What makes a mom? My non-traditional journey into motherhood as a foster parent has brought out many insecurities, but when you are called to motherhood there is no escaping it.
I’ve always wanted to be a mom. As a kid I found so much joy working in the nursery or playing with the younger siblings of my friends. I loved their innocence, the way they spoke with no filter and the way I seemed to forget about any worries while getting on their level and playing in their world.
Correy and I were married in 2014 and shared the desire to start a family. However, after a couple years it became clear that it was not happening on its own. The combination of increasingly painful menstrual cycles and two suspected early miscarriages in 2017 brought me to a laparoscopy that gave me an endometriosis diagnosis.
All of this was heartbreaking to the depths of my soul as that desire to become a mother persisted. While adoption was something I had always felt would be part of my story, the initial vision was that it would be paired alongside biological children. Regardless of how my vision seemed to be unreachable, I continued to hold on to my dream of being a mother.
Being Seen as a “Mom” for the First Time
When there is something deep inside you, it is a profound moment when someone else calls it out and names it. This happened to me in the simplest of ways with a friend I didn’t even know very well during time together about things completely unrelated to motherhood.
Correy and I had just celebrated our 6th anniversary in 2020 and during that dinner together we confirmed our vision for fostering and pursuing our license. I shared a long sappy facebook post of our marriage journey mentioning this vision. This opened the door for questions and encouragement from our community.
One evening, we were meeting with friends for the first time and had shared a little bit about fostering. Sarah had been reading a book called “Risen Motherhood”. As she spoke about it she said something along the lines of “It was so good. You’re a mom, you should read it too.” It was that simple. Without even really thinking, she named that core desire of my heart and brought it to life. We had not had any children in our care yet and were not licensed. We had not even done our initial enrollment at this point. But Sarah had heard that desire in my heart and identified me as a “mom.”
Entering motherhood through this nontraditional journey has brought out so many insecurities and questions.
“At what point did I become a mom? When we said yes to our first placement? When the kids entered our house?”
“Am I still a mom if these kids go home and our house is empty of children again?”
“Am I less of a mom because I haven’t had a newborn?”
“Will I always feel like I’m missing out on an important part of motherhood because I haven’t experienced pregnancy?”
The questions may seem silly, but for anyone that has struggled with infertility they can be so real. The reality is that so many of us are born with the desire to be a mother, and there is more than one way to fulfill that desire.
Whether you are a mom with biological children, have adopted kids, are a foster parent, a step-parent, a safe person to the neighborhood kids, a teacher of many kids, an involved aunt to your biological family or the kids of your friends : all of these roles can make you a mother.
What makes a mother? A mother pours their heart into a child with love, affection, and care. Regardless of what it looks like for you, acting in that role makes you a mother and that can never be taken from you.