I ask my daughter quite often if I am her favorite mom. She always squeals yes. I ask her when I am tickling her little toes or when I am brushing her long, beautiful hair. I ask her in a playful manner and she replies the same way. In the back of my mind, I wonder why I ask, and I wonder if I am prepared for the day when that might not be true.
My daughter is adopted. Her birth mother chose my husband and me to raise her. She went through reams of profile books, stacks of videos, and numerous calls with her social worker to make sure we were the right fit.
We have an open adoption. For us, that means we send her birth mother monthly emails of our daughter’s progress, complete with photos. We offer quarterly Skype calls. We have bi-annual visits.
Our daughter will be 4 in the spring. We use the word adoption in everyday conversation and when we meet with her birth mother, we never make a secret about who she is. However, she is too young to understand right now that she grew in her belly and not in mine.
One day she will understand. And I am so scared for that day. I do not want to deprive her of a relationship with her birth mother, but I also want to make sure that she knows that I am her mother, too. She does not need say that I am her favorite or that she loves me more—she just needs to know how much of my heart she has, even if she does not share my DNA.
I had a daughter before this one. She died in my womb before she had a chance to be born. I miss that daughter dearly and wonder often what kind of young girl she would be. She would be 6 this year, with her whole life ahead of her. I would not have had to share her with anyone. Sometimes I resent the fact that I have to share my living daughter with the woman who gave birth to her. I know it is in her best interest, but selfishly, I want to be the only mom in her life.
However, for my daughter, I know we did the right thing. Navigating the waters of open adoption can be tricky, but it’s so good for the child. It’s also good for her birth mother. We are doing what she could not and can rest comfortably knowing she did the best she could. Because she did.
I know it won’t always be tickles and squeals between my daughter and me. It certainly wasn’t for my mom and me. As she grows older, there will be days when we will fight and when we will disagree. I can’t imagine she will be thrilled with the idea of a curfew, and you can bet her dad will be the one to teach her how to drive! I will not always be her favorite mom, but I will always be her mom. She will always be my daughter, and I will always love her unconditionally. There is no question about that.