Today I kind of wanted to add-on/continue from my last post, Instinctively Bound, and talk a little about the “titles” used to determine families or members of the family. Just a forewarning, this is a topic that I feel strongly about because it has affected me greatly in my life…it is going to be directed more towards foster and adoptive parents/families. I will do my best to not sound too harsh or brutal but I am going to be honest. In the last post I mentioned my mom being my mom and my adoptive mom being my caregiver/”supporter”. A lot of times when talking to people, or talking about my biological mom I start saying, “My real mom….” Or if I am talking about my adoptive mom I start out, “My mom…” or refer to her by name. It is nothing personal, just a way to describe who I am talking about. I do the same if I am talking about family in general. I will introduce the topic of my bio family as my “real” family and my adoptive family as my family. I have met many, many other adoptee’s who do the same and have read numerous F@CEB00K posts and stories of this happening. I have also met, as well as read about, many adoptive parents/families who tend to take this very personally, including my own. The one thing I hope that you get from this post is that it is not done to personally offend or intentionally hurt, but rather to identify with all persons in terms of where they fit into my life. The reason I call my mom my Real mom is because to me, she is the real mom. She is the one who, fortunately, carried me for 9 months and then went through extensive labor to birth me. She was the very first person I connected with. My adoptive mom is my “mom” because she is the one who cares for me. She is real, yes. Logically, in society’s eyes she is my real mom because she is the one who provided for me the things my Real mom wasn’t able, she was the one who cared for me when my real mom couldn’t. But that is what makes her a mom. A mom, to me, is someone who loves, nourishes, protects, provides, gives, receives, teaches, listens, etc. This is what most adoptive mom’s represent to their child(ren). To refer to my bio mom as my Real mom helps me to identify her role in my life. To make her a part of my life. Just as it is to refer to my bio family as my Real family. It is mainly, for me anyway, used as a way to identify who they are and where they stand. Just because they are not a part of my life physically does not mean that they are not very real to me. I love my adoptive family. I am very grateful for what they have done for me and given me… but ultimately my biological family was there first. They are, and always will be, my real family; just as real as my adoptive family. Adoptive parents are just a piece of the puzzle. They are a “fill-in” for what should have been but couldn’t be. They are temporarily doing what one mother or family couldn’t do and it is taken as graciously and gratefully as possible. But adoptive families will never replace birth families. They will only fill-in. Maybe to tie this together, think of your own life. Do you refer to your Mother-In-Law as your MIL to others in conversation, or do you refer to her as your mom just as you do with your primary caregiver? Most people, when talking about In-Laws, refer to them as In-Laws to distinguish identity and set a place where the individual at hand fits. Right? It is no different with a Real mom/family and Mom/family. It is all used relatively to distinguish identity. It is NOT done out of spite, to offend, or to personally hurt. However, there will ALWAYS be a loyalty to the birth family, typically to the mom. And this is usually very difficult for the mom/family raising the kid to accept…completely understandable.