It was not at all what I was expecting.
I was exhausted. She screamed all day long. Every single day.
She was nine.
This adoption thing was not working out like I had planned.
Two months in I asked her to stop calling me mom.
When a new little one moves into your house, the whole what-do-I-call-you thing is a little hard. I was Hannah's fourth "mom." The word didn't mean much to her. It was almost a generic term referring to anyone who took care of her. It rolled off her tongue carelessly.
But it wasn't the same for me.
I had only ever had one mom. She was a specific person. Someone I loved dearly. Someone who knew my whole story. Someone who was there through thick and thin. Someone so important words don't do her justice.
I just couldn't handle tossing such a precious thing around so flippantly.
So I asked her to call me Ms. Jennie.
She didn't bat an eye. It didn't phase her one bit. Mom or Ms. Jennie, it was all the same to her.
I was the one having the trouble, not her.
I wish I could remember when and how we turned that corner. It was before her adoption was finalized, putting it somewhere before the one year mark.
Things were still far from smooth sailing, but I had lost some of my rough edges by then. Maybe I finally realized it wasn't her fault that the term didn't hold the significance it should have. After all, she was only nine.
Either way, I've had the title going on eight years now. My next two girls called me mom from the start. It felt different to me then. Had the word lost its meaning? No, It's still a precious position. By the time the second one moved in I had learned something.
I learned that it's okay if the title doesn't fit perfectly the first time you put it on. You can grow into it.
And now it fits like a glove.
From the easy questions...
"Have you seen my other shoe, Mom?"
To the hard ones...
"Why didn't my family want me, Mom?"
I get to be her mom. It's a privilege. It just didn't look like it at first.