Every time we part ways after our visits tears stream down my face. I try to fight them back, but my emotions overcome me. I feel as though I am leaving a part of my heart as I watch her walk away. It’s the same feeling I had the day she left the hospital. I feel eternally grateful and am amazed at her strength at such a young age, yet sad that she can’t come home with us, too. She doesn’t know this. Yet I wonder if in that very same moment when we part ways, she also has tears welling up in her eyes. Is she fighting them back just like me? I wonder what she is thinking and what emotions she is feeling. And most of all I wonder if I am making her proud to be called his mommy.

Although we have a lot of differences between the two of us just by nature of our ages, one thing I want us to always share is our love for him – our son. And even though he calls me mommy, he is still her flesh and blood. He is still her son too and I could never take away the opportunity for her to watch him grow and flourish. From the premature baby he was to a now sassy, strong-willed, smart, and funny three year old. And he will grow into the man that God has designed him to be.

The older our son gets, the prouder of him I want her to be. The prouder of her decision I want her to be. And the prouder of the choice she made for me to be his mommy I want her to be.  Not for my self-gratification but for her own peace of mind. Is she still as happy today, and each time we part, as she was the day that she chose us from that stack of books? Am I raising him to be the kind of man that she would have him be one day? Am I giving him exactly what she wanted him to have in life?

I’m not seeking or needing her approval because it’s not about me at all. It’s about our son, and it’s about her well being. When we adopted him, we also adopted her in our hearts. And just as we always want him to grow to be confident, happy, and healthy, we also want that for her.

I cry when we part ways because I’m grateful for her – for what she did and what she continues to do to be a part of his life. I cry because it’s like leaving a grown child at college for the first time. I want to love and protect her just the way I would our son. And I cry because I can’t imagine how hard it is to watch another woman be called his mommy. I am forever amazed and her strength and beauty.

I hope and pray that I make her just as proud of being his mommy as I am of her being for his birth mom.