Sons of Two Mothers

Recently I have come across a number of blog posts about adoption. I said in a previous post I swirl around in adoption a lot. One was a story about a family who adopted a newborn. The birth mom was an addict, and so of course, the baby was addicted. Ultimately, the birth mom got clean and the family now includes her in their life. And they all live happily ever after. (If you want to read the story, you can see it here:

I don’t want to be disrespectful to any personal circumstances, and stories like theirs are always truly moving (yes, I cry) and wonderful to hear, but they are the less common.

The author of the blog where I saw this story said, “Every adoption story is so different. And so life-changing.” (

Two sentences of absolute truth.

The sons I share with another mother were older when they came to live with us (biological brothers, 10 and 14). They had lived with her for all but 15 months of their lives. They knew why they were coming to live with us. We got two young boys who were lonely and sad and hurt and angry.


The older son did not like to talk about his birth family. The younger son didn’t say very much, but occasionally he would talk to me about his mother. Often in the middle of the night when he couldn’t sleep. We would smile, cry and be angry together about her. He had misinterpreted the facts of why he and his brother could not longer live with her. I tried gently to help him understand realities, because we believed the boys needed to know truth, and we promised we would never lie to them. But I would say what I truly believe–I believe with all my heart their mother loved them, because a mother always loves her children, she just does, even when her life and actions don’t or can’t show it. And because of what I know of their story, I believe what I told him is true, and I wouldn’t have said it to him otherwise. But the details of that part of the story is theirs to tell.

My adoption story is so different.

I never met their mother. I probably never will. I’ve never spoken to her, and we don’t share special times or birthdays or holidays. We probably never will. But together we share two sons.

Another blog I read talked about how the second mom always wonders what the first mom is like and if that mom thinks about her. That may be one benefit I have with my different story. Since my sons knew their first mother, they have been able to share (some) stories with us. But there are still unanswered questions. And my mother’s heart does think about her. Mostly, I wonder if she thinks about our sons.

And so life changing.

A mother does not gain sons without her life changing. A mother does not lose sons without her life changing. Sons do not lose the mother they know without their lives changing. Sons are changed by their mother…by their mothers. She has changed me, because her sons, my sons, our sons have changed me.

And life continues to change.

There was a point when our sons made contact with their biological family. We knew it would happen and even discussed it with our sons, although at the time it did not happen as we would have preferred. In a way, we added a third son (and his wife and children) to our family. It was scary at first because, although we had some information, we truly didn’t know how much would be opened up, for our sons or for us. More anger? More pain? Fear? What else? But I think it was ultimately a good thing. The third brother has had contact with the biological family all along. I asked our sons if they wanted to see their mother. They didn’t. We know even more about our sons now than we did before. But there will always be unanswered questions.

Our sons are now adults and living on their own. We see and talk to the older son from time to time; the younger son is taking some time to find his way. I can’t even begin to count the number of changes that have happened over the past (almost) eight years. Some really good, some really bad, and some all along the spectrum in between. Maybe they’re not actually “good” or “bad,” they just are.

But I, we, are forever changed.

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