She Wants to be a Mom

She Wants to be a Mom

   My daughter, Alyssa, graduated from kindergarten a few days ago. I curled her hair and let her wear Chap Stick for the grand occasion. I helped her put on the little cap and gown and then I found a place with my family to watch her walk across the stage to get her diploma. There were the usual welcoming remarks followed by a slideshow. Each child had several pictures that her or his family had provided followed by a snapshot of them holding a chalkboard sign proclaiming what they want to be when they grow up. There were doctors, veterinarians and bull riders (we are in small town Texas after all). I expected Alyssa’s to say hair stylist or Elsa. Instead, it said mom. I heard the room sigh as the audience read that simple word. I imagine the others in the room thought it was sweet and cute for her to give that as an answer. I teared up as I stared at the screen though because I know what that word means to my baby girl.
Alyssa Kindergarten Graduation
Alyssa Kindergarten Graduation
   I was never the little girl who dreamed of growing up to be a mom. I spent more time riding horses than playing with Barbies. When I was assigned the home economics doll in high school, I used it as a football and cracked the battery case. And yet, being a parent has been a key part of my identity for the past decade. Today, I am one of Alyssa’s two moms. She has a birth mother whose parental rights were terminated by the state for abusing and neglecting her children. She also has me. I was her foster mother for almost two years before my husband and I adopted her.

Alyssa was only two and a half years old when she came to us but she had already lived through more than most adults. This tiny little child was so full of rage that she would scream for hours. She didn’t speak but would flip people off if she did not like them. She hit me, kicked me, and spit in my face. She broke anything she could and sometimes hurt herself when she was angry. I spent countless hours sitting on the floor with her in my lap, holding her while she screamed. I also walked away frustrated many times. There have been moments when I completely rocked it and helped her work through the grief of being abandoned by her first family. There have been other times when I completely failed and did not react with the compassion she needed in that moment. Through the ups and downs, I have stayed though because I believe that family is forever and real love stays even when it’s hard.

Through the ups and downs, I have stayed because I believe family is forever and real love stays even when it’s hard.

Family and love were foreign concepts for my daughter when I met her. She had been bounced around between unhealthy homes and shelters. She had experienced loss and hunger and absolute fear. She had no reason to suspect when she came here that our home would be any different. Even after our adoption, Alyssa would ask several times each day if I was still her mom. She does that less now but that fear of abandonment still rears its ugly head sometimes when she gets in trouble and she goes back to being the scared little girl who believes no one really wants her. In those moments she occasionally asks if I will still be her mom as if I might disappear while she takes a timeout in the corner. “Always and forever” I tell her. “No matter what you do, we are family and family is forever.”

   I’m just an ordinary mom. I’m way too busy and I burn dinner more often than I should. My house is messy and I couldn’t find a pair of matching socks to save my life but somehow, in all of that, my little girl found a definition of family different than the one that she was born into. As her picture flashed across that screen, I sat in amazement at how far she has come. The little girl who came to me so broken, now has an idea of what it means to be a part of a family and actually dreams of having her own someday.
kindergarten graduation
Me with my graduate

I don’t know what the future holds for Alyssa.  She still struggles with her past and her special needs add additional challenges to her future.  I do know that she overcame the odds and learned to love in spite of the pain.  Alyssa wants to be a mom and I couldn’t be more proud.

Let’s keep talking about adoption in the comments or on Facebook and Instagram.  How did you know when you were finally getting through to your child? Are you still in the mess and needing encouragement? I want to hear from you too.

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6 Comments

  • Chasing Pure Simplicity
    June 20, 2015 4:45 pm

    When our children come from unique places, with their own (sometimes ugly) back stories, it can be so hard. But, the reward! The redemption of ourselves through them and through Christ… It's so worth it.

    I often wish I could put the experience into better words, so others would actually follow the path, or walk the path along with us, without seeing it as a burden.

    Alyssa is total light, to all around her! I'm so glad she and Anna have each other… They are a beautiful example of what love can do, what it can change….

    Beautiful words!

    http://www.chambersadoption.blogspot.com

  • Ashley
    May 24, 2017 4:14 pm

    This was such a beautiful and touching post. You are such an inspiration! There are so many wonderful children out there that need a good home like yours! Thank you!

  • Ashly J
    May 24, 2017 11:09 pm

    Inspiring! Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for opening up your heart and home.

  • rochelle
    May 25, 2017 7:26 am

    This is truly beautiful. The heart of foster and adoptive moms takes my breath away. I always think I’d like to foster but am scared I don’t have what it takes.

  • Stephanie Lowry
    May 25, 2017 8:20 am

    Okay, I’m not crying *wipes tear soaked cheeks* I, like you, took in my neice and nephew when they were only 12 months and 2 years old. They came from the unimaginable and through a year of absolute love and affection, reassurances, tempers, tantrums, and night terrors we got them to a point where we can say they are happy, secure, and well, children! We have had them 4 years now. I have to say, you and your husband are wonderful, it is no easy task. The fact that she wrote those three letters on her board announcing she’d like to be a mom speaks tremendously for the job you and your spouse have done for her and how much it means to her. Afterall, you are her hero in every sense of the word.

  • Amanda Rinehart
    May 25, 2017 2:26 pm

    Beautiful. She’s beautiful. You’re beautiful. I love this. You need to submit it to Scary Mommy, Huffpost, Her View from Home, all the big mommy blogs. I haven’t ever adopted but I have worked as a Guardian ad Litem and I understand (at least a little) how meaningful this is. I’m so glad your little has found a forever family. <3

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