I remember being in a store with my husband (then fiancé) when we passed a mom with 3 small boys. I made a terrified face at Ryan and said, “THAT is my worst nightmare!”. Boys, that many boys, scared me to bits. That would not be me. I would be a girlmom, a girlmom in all my glitter and ruffle glory. My experience of motherhood would be full of craft binges with my little girls, day trips to the American Girl store, and long marathons of Disney princess movie watching. We’d have tea parties, read every Laura Ingalls Wilder book ever written, and dolls would flood our house. I wanted to relive everything about my childhood that was precious; I would be a girlmom.
I should preface this by saying that I am the eldest of six kids. We are five girls, then one brave boy. My brother and I are 13 years apart. I remember my parents being so excited when an ultrasound revealed that they were finally going to have a son (nearly 17 years into their marriage!). I was less thrilled. I remember the exact thought that popped into my 13 year old head: what the heck are we going to do with a boy?! And while I loved my little brother terribly from the moment he made his entrance into the world, it was still a strange adjustment. Life was easier with one gender; I would be a girlmom.
Throughout undergrad I worked at an elementary school and, oh my, did those boys scare me! They were basically hyperactive, dirty, sweaty, sticky, smelly balls of energy that somehow found their way into a human body. Compared to girls, they were so much work! I could leave two little girls alone in a corner with a book and they’d read quietly. That same book would instantly become a weapon of mass destruction if left with two little boys. I preferred quiet cuteness over noise and band-aids; I would be a girlmom.
Seven years into our marriage, Ryan and I decided that we would build our family through international adoption. China, specifically. I was over the moon! I envisioned my daughter, a chubby little bundle of pink with rosy cheeks and a mop of black hair. We settled on her name, Jia Evangeline, it was girly perfection. China requires that adopting parents be at least 30 years old and I was only 29 at the time so we had nearly a year to do research on what the China adoption experience would be like. I happily navigated my way through blogs and books; I was on my way to being a girlmom!
During an early morning research session, I came across an article that spoke about the great need for families for boys! Boys?! Prior to that article, we assumed that only girls were available to adopt from China. But here we were faced with stats which debunked that myth. We learned that the wait to be matched with a boy is usually considerably shorter as Westerners largely desire to adopt daughters from China. I wasn’t the only one with visions of ribbons and sparkles; there were many feeling the draw to girlmom.
This new bit of information, however, changed Ryan’s attitude dramatically! He didn’t even think that adopting a son was a possibility, but now that it was… my, my how he began taking a greater interest in completing that paperwork! I called him a sexist. He was only excited about adopting a son. But, wait! Wasn’t I doing the same thing in reverse? Did I want a child to love and care for or did I want a little girl to be my play thing? Ouch! After a few days of prayer and some true self-analyzing, I released my lifelong dream of girlmom.
Several months later, while searching a waiting children’s list, I found him. I found the little boy that made me stop dead in my tracks and say “MINE!”. At that moment no amount of American Girl dolls or pink glitter could have derailed me. I was sold. God chose that little boy to make me a mama. Nearly 16 months later, on a rainy day in Guangzhou, that little boy was placed in my arms. I was a boymom.
Being a boymom is just about as terrifying as I thought it would be. My son is as sticky as a glue stick every second of the day, his energy never runs out, and he instantly turns any object into a weapon. But, dear Lord, does that boy love and melt his mama! He tries to “out kiss” his daddy every day; landing the longest, juiciest kisses I’ve ever been the recipient of. He is my little gentleman in every way possible and says “I love you, Mama” dozens of times a day. This? Is this what you were afraid of, boymom?
In my six short months as a mom, I’ve learned who all the Ninja Turtles are. I’ve played with swords, light sabers, guns, and slingshots. I’ve been to Marvel Universe Live and can tell you all of the Avengers’ super powers. I have come to absolutely love cheesy, dubbed kung fu movies. I’m now the owner of several Star Wars and comic related shirts. My laundry duties have doubled. And my love for boys, not just my own son, has tripled. I want there to be more boymoms.
After being home from China for a few months, we got the itch again. Our family wasn’t complete, there was still an empty chair at our table. Our son, Kai, deserved a sibling. And just a few short weeks later we found him, our next son. He is a precious boy who has been waiting nearly 7 long years for a family to swoop in and say “MINE!”. I’m looking at his photo right now and wondering how on earth he has gone unclaimed for so long. He is absolutely precious in every way. I cannot wait until he is here running around the house with Kai. I can’t wait until they figure out how much fun sliding down the stairs in a sleeping bag is. I can’t wait until I hear play kung fun sounds coming from their room. I can’t wait until he feels the love that can only come from a forever family! I can’t wait to be a boymom times two!
If this lifelong girlmom daydreamer could trade in her dreams of pink, sparkle unicorns for sticky, smelly hugs, then maybe you could too. There is still a vast need for all orphans to find families of their own (boys and girls alike), but there is a special place in my heart to advocate for those boys who wait simply for being boys. I would have never dreamed of adopting a 4 year old boy followed by a 7 year old boy, but the Lord’s plans for me are so much greater than my little dreams could have ever imagined. Just maybe you too will take the challenge to boymom.