Today I was referred to as an “adopter” and not as the “mother” to my adopted children simply because I am not blood related to them. Let me explain something…
Family is a social construct. It is not determined by DNA or genetic similarities in definition or in action. It is simply defined as a group of people living together in relation. Not by relation. If we were to view motherhood simply as a genetic roll we would be missing out on everything beautiful, and difficult, and self sacrificing that defines the roll. Simply birthing a child does not a mother make entirely.
Mothering is also a verb.
Mothering is waking up at 2.00am to calm a child who has a nightmare and then again at 3.00am because another child needs a diaper change. It it sleeping poorly due to the six-year-old in the middle of the bed constantly kicking you in the face at night. It is learning to survive on coffee and leftover mac and cheese, and describing puberty to preteens. It is learning to play video games that you hate so you can connect with your children, and it is sacrificing a career to stay at home to help with homework, make dinner, and taxi kids to and from activities.
Mothering is laying awake in the darkness of night worrying about your kid who is bullied at school or praying that insurance covers the surgeries your daughter needs. It is holding off on vacations because the mental health of your children can not handle spontaneous travel or being away from home, and it is wearing clothing from ten years ago because clothing your child comes before style for yourself.
Mothering is about learning patience, self control, and how to talk about difficult issues with children who experienced those issues much too soon for their tiny lives. It is about loving a child, birthed through you, or to you, with such immense emotion that you would do anything to protect them for their entire lives, period.
Blood does not create this connection.
Love creates this connection.
Blood simply states a closer chemical relation. Love is a choice. Mothering is a choice. It is a choice that I and so many other mothers of biological or adopted children choose every day and every night. We choose them and that makes us mothers.
*I am in no way stating that biological mothers who are not raising their child are not, in any way, mothers. I am simply stating that my definition of motherhood encompasses more than biology. I have much love for birth mothers and respect each story and point of view. This is my point of view.