Too Real

“I think he will probably cry, when he leaves his real mummy.”

I catch my breath.

It’s a normal, slightly rushed day.  I’ve done the school run to pick up the 5yo and we’re on our way to drop some groceries off at the house of a friend who’s been ill.  We’ve been talking about “little brother” the two year old we’ve been linked with, and who we hope will be home with us some time after Easter.  Then the 5yo comes out with that show-stopper.

The phrase “real mummy” is a hum-dinger in adoption terms, usually part of a casual question which tends to cut a mummy-by-adoption off at the knees… “so, where’s his real mummy?”  You can read numerous hot – and accurate  – defences that point out that the person caring for, loving, laughing, living with the child is the ‘real’ mummy.  All true.  But some time ago I read a beautiful article by an adoptive mum (which I’ve since lost – if you know the one I mean, please direct me!) who pointed out that every time she told her adopted daughter that her birth mum wasn’t her real mum, she was in essence telling her adopted daughter that her grief wasn’t real, that her feelings for her birth family weren’t real…. No, the article argued, she has two real mums.

That’s the way I see it, too.  Yes, I caught my breath, but mostly because we’d never talked about mumming in terms of ‘real’ or not, because I wasn’t sure where this was heading, because I knew he actually meant 2yo’s foster carer, and because I was breath-stealingly proud of the 5yo for demonstrating such empathy.

“I think he will probably cry, when he leaves his real mummy.”

“Yes, I think you’re right, love.”

“But it’s okay, because then he’ll have his REAL real mummy, and that will make him feel better.”

This time I didn’t catch my breath.  I caught a sob.  “Am I his REAL real mummy?”

“Oh, yes, Mummy.”

“I love you.”

“I wuv you too, Mummy.”

Yes, both my sons will have two real mummies.  But if, in my son’s eyes, I’m his REAL real mummy, and that makes everything in his world alright, then I’m more than okay with that.


Double Trouble

So… yeah, we’re adopting again.  Did I mention that?



The Terrible Twos are so called for a reason.  Our 5yo came home to us shortly after his second birthday.  He was, by nature, a full-on handful at the best of times.  Add in to the mix the developmental phase he was in, the grief of losing his foster family, the confusion of suddenly having a new family… we had the terrible twos on acid.

I aged.

But in the midst of the craziness and new-mummy-shock, we had the earth-shattering happiness of the privelege of having this incredible child to love.  I used to say back then I wasn’t sure if he was going to turn out to be a superhero or a supervillain, but either way he was going to be awesome.*  We had adventures, and crazy play, and mind-blowing lessons to learn.

Quite early on we asked ourselves if we could do it again.  At that time we were pretty exhausted, and Husband was concerned I maybe didn’t have the capacity to go again.  We agreed to not talk about it for 6 months, then ask again.

Our son grew older, we got wiser.  Six months passed.  “So, are we going to do this again?”

“Hell, yes.”

You see, we still had space, both in our heart and our home.  We were acutely aware of children still needing families, and, above all that, knew that the 5yo would be a fantastic big brother.

We didn’t go again straight away, we took some more time to be sure the 5yo was settled and secure.  Then we were assessed, approved, and… but that’s another story.

We said we’d probably like a girl, and definitely want a younger one this time, because, truly, no-one in their right mind would adopt in the middle of the terrible twos again, right?  You’d have to be certifiable.

Last Friday, a social worker came to visit us.  We are linked with a gorgeous, cheeky monkey of a 2yo boy.  We are bursting with joy.  Incandescent.

And certifiable, clearly.

*Definitely superhero.  Just sayin’.


So, what does your son call you?

This post is in honour of Adoptive Mummy @blogforadoption, who blogs at thefinalpieceofourpuzzle.  I met her recently, liked her a lot, and enjoyed when she talked about the odd things people had said to her, when they don’t know much about adoption in the real world.  “What does your son call you?” one person had asked.

So, in honour of this slightly clueless question, I give you:-

Five Things My Son Calls Me

  1.  Knucklehead.  I blame television.
  2. Bonkers.  He scores 100% for factual accuracy with this one.
  3. Muuuuuuuuummmmmmmyyyyyyyy….. in tolerant but long-suffering tones.  Usually accompanied by rolling eyes and a pained sigh.  Often used for when I’ve forgotten his vitamin, or put his shoes on the wrong feet or something.
  4. Rescuer.  This one usually involves games involving SuperBaby, attacks by random monsters or…. *cue dramatic music*… The Tickle Monster aka Husband.  “Wescuer!  You’ve got to wescue me, Wescuer!!!”
  5. Poo-poo banana head.  One of his own construction, for no apparent reason except, of course, the 5yo’s obsession with poop jokes. This one is my personal favourite.

For the record, my son calls me Mummy.  From the first moment he met me.  Because that’s what I am.  Legally, emotionally, in a real, practical sense, 24/7, for the rest of my life.  As it happens, my son also has another mummy, the one who gave birth to him, and in my son’s heart and head his foster carer was his mummy, too.

None of those facts make me less of his mummy right now.  Or happily ever after.