From an Adopted Daughter: What My Moms Taught me About Parenting

One mother raised me, the other welcomed me in.  Being an adopted daughter has always been a place of playfulness, uniqueness, and even a touch of reverence for me.  I was blessed to know from the moment I could understand that one mother gave me life, the other gave me a home.  I have also been blessed and fortunate enough to know and love them both, while they have also gotten to know each other.


The gift of knowing both my moms, and them both claiming a piece of my heart, has taught me a great deal:

It truly is love that makes a family, and any rules are human and not “nature” imposed.  Embracing my bio-mom didn’t negate even a smidge of love I feel for my adoptive mom.  If anything, I simply learned that the heart has the capacity to grow infinitely to envelope all.


From one I learned to laugh through tough times, from the other I learned to work through them.  In time, I learned that both are required for perseverance, resilience and sanity.  A good laugh at ourselves goes a long way, and so does getting focused, evaluating what’s in our control, and taking the next step.


I learned that when one foot is looking towards the future and another is trying to reclaim the past, you end up in a painful split you didn’t plan on.  Honestly, though, most of our anxiety and dissatisfaction can be traced to that which we “wished was but wasn’t” or “would be but isn’t,” and in front of us is a beautiful moment we forgot to sink into.

grammy reading gjnoah4Sometimes the tables get turned, and the kid is the one with the wisdom, if we’re listening.  I learned to listen.

Be gentle with everyone, and let go as best you can.  I saw how the hurts can accumulate, take a toll on us, and how resentments can harbor and grow.  I also witnessed how a wall can melt in moments when someone is brave enough to take the first step.  Sometimes we need to put relationships over ego, people over principles, and forgive.


I also learned that we never outgrow our need for mothering and nurturing.  At 41, I am humbled that I still want to hear, “I am so proud of you.”  I want my work to touch someone.  I want to know I’m making a difference.  From my need for that reassurance, I hope to always offer that to my kids without judgment.  Sometimes, we just need an extra dose of “you are enough, as is, now.”


Above all, I learned from my moms that we are truly stronger together.  Villages don’t need to meet a specific definition to raise a child (of any age), they just need to be willing, loving, and present.  Our lives are richer thanks to my two moms.  We are blessed to have you.  Happy Mothers’ Day!

5 thoughts on “From an Adopted Daughter: What My Moms Taught me About Parenting

  1. Sharlene–Your message brims with love and seasoned wisdom. Thank you!
    May the layered joy of Mother’s Day shine within and through you–

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