Let’s get real. I love my kids. They are my everything; my whole world. I love them when they love each other. Seriously. I am so thankful that these three get to be siblings. I love them when I wake them up in the morning and when I tuck them in at night. I love them when they’re near me and when they’re at school. I love them when they make good choices and I still love them when they make poor choices. And every moment that I’m loving them there’s somebody else loving them too.

My kids have two sets of parents who love them. My husband and I adopted our three children through domestic infant adoption. We are lucky enough to have open adoptions with two of our children. Our youngest is part of a closed adoption which may be easier on the surface for now since she’s still so young. But trust me that will come with its own set of challenges.

Sometimes people refer to me as my kids’ “real” mom and other times I get asked about my kids’ “real” mom. Usually whispered in a hushed tone as if they don’t want to offend me. I know they mean my kids’ birth parents, first parents, biological parents, etc.

And here’s where I get real. Neither of those situations bother me. Not at all. Want to know why? Because both sets of parents are real. We might be parenting in different ways, but we’re all real. And the love we have for our children is as real as it gets.

I was never pregnant. I wasn’t there when my children were born. I didn’t hold them first or hear their first cry. I didn’t even love them first. But I’m definitely their real mom. Different women carried each of my children for 9 months. They were there to welcome these sweet lives into the world. They witnessed the first breath and loved them first. They might not be around to bring them school, to dance class or the doctor when they’re sick, but they’re absolutely real moms. They were there for the first few moments and they love them. They didn’t give up on them. They did the best they could given their circumstances at the time.

I missed out on some pretty important things in my kids’ lives. Things that others say is what made them a mom. But just because I didn’t do those things doesn’t make me any less of a mom. Likewise for my children’s other moms. They might not be there for the everyday stuff, but that doesn’t take away from the (important) role they played (and continue to play) in my children’s lives. I am a real mom but so are they. And I’m happy to share that role with other women who love my kids as much as I do.

Alissa Kay

Alissa was born and raised in the Midwest and currently calls Wisconsin home. She's happily married to her college sweetheart and she's living out her dreams of being a stay-at-home mom. Although, let's be real, she's hardly ever home. She's the mom to 3 kids who all came to her via adoption. A boy (8) and 2 girls (6 and almost 4!). The kids keep her plenty busy, but when she has free time she enjoys a night out with friends or curling up with a good book.