Keeping It Real
Blessings from a birth mother allow me to be a mom.
by Allison Dellinger
WELL, IT HAPPENED — right in the middle of the Fuzzy’s Taco Shop restroom. I was completely caught off guard. I had been waiting for this moment for five years; but in all honesty, I thought I had another year or two before it would happen. In the wildest part of my imagination, when I considered how this scene would play out, I never once entertained the notion that a public restroom would be our backdrop. I pictured the two of us, a few more years down the road, in the kitchen baking cookies together. I expected there to be some build up in the conversation, a slight warning to organize my thoughts and prepare my words, but there was none of that. No sweet smell of vanilla filling the air, no tender conversation leading the way, and no more time to prepare.
As I was lifting my 5-year old daughter so she could reach the faucet and wash her hands, I thought I misheard what she had said so I asked her to repeat herself, to which she simply and matter-of-factly asked again, “Where is my real mommy?”
And there it was, the word I never anticipated, shot out into the stillness of an otherwise empty restroom, circling my head before slightly nicking my heart. Real.
Just as casually as she had asked, I answered her question with, “I’m right here, Sweetie.”
This answer didn’t satisfy Vivie, so she pressed on with frustration lacing her tone, “No. My real mommy, the one I grew inside of.”
I put my daughter on her feet and knelt down so that we were eye to eye and I said, “Vivie, I’m your real mommy. I’m the mommy who is really here right now taking care of you every single day. I’m the mommy God wanted to be with you while you grow. Your other mom is your birth mom, and I honestly don’t know where she is. What I do know is that God loves you and her very much and so do I. I also know that your birth mom loves you in the best way that she knows how.”
Vivie seemed to accept my answer and without missing a beat, she changed the subject to less important matters, all the while completely oblivious to how she just wholly rocked my world … my world, the one in which I’m her only real mother.
Real mommy. The phrase lingered like a rude uninvited guest. I wondered where Vivie had heard that phrase and why she hadn’t used it to describe me, the only mother she has known. After all, I’m the mother who changed her diapers and answered her cries in the night. I’m the mother who snuggled her in warm, soft blankets and rocked her to sleep. I’m the mother who picks her up when she falls, dresses her boo boos with princess bandages, and kisses away the tears. I’m the mother who tells her about Jesus and reminds her every single day that she is a gift from the Lord. I’m her real mother.
Real … genuine, not counterfeit or fake
Vivie’s birth mother chose to carry Vivie to term in a world that constantly reminds us with its benign language that unplanned or inconvenient pregnancies can be terminated with a so-called simple procedure. Over the course of nine months, the birth mother watched her belly expand and felt Vivie’s first kicks and somersaults. She endured the contractions and pushed through the labor to bring Vivie into this world. The birth mother heard Vivie’s first cries and inhaled the sweetness of Vivie’s freshly washed newborn head. It was in those first hours following Vivie’s birth that her birth mother made the decision to place her for adoption. Those were some very real experiences … some very real moments of my daughter’s life that I missed and that someone else shared with her, some other mother, some other real mother.
Clearly, God has a plan for Vivie’s life, and part of His plan allowed Vivie to have two mothers — one who was blessed to birth her, and the other who is blessed to raise her. We’ve both experienced real moments in her life. I’m keenly aware that had it not been for Vivie’s other mother, I wouldn’t know the sweet joy of also being her mother.
I don’t need to fall into the trappings of this world that undermine my role in Vivie’s life. Whether one of her little friends refers to her birth mother as her real mother, it doesn’t change who I am to Vivie and it doesn’t change my love and gratitude I feel for her other mother.
She and I may not have anything in common outside of Vivie, but my love for our daughter and Jesus’ love for us all will bridge any gap between the two of us.
Allison Dellinger and her husband, George, are the proud parents of four children. Allison is a freelance writer and is currently penning a memoir about the experiences her family shared when they answered God’s calling to adopt.
This article originally appeared in HomeLife magazine (October 2018). For more articles like this, subscribe to HomeLife.