(Updated from an earlier post from 2012! There is a fairy above our heads in the picture above, but no pun was intended!)
When you are in a same sex marriage with an adopted son, this is a question that is bound to come up. I have not read the books and I don’t know who I can believe when they say they are an expert; so my plan from the beginning has been to just wing it when pressed to answer this type of question. And by winging it, I mean to be as honest as possible, with occasional evasiveness.
“You have a birth mom.” This is how I refer to the woman that grew my son in her belly for 8 1/2 months. She is not his mom, I have been the one doing all of the traditional mom jobs in my son’s life. But she did give birth to him. I may mention the other children she gave birth to (five others), who she did not raise, as a way to make him feel better should he wonder why she gave him up for adoption.
And he knows we are his parents. Any questions that arise are not to put distance in our relationship, but rather, just to answer his own queries (again, no pun intended) as to how we all came together. And he loves us and is completely part of our family, just as much as we are part of his. But he has two dads and no mom. So whatever comes along, there will always be that tiny bit of difference for him. I am grateful that in this day and age there are other children with two dads. And two moms. And several single parents in our school who are single and parents by choice, some through adoption, some through artificial insemination. I use these examples to point out to my son that all families are different. Thankfully there are many adopted kids in our school and many families that came together in different ways. My concern is always that my son not feel different, that he stands out because his family is not the traditional “norm,” We talk about how our family is different, and that many other families that we know are also different. Then I confuse him by telling him that we are all the same, because we are all different!
And he was the best man at our wedding!
Only one situation, so far, in almost 17 years, has arisen for us that was awkward, when a boy at school told our son he had to have a mother. There was a big scuffle between all of the families, and then we found out the kid was just referring to the fact that a woman has to be the one to give birth. We overreacted, because we are overprotective! And then0we apologized for assuming the worst.
Next (Horrible) Question– can I see my birth mom? No. No way. Not ever. Over my dead body.
Of course that is just in my head, I am not perfect, I have some fears resting in the back of my insecure brain. But, out loud, I say of course, when you are 18. “Why 18?” Because when you are 18 she cannot steal you away from us! Again, I do not say that out loud, but that is the fear in me, and in many adopted parents’ minds. I tell him 18 because that is when he is legally an adult. He has not pressed me for more information yet on that score, but I know that he needs some amount of maturity that turning 18 will (hopefully) bring, to face such an emotional situation. My philosophy is: the truth is important, I want to support all his needs, and I get to decide when he is ready to handle this part of his personal history. Because I am his parent.
So I will just continue to stalk her via social media until my son turns 18! It’s less expensive then hiring a personal detective! Shh, don’t tell him!