There are two things that have been said to me during my life that have never lost the sting. Two simple statements that singed my memory, and no matter how often I try to brush them off, they are always there. And, they always hurt.
I always wanted to be a mommy. It was one of the most important aspects of how I envisioned my life. And, now, I am completely blessed with a house full of laughter, tears, fighting, and love from my three children.
But, our current household isn’t the way it used to be.
Damon, my oldest child, was born in January, 2002. He was my new year’s baby, and I was overjoyed! When Mother’s Day rolled around, my own mama took me, my husband at the time, and Damon, to a luncheon to spend time together, and celebrate being a mom, and for my mom, being a new grandma.
Although I don’t remember what was said, or how the conversation began, I do know we were all standing in line waiting to eat, and my ex-husband said, “You’ve only been a mom for a few months, so this day doesn’t count for you.”
I was crushed. I remember feeling sick to my stomach, a sadness I can’t even begin to describe, and disbelief that the person who helped create this child could be so callous, so disrespectful, and so thoughtless.
My beautiful daughter, Autumn, was born on Valentine’s Day in February, 2003. She only added to the joy I felt as a mama, and the love I felt for my children intensified.
My marriage, however, was full of fear, and during the summer of 2005, my ex-husband assaulted me, again. He was arrested, and ultimately, sentenced to prison. My divorce became finalized at the end of that year, and an order of protection was in place to protect my children when my ex-husband was released.
Mark, my current husband, and I dated in high school and had remained friends throughout the years. We reconnected, and although I was in Texas, and he was in Illinois, my family and I returned to Illinois to be with him. Mark and I married the following year, and then welcomed our youngest daughter, Alyssa, into our lives.
Mark knew of my previous marriage, and the abuse, and he knew how concerned I was my children may be in harm’s way if my ex-husband didn’t acknowledge, and get help, for his substance addictions. When my ex-husband was released from prison, he not only chose to ignore the court orders in Texas, but he headed straight to Illinois.
Although we had safe guards in place, life didn’t feel safe. We constantly watched over our shoulders, and when Mark offered to adopt Damon and Autumn, he was offering them a new beginning. After twenty-one (21!) court appearances, my ex-husband’s parental rights were terminated, and Mark legally adopted Damon and Autumn.
Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day, although it has been many years from the date of the actual adoption, I received the best gift I could have ever asked for! We received our modified birth certificates for Damon and Autumn. Both list their new legal name of McCormick, and Mark is now listed as their dad!