For someone who never thought she wanted kids, I certainly have found a love of motherhood that extends beyond biology. I had always thought that I would adopt one day, and I have witnessed the joy and pain friends have suffered going through the adoption process.
I wasn’t planning on having a kid of my own at all, but that surprise blessing changed the direction of my life. While my little one was still a baby, I had a friend with a daughter less than a year older than my own that needed somewhere to stay all of a sudden. I let them into my house and into my heart.
For a few years, I helped raise that sweet girl. I loved her just as much as the daughter I had given birth to. She called me “Mommy Courtney”, and our girls considered each other sisters. Unfortunately, some things happened with my friend, and I had to part ways with her. However, this meant I also had to give up the child that had been like my own for so long. I was devastated knowing that my child was losing a sibling, and I would miss out on all the moments in my other little girl’s life. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I think of her often and send thoughts her way for her to grow into a brilliant and kind young woman. The pain has lessened over the years now, but I still feel like a piece of my heart is out in the world without me.
After going through that, I ended up with a great-niece that was at risk of going into the foster care system if a family member could not take her. My wonderful husband and I went through the whole process of background checks, fingerprints, etc… and the day came when we thought the courts were going to appoint her as our daughter. Then, the judge changed his mind. I can’t describe the feeling of holding that baby girl, bathing her, feeding her, snuggling her while she slept angelically, and preparing my heart to take her on as my own. Then, it was ripped away.
We didn’t even get to see her for two years, and it broke my heart to a million pieces. Our daughter was confused and sad because she thought she was going to have a baby sister and then she was gone. Recently, circumstances changed where we were able to see my great-niece again. But she was a toddler now, wouldn’t remember us from when she was an infant, and I didn’t know if my heart could take the risk again.
Yet, after my first day back with her, the bond seemed exactly the same.
That little girl still holds my heart and despite the uncertainty of knowing if it will last, we take her as much as we can and give her as much love and consistency as possible. I struggle even while I write this post to process the emotions I go through each time we pick her up and drop her back off.
Our daughter is thrilled to have her sister-cousin back in her life as well and watching the two of them together brings us so much joy. I never talked about what I’ve gone through internally through both of these situations with anyone but my husband. Recently, I talked about my great-niece with a good friend, and she let me know it was okay to feel everything I was feeling.
Whether you’re a foster parent, a step-parent, or an adoptive parent, the love can be just as intense and real as if you had created that tiny human with your own genetics. A parent’s love goes beyond biology. Don’t let anyone ever take the power of those feelings from you. Sometimes it is excruciatingly hard, but it is always worth it. Even if we are only a parent to a child for a short time, we may never know the impact of our love on their lives as they grow into adulthood. Embrace all of it and know you are not alone if you have ever prepared yourself to be a parent of a child that ultimately was not meant to be yours.
[quote]Whether you’re a foster parent, a step-parent, or an adoptive parent, the love can be just as intense and real as if you had created that tiny human with your own genetics.[/quote]
Love is a priceless thing, and the world needs more of it. Dare to invest more of your love into the youth that come into your life. The possibilities of its impact are boundless.