There’s a story in the Bible where King Solomon has to decide who the real mother is of an infant that two women claim. There were no DNA test back then. They had both recently given birth. I’m guessing the baby didn’t obviously look more like one than the other. There was no real way to know for sure so the whole court stopped to see what the wisest man to ever live would decide. His answer… cut the baby in half and let each woman have part of him. Sounds crazy right? But just like he thought, one woman began screaming and immediately tried to relinquish all rights to the baby in order to spare his life. That one, according to Solomon, was the real mom. More on this in a minute.
When Little Miss came to us in September, I gave her a choice to either call me Mommy or by my name. Within a few days she was calling me mommy and has ever since. In fact, its something that she’s really proud of. She doesn’t always talk much but she’s constantly telling people, even strangers, that I’m her mama. That hadn’t caused any problems until a few weeks before Christmas. That day, she forgot her birth mom’s name. I should note that I have never told Little Miss anything bad about BM or asked her to call her anything different. Anyway, the mom went nuts and yelled at me in front of everyone. She told me that I needed to start correcting Little Miss whenever she calls me that because SHE is her “real mom”. (I’m trying to keep this blog family friendly so I’ll spare you what I thought about that.) I kept my mouth shut and after a few minutes the caseworker finally noticed. She said I can have Little Miss call me whatever I want.
Yesterday, when I picked Little Miss up from an especially long and hard visit, she announced to her family that she was “going to go ride in Mommy’s car”. Birthmom freaked out again and yelled at her. When she realized that everyone was watching she suggested that Little Miss start calling me Stepmom instead, a suggestion I have no intention of implementing. So, after that I put my 3 year old in the car and spent the hour long drive home trying to get her to stop crying. Today’s been even worse. She’s screamed, kicked, hit, cried and got so overwhelmed she had a seizure because as little sense as this makes to a grown up, it’s even harder for a toddler to understand.
Back to Solomon. He knew who the real mom was because she was willing to be completely devastated for the good of her child. If a woman is so selfish that she can’t see the pain it would cause Little Miss if I suddenly said she can’t call me mom, than she’s not a real mom. If she can’t accept that it is not her toddler’s fault she doesn’t know to call her mom, than she’s not a real mom. If she can’t understand that at some point she should stop dragging her children through the courts when she really has no intention of reform, she’s not a real mom. I’m sure it completely sucks to hear your baby calling someone else mommy but until she’s willing to suffer because she knows that it means Little Miss is in a family that adores her, she doesn’t deserve the title. I understand that I’m a foster mom and I have no real hold on my little girl but right at the moment I’m especially frustrated with a system that places the wishes of selfish adults above the rights of an innocent child. So for now I just rock my temporary baby and assure her that she can always call me mommy, even if it is mommy with an asterisk.