Anybody else adopt at a slightly more mature age?
For many years I was the young mom in the crowd. I was 23 when Hannah was born and had four kids before I was 30. I soaked up a lot of wisdom from the moms who were ahead of me on this winding path.
Then Claire, baby #7, was born one week before my 39th birthday. This time I was a somewhat older mom, but I was still in my thirties. I felt great.
Four years later we adopted Ebenezer and Wogayu and brought them home when I was 43. Eby was two and Wogayu an infant, so I was in my early forties when they were born.
We’re already a unique family – there are lots of us and we’ve adopted transracially. But babies in my forties seems to have pushed me into a different category.
I’m generally the oldest mom picking kids up at football practice or sitting in the audience at the middle school band concert.
Sometimes it’s hard for my adopted kids to have a white mom, and one of my kids is really bothered by his parents being “old.”
He recently asked me not to come into the gym when I pick him up because, “None of the other kids in my class have a mom with gray hair.”
Sorry, but I’m coming in anyhow because I’m your mom and I love you.
Here’s the thing, I’m a better mom now than when I was 30. I’ve learned an ocean’s worth of lessons over the years, calmed down a whole lot, and don’t worry as much about what other people think.
No longer do I have a huge brood at home, so these kids actually get more of my attention than their older siblings did. Not to mention, two of them have their own bedrooms – completely unheard of in our family.
Another huge bonus, my younger kids have a tribe of adult siblings who love them, support them, and think they’re pretty awesome. Although the big kids are spread out around the country, they pour a lot into the younger crew.
I’ll grant you, middle school is tough; most kids feel they’re under a microscope and their peers are watching. For a child of color adopted into a large white family, the feeling of being observed is heightened.
It’s not easy being different when you want so badly to fit in.
Middle schoolers are striving to find their place in this complex social system. Wanting cool athletic clothing and shoes, playing the popular sports (and being good at them), and having a bike that isn’t an embarrassing hand-me-down are all very important.
To sum it up, for me, being a midlife mom means:
1. I’m generally more relaxed because I draw on decades of life experience, and I’m pretty good at knowing what’s truly important.
2. I can give them more attention than when I had lots of little ones.
3. They have older siblings involved in their lives.
In the end, I hope having a mom who loves them like crazy, welcomes their friends into our home, and supports them as they pursue their interests, outweighs the discomfort of having a mom who is “old.”
And as for my hair, it’s not gray, it’s silver – and I happen to like it a whole lot.
How about your family? Are you a midlife mom?
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All for today, my friend. I would love to hear your thoughts about today’s post, or anything else. A quick hello from you would do my heart good.
With courage and hope,