Throwback Thursday: Choosing Single Motherhood

I am a single mother by choice.  I adopted my daughter from foster care and I’m hoping to bring another child into our family in the next few years.  What do I want you to know?

I want you to know that I don’t need your adulation.  I didn’t adopt to solve the orphan crisis, put feet to my pro-life convictions or make any kind of political or religious statement.  I didn’t adopt because I don’t think enough married couples are doing it.  I am not a hero and my daughter is not “lucky to have me.”

I want you to know that I don’t need your pity.  I didn’t adopt because I’ve given up on marriage or because I needed someone to love and need me.  I’ve never been under the illusion that this would be an easy path.  I am not a victim, and neither is my daughter.  She is one of the most resilient, tenacious people that I know.  Maybe if you are not also a single mom, you “don’t know how I do it.”  But if you knew your child was in foster care, I think you would do everything you could to bring her home, no matter who happened to live (or not live) in that home.

I want you to know that though I am not married, I am not raising my daughter “on my own.”  Unlike many single moms, I had the luxury of making certain before I chose motherhood that my daughter would have strong male and female role models committed to loving and teaching her.  I also have the luxury of tapping into a social support system that continues to provide great advice, encouragement and practical help.

I want you to know that I was scared beyond belief when I first decided to adopt as a single mom.  Not just about raising a child, but also about sharing my decision with many great folks in my life who happen to have very specific views about how a family is supposed to look.  I anticipated resistance, cautions and even hostility.  What I got instead was unconditional love, emotional support and three adoption showers.  After meeting my daughter, no one expressed concern or disapproval about how our family was formed.  In fact, I have felt more loved and supported since I embarked on this journey than ever before in my life.  I want you to know that if you are part of that support network for me or another single mom, you rock.  We need you.

I want you to know that despite this support, I feel tremendous pressure to represent my “single mom by choice” status in new situations.  If my daughter’s hair is a mess or she’s having a meltdown I worry that you’re thinking I never should have chosen to do this alone.  If I’m not smiling and telling you about my wonderful life, I worry that you’re judging my family to be second-best.  I know I shouldn’t care, but I do.

I want you to know that I spend my days playing Candyland, reading stories, folding laundry, trying to model self-control and compassion, loving unconditionally and wondering if it will be enough.  Just like you.

I want you to know that I love my daughter ferociously and I am one hundred percent convinced that we are supposed to be a family.  Though there are plenty of life choices that I regret, choosing single motherhood is not one of them.

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4 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Choosing Single Motherhood

  1. Stephanie Smit

    Love this! Could we feature this on We are Grafted In, blog of The Sparrow Fund? Since you’ve contributed in the past I would just need your permission. Let me know. Thanks!
    Stephanie
    Admin. of WAGI
    Blog of The Sparrow Fund
    stephanie@sparrow-fund.org

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