An adoptive mother is an embracer, not only of the child with many hugs and kisses but of the child's heritage and history even when it's different from her own. She embraces her child's past with strength for herself and for the child. An adoptive mother is someone special.
The Adoption Process
Adoption is most often thought of as a situation where a biological parent or parents determine that a child would be better off with another family.
They surrender their parental rights, sometimes to an anonymous couple or, in a private adoption, to a family they've met and have approved.
Adoption can also occur when a parent remarries — called a "stepparent" adoption when the new spouse legally assumes responsibility for and rights to the child. It's called a "second parent" or "co-parent" adoption when the parents are a same-sex couple. In either case, the other biological parent must sign off on and legally relinquish her parental rights and responsibilities first if she is still living before the stepparent or second parent adoption can be finalized.
Adoptive mothers — and adoptive parents in general — must typically pass background checks and home studies. Income and marital status are not usually considerations or subject to requirements.
Being an Adoptive Mother
Being an adoptive mother is not for every woman. You must possess not only a natural mother's instinct but an understanding and appreciation of the situation that brought the child to you.
The bond between an adoptive mother and her child grows over time, just as the child grew within his first mother's womb. Day by day, touch by touch, and with each memory, they become a family.
Adoptive mothers know that they're menders of wounds — not just of physical skinned knees but of hearts. An adoptive mother gives love, acceptance and permission to ask and talk about the day the child was born and about his first parent or parents.
An adoptive mother is a memory-keeper. You might consider keeping details of the birth, photos of the hospital, and photos of the parents who brought the child into the world, along with the newspaper clipping that announced it all. Maybe you could create a special book that tells the whole story when your child is ready to understand it.
Of course, adoptive mothers are a lot like biological mothers. They're experts at finding lost objects, but they also understand and validate the profound, deep loss that can be left by a missing parent or parents, whether it's a stepparent or third party adoption. She allows the tears to fall and grief to be felt as the child mourns a mom or parent who is no longer there. She is secure in knowing that she's not a replacement, but rather a finisher of a race for someone who, for whatever reason, could not run any longer.
This role is not for the weak of spirit, nor the easily wounded. Loving, nurturing and raising a child not biologically born to her is her calling. She is a mother.