brags about how sweet and intelligent he is, takes him on walks, and pushes him in the swing. She’s the one that has rocked him to sleep and sung him lullabies as many as 4 times a day for the past almost 9 months. His “real mom” reads him books. She talks to him in funny voices and makes silly faces and generally looks like a fool all without caring a single ounce about what the other people near her at the grocery store think. Because those things make him smile and giggle. She is the one he looks for when he needs comfort. She has kissed his chubby cheeks hundreds of times every day. Ethan’s “real mom” is the one that waited and prayed for years for him to join her family, and knew her prayers were answered the day his adoption was finalized. I’M his “real mom”, thank you very much.”
Obviously, this would not be an appropriate response. I know those who ask are just genuinely curious about his background (which is really not their business anyway) and don’t mean to offend. It’s just happened so often lately that I’m tired of it.
I like to think I have a little more patience with this now. I haven’t gotten worked up at all, despite having this same conversation over and over again lately. But still, please be careful with the words you use with adoptive familes. The correct term would be something like “Birth Mother” or “Biological Mother”. A lot of people use the term “Natural Mother”, which I also don’t like. It feels like that makes me the “Unnatural Mother”.