One of my least favorite things as a mom is when my son has to have a medical procedure.

The doctors and nurses try really hard, but quite often I am the hands holding my son still against his will. Singing songs as sweetly as I can, I try to do my best and help him understand an echocardiogram doesn’t hurt. Wiping his tears after a blood draw is over,  I find myself apologizing to a four-year-old and trying to explain how necessary all of this is.

These are not my favorite days, and I will be honest, sometimes it just all seems too much.  Logically I know he needs to be screened and monitored; emotionally I just can’t handle forcing my boy to do something against his will one more time. It is in those moments, when I can feel the tears forming in my eyes, that I feel the strength of his birth mom.

The first time I felt the additional strength and support rooting me on, I was almost startled. This unexpected moral boost surprised me the first few times. It was not something I had even considered would be a “perk” of adoption. Here I was in a terribly difficult mother situation, doing my best, and suddenly I knew I could do more. I could be strong like her, a woman who made a great sacrifice in choosing to place her son because she knew it was what was best for him.

So now when I find myself in these tough circumstances, I draw on her strength. I look for the mother she saw I could be and I suddenly find it in myself able to be more. I mother with the strength of two moms.

And I am not alone in this. One of my favorite women is this world just happens to also be an adoptive mom. Her son was recently married, and as we talked about what she wanted to say to him on his wedding day, she expressed that what she really wanted him to know was that she had done her best throughout his life to love him with the love of both of his mothers. That she had done her best to honor his birth mother in all situations and hoped that he could feel not only her love for him, but also her love of his birth mother. She hoped throughout his life he had felt the love of two moms.

It is a powerful feeling, this strength of two, a feeling that often allows me to step more confidently forward in my role as mother. And now that I know this well of courage and determination is there, I often find myself in situations in which I know she would be pleased to see me draw on that strength.

I use the power of two when advocating for our son at school meetings, when making decisions about how to proceed with his many therapies. But my favorite time to use this strength of two moms is when I snuggle him in closely and tell him how deeply he is loved. I share with him his story and tell him about how many of us there are who are cheering for him in this world and how lucky both he and I are to have her there rooting for us.

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