‘I went on my first date with my husband on the same day that his divorce was finalized. At first, I didn’t want to date him because he had a kid and I was unemployed at the time. But, I had a strong feeling that he and I really should date and that Connor, his son, was always meant to be my son. After we got married, Connor’s birth mother moved out of the state. My husband already had primary custody and Connor was barely three years old.
Connor’s birth mother got pregnant by someone else while I was pursuing legally adopting him. I’ve worked hard for the past five years to establish a friendship with Connor’s birth mother. I’ve also done his genealogy so Connor can know who his maternal grandparents are and can be connected to where he comes from. I may have adopted her son but he needs to know where he comes from. When I got pregnant with our first child, Connor thought that I had given birth to him and I decided that I can’t let him believe that. He needs to know who his birth mother is. Their relationship isn’t as close as I would like it to be but she is progressing in her own way. Connor calls me Mom and he calls his birth mother by her first name.
The adoption allowed his birth mother to interact with Connor on terms that take all pressure off of her. She doesn’t have any child support responsibilities. She doesn’t have to do anything and she can see him whenever she wants to or needs to and, in return for that understanding, I get to provide him with all the support he needs. My grandfather was a stepfather to four of my aunts and uncles. He’d say, ‘I may not be their physical father, but I am their emotional father. So, by the same token, I may not be Connor’s physical mother, but I am his emotional mother.
I had my own painful upbringing and I feel the need to make sure that Connor doesn’t get hurt by things that are not in his control. When parents get divorced and the child ends up in the middle, it can do so much damage. It has been a miracle that we’ve been able to protect him. Sometimes, I wonder if I did the right thing. I believe that Connor’s mother recognized that, even if it might have been painful for her to sign the papers to let me adopt him, it was the best thing for him. I’ve never sought to take him away from her. There will always be the understanding that she is welcome in Connor’s life. The door is always open for her to be in his life when she wants to be.’