What Makes a Parent?

Last week our family celebrated our adoption finalization.  The Mister, The Nugget, The Munchkin and I all drove downtown to a very tall building and sat before a friendly judge to answer, once and for all, that we are ready to parent our beautiful four month old daughter.  That we know, without a doubt, that she is ours and that no matter what happens in our marriage, she will be treated as our own.

Naturally, we agreed.  We never questioned this move to permanency.  For us, the court date was the final check mark in a series of tasks that needed to be completed, but not a huge event because this little girl was already ours and we were already hers.  Other adoptions may wait with more focus on that date because of the circumstances, but for us, there was no question.  We have a relationship with The Munchkin's birth mother and knew that she felt confident in her decision.

This got me wondering what makes me the mother of this baby in the first place?  What makes The Mister the father?    Is it waking up for 128 nights to feed, change, rock and soothe?  Is it making 768 bottles?  Am I her mother if I hold her while she cries?  Is The Mister her father if he holds us both as we cry?  If we explain to her big sister that she will be with us forever and deal with both her joy and jealousy, does that give us points?  If I can soothe her when nobody else can, does that make me her mother?  If The Mister can identify a chin wobble or a flailing arm as signs of imminent spit up, does that make us a "real" family?  Does ushering her through heart wrenching nights in the NICU and shepherding her through the even more harrowing weeks of aftermath count toward our credit?  Are 18 and half weeks of love enough to show that we are worthwhile?  If we know her looks, her cries, her movements and rhythms then are we her parents after all?

Perhaps in our hearts, and, to us, that is all that matters.  But on paper, well, we ultimately have to listen to the courts.  And on Thursday, with little fanfare, they gave us the stamp of approval and told us that we were a forever family.  Which, of course, we already knew.

The LTP family goes to court


  1. "We are what we repeatedly do." Love? Provide for? Nurture? Soothe? Encourage? Guide? Teach? Listen? Seek to understand? All of the above (and more).


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