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In the fall of 1995 we were between houses and living in an apartment complex for six months. Our daughter was six years old and was “Miss Sociality” (I doubt that was even a word back then). She knew every kid in our building and beyond. I could watch them play from our living room while they were outside.

One day I heard them running up the stairs. Amanda was at the door with about six of her new friends, all looking up at me. Then out of Amanda’s mouth came “tell them you’re my real mom”. Say what? I did NOT look like a deer in headlights. I looked like a mom standing in the middle of a desert with no library close by, no iPhone (it hadn’t been invented anyway), no computer, no adoption guru next to me. Nothing! I had not been prepared for this and no one warned me it would be coming.

I took a deep breath – a very long deep breath. If there’s one thing I had learned from teaching elementary children, it was to sometimes answer a question with a question. And I knew each of those kids had the question on their minds of whether or not I was her real mom. Later I would find out that she had told them she was adopted, and they all wanted to know where her “real mom” was. She told them I was her real mom, and that left their curious little minds questioning what she meant.

I began to ask them questions: Does a real mom change a baby’s diaper? They all nodded “yes”. Does a real mom get up in the night and take care of her sick child? Again – “yes”. Does a real mom cook dinner, feed her child, give her hugs and kisses and tell her how much she loves her child? “Yes, yes, yes…”

Then I must be a “real mom”. Enough said…. they all ran off to play.

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