She Didn’t Give Birth To Me, But For All Intents And Purposes, She’s MY Mom

She Didn’t Give Birth To Me, But For All Intents And Purposes, She’s MY Mom

She didn't give birth to me, she didn't get to raise me, but she got to be there when it was important.

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I've told the story about how my relationship with my biological parents, religion, and foster care came into place, but I never told the story about how I found the parental love I had been lacking. Being adopted to me was a foreign concept. Along with being in foster care, being adopted wasn't on my list of priorities, since I had been neglected by my own biological mother and was corrupted by my biological father. I didn't need them, nor did I need any new parents.

My first set of foster parents weren't the best. They didn't value me as who I am but rather who they could make me be. I met Dave and Dana through the church my first family attended. It wasn't like an instant connection, but I got to visit their household, where I truly felt at home. It wasn't until many months later when my first family didn't work out and I was fortunate enough to be transferred into their home. Saying I'm lucky is an understatement.

I never knew what it was like to experience motherly-love. To have a mother that wasn't constantly yelling at me, trying to fix me, neglecting me, or wishing I was someone else. Dana taught me so many things that come with being a mother.

Unconditional love.

I've heard of this, but she still loved me while I was going through my rough patches, telling myself I 'hated' them, even though that wasn't true. When I sprained my ankle, I had lied about staying after school for a 'class' when I was really staying after school to hang out with a boy. Dana was, of course, upset with me, but still took me to the hospital, helped me with my crutches, and didn't let me suffer when I needed help.

I also got to experience the kind of mother-daughter things that are normal (something I definitely needed). We would get our nails done together, she would help me pick out prom dresses, buy something for me without asking just because it looked like something I'd like, and when I got to college, she would check up on me when I broke up with my boyfriends, send me money when I was struggling, and always made sure I was included even though I'm far away from the family. I love getting the phone calls that start with "You'll never guess what your sister did…"

When the time came in court for me to decide, I looked my biological mother in the face and didn't feel familiar. I don't feel that love from her but from Dana, my mother soulmate. She didn't give birth to me, she didn't get to raise me, but she got to be there when it was important; when I truly needed someone to claim me, even if I wasn't in the right mental health to claim her just yet.

My one-year adoption date is coming up, December 19th, and I'm so excited to be able to even say that! I love you very much Dana and I know I'm far away from college, and I don't text/call much because I'm busy but I love you very much. Thank you.

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.
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Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.


Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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Love Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Each other, friends, family, YOURSELF

JordynL
JordynL
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During the holiday season, it can be rough. There's all kinds of stresses that take place, and some of which we can't control- and that's okay. With Christmas being around the corner, we always worry about what to get for certain people that are of monetary value, but we overlook the most important gift of all; love.

1. Each Other 

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In the world that we live in, there are struggles and always will be. Nothing will ever be completely equal and peaceful, though we try so hard and will continue to do so. But around the holidays, our country always manages to pull together as one, United, as we should be. We celebrate, raise money, donate gifts, clothes, etc., all to help out our fellow man. I personally think it's amazing that we can put aside our differences and "love thy neighbor" during these times because it just makes things more peaceful and worthwhile. It's important to be compassionate, understanding, and considerate. We can manage to do this around the holidays, so we need to remember and try to do this all year 'round. Lord knows that'll take some time, but we'll get there eventually. Just love each other.

2. Friends

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Love your friends. Always. If you're anything like me, you go through moments where some things are just too much. As a result, you don't want to worry or stress out your family, so you turn to friends- your second family. There have been (many) times where I wouldn't let my family be there for me, so I would turn to my friends for love and support. My family knows this and are understanding. My mom was actually the one that brought this up to me a few weeks ago and she expressed that she was happy that I had people to turn to like that; that I have friendships so strong that it's an option. Although she was happy about it, I know she is saddened at the fact that I feel that way sometimes.

Point is, appreciate your friends. Love your friends. Tell them these things. Part of who you've become is because of your friends; past, present, and future. They're always there when you need them, through the good and bad. Along with your family, they tolerate your bullshit more than anyone else, so make them feel loved and worthy- that you're proud to be sharing a journey with them.

To my close friends, some I see everyday and some that have drifted, I love you. I consider y'all my family. You know I don't have any siblings, so you are the closest thing I have and I appreciate you guys more than you know. Some of us have had some pretty heated fights, but we always managed to come back stronger. So Shelby, T, Cam, Faith, and Dalton: I love y'all so much. Thank you for everything.

3. Family

My uncle doesn't like taking pictures. Especially with how long it takes me to take them :(((

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Your family has put up with your shenanigans from day one. Or even before day one when you were kicking and doing all kinds of crazy stuff in the womb. And when you were born? Good lord. Your parents, your family, has dealt with everything that you've done your entire life. They laughed with you, disciplined you, and supported you through everything that you've done (whether it's behind the scenes or right up in everything). From close quarters or from a distance, your family has seen you grow and, more than likely, they are proud of you. They, especially your parent(s), deserve all the love you can give them because, after all, they gave you all of theirs and then some. They didn't do everything for nothing. They want you to succeed, even if they show it in odd ways.

As for my family, they've all had my back in different ways and I couldn't be more grateful (even when it seems like I'm not).

*My mom, my biggest fan and loudest cheerleader, has been there for everything that I've done: band concerts, marching band/winterguard performances, award ceremonies, banquets (even helping the Band Boosters when she could --and when she could tolerate them--), graduation, college tours, and every single move-in day. She's been my kick-in-the-ass all throughout school, ensuring that I do well. She's been my worst enemy, but most importantly, my shoulder to cry on when I'm upset or just so frustrated. She's been my *metaphorical* shrink, voice of reason, comedic relief, hero, and my best friend.

*My dad, my behind-the-scenes and occasional-audience supporter, fellow movie enthusiast, and opportunity provider. He's normally working so he can provide for my mom and I in every way possible, but always tries his best to be there for the super important moments: state championships, banquets, birthdays, graduation, college tours, even participated in move-in day this year! He's always up for a movie, and as far as I'm concerned, is MVP with this one because he got us tickets to EVERY midnight release of every. single. Twilight movie (when I was into it). Not a lot of dads would do that, especially for a midnight showing, but he did and I won't forget that- because we froze our asses off. He provided the opportunity for my trip to Europe, along with spending money (and added more when I ran out -different currencies suck-). He provides my college education so I can follow my dream (along with mom still giving me a kick in the ass so I get good grades). But more importantly, he's my hero (literally- because Veteran).

*My memee (reminder of the whole Midwest/southern term for grandma), my other best friend, my other biggest fan, gossip buddy, home away from home, voice of reason, and inspiration to go to OSU. You know how they say "like mother, like daughter"? (there's the dad thing too, but yeah) That may be true, but I've got a huge chunk of my memee in me and I always have. We were already kindred spirits and it's becoming more obvious the older I get. We never have to go out to have fun. We can just sit in the apartment, watch Law And Order: SVU, and gossip about whatever for HOURS. She's my partner in crime, and my designated "we'll do something even if it's wrong" person.

*My uncle, my designated college football shit-talker (I can't help that he picked the wrong team to support), protector against guys, STFU enthusiast, and another voice of reason. From a distance, and sometimes not from a distance, he's one of my biggest defenders in all aspects, especially when my mom and I are going at it. And at the end of the day, he supports everything I do (even if most of it is at the "wrong" school). By the way, Go Pokes Bub :)

I owe these people specifically the BIGGEST thank you and love. I wouldn't be who I am without these four. They've each pushed me to success and supported everything I've done, being the rowdiest bunch of people in a crowd. I don't normally say gushy things about or to my family, but here it is. I love y'all so much and I couldn't have done any of this without you.

4. Last but certainly not least, YOURSELF

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If you don't have love for yourself, it's nearly impossible to love anyone else (normally for relationships, but same concept). There's so much negativity in the world that makes us feel bad about ourselves, and it doesn't help that a large chunk of it is personal. Everyone can say whatever they want to you, but it will only bother you if you allow it. Don't let other people knock you off your pedestal, strip you of your crown, or take your thrown. You're a queen (or king) and you need to realize that. Love yourself. ALL OF YOURSELF. You're you for a reason. If you're going through tough times, remind yourself that you're better than that. You're better than what they say. You're better than what you allow yourself to believe. You're you. Embrace it. Embrace the sass, stretch marks, cellulite, whatever. Nothing can bring you down if you don't allow it. LOVE YOURSELF. LOVE YOURSELF. LOVE YOURSELF.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

JordynL
JordynL

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