"Is Blood Really Thicker Than Water?"

I could have merely been her stepmother, but Taylor and I chose to love each other. Not even adolescence can take that away from us.

stepchild adoption

The slamming of her bedroom door reverberates through the house. I can hear my daughter muttering and stomping inside over the latest instance of total unfairness we have inflicted. As I press my fingers gently against her door, I close my eyes and wonder, as I have so many times, if I am doing this right.

Thirteen is a hard age. And my daughter has more on her plate than the average teen. Taylor is my husband’s child from a previous relationship. I always say I fell in love with her first. A beautiful, sunny child, she stole my heart the moment she placed her little hand in mine. She was my maid of honor when her father and I married, and, when Taylor was 10, her biological mother allowed me to adopt her. I am forever grateful for her decision.

Our path has not been entirely smooth. I have a controlling nature, and Taylor and I had many a battle over things like clothes or baths. Over time, I’ve come to see that doing things my way all the time isn’t necessary or even good. I now know that wearing a princess dress to the store is not the end of the world, but it’s taken a while for me to get that.

When I look at Taylor, I sometimes forget that she did not come from my womb. She is of me, of my heart. I could have merely been her father’s wife, but Taylor and I chose to love each other. Sometimes, because of that, I feel our bond is deeper than that of the average mother and daughter. And that makes it more painful to watch her grow away from me.

Lately, I’ve heard her say to her friends, “Oh, thats my stepmom.” And I want to protest, “No! I am your Mom!” But, of course, I don’t. I know she’s in the throes of figuring out who she is, and that it’s normal for her to reject her parents a bit, to reject me. I try not to let it bother me. But I can’t help wondering if her rejection will be permanent, if she will just think of me as the lady who took care of her.

There’s an old saying, blood is thicker than water. But is it really? Will she remember who cared for her while she was sick with the flu? Will she recall that I stood on the sidelines in pouring rain as she played soccer? Will she see me with different eyes when she becomes a parent herself? Will she realize that my love for her is as deep as the love I feel for the child that came from my body, because she is the child who came from my soul?

Then I sense movement inside the room. I step back just as the door flies open, and we stand there, looking at each other. She’s been crying. I tentatively open my arms and she steps into them. I hold her tight, and feel her heart beating in tandem with mine and suddenly understand that she and I are bound together forever. Her childhood is full of me, her memories will find me. I am her mom, and nothing can take that away.

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