So how does this work, with two moms?

As I mentioned on the Home page, in my experience, people are generally too polite to ask anything super personal about our family. I appreciate that, because we just want to function like normal people (and, naturally, we do consider ourselves to be normal people).

But, despite the general reluctance, the question that has come up, more than once, is: So how does that work, with two moms?

On the practical level, for the kids, I am “Mom,” while Danelle is “Danelle.” This manifests is statements such as, “I hate you, Mom,” and “Danelle, you are the nicest!”

Danelle is also “birthmom,” as in (overheard when talking to friends): “Hey, did you know I have a birthmom? She looks like me, and she gives me the best presents.”

Hmm, upon reflection, it would appear that one mom gets to be “Disney mom” and the other gets accused of being mean (which I own–I’m the meanest).

So, how does it play out? Ron and I make most of the day-to-day parenting decisions, like chores and homework. We reach out to Danelle to consult about bigger decisions, and I always welcome her input on pretty much anything, from hairstyles and books to how to address situations at school. We do our best to keep the channels open.

We also encourage the kids to develop their relationship with Danelle without going through us. Right now, that is taking the form of sending video messages (we’ve been using the Marco Polo app), in which the twins let loose as their goofy nine-year-old selves. (It’s hard for me to not come in over the top on these, but that’s a good lesson in boundary-setting for all of us, right?)

Bottom line: two moms means twice the love for the kids and more support for us all — an extra ear for ideas, an extra shoulder to cry on. For me, what I value most are the insights Danelle gives us, on everything from family dynamics to growing up Black. I can’t imagine navigating this crazy journey called parenthood without her.

A final note: Because Dawn’s birthmom isn’t involved with her, or us, it’s sometimes hard for Dawn to see the closeness we have with Danelle. For her part, Danelle is very aware of how Dawn feels, and she goes out of her way to make sure Dawn is always included. She always has time for Dawn as well as gifts, even when it’s the twins’ birthday. She actively encourages their relationship, and we are so thankful!!

Published by Danelle Henden & Stephanie Lundeen

Danelle: I am an HR professional with a keen interest in psychology and in adoption activiwsm. I work with a nonprofit that supports adoption, On Your Feet Foundation. Stephanie: I am a writer and editor with a background in education (I have taught English as a Second Language, college writing, and college literature courses).

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