What does it take to love a (step)child?

Motherhood Series

By Angell R.

February 14, 2009; Valentine’s Day, wedding day, and the day I became a mother. He has dark brown hair. I have medium blond. He has dark brown eyes. I have blue-green. He is my (step) son but I say he just had a surrogate mother.

The final confirmation from God that I should marry a man with a six-year-old son was that full sole and physical custody would be granted to us. It was. Just like that, the biological mother returned to South Florida while we stayed in North Georgia.

Being a (step) mom is no walk in the park. I struggle with constant feelings of rejection. I tend to receive all the negative feelings because I am the constant reminder that his mother is not there; not present.

My husband and I have two children together. We have a strong bond that mother and children usually have that just comes naturally. Then there is my (step) son, whom I am always reaching out to. I always have to go out of my way to include him. I have to search for ways he shows me respect. His father is his security. I am not. It has taken several years to figure out that Rome was not built in a day and that is okay. On Mother’s Day in particular, my biological children run to me shouting and giggling while smothering me with kisses and finger paintings. My (step) son sits on the couch, very hesitant to call his biological mother.

Through all of this, I have learned that I am a stone. God is a river. He smooths the stone’s rough edges with His gentle flow. He has accomplished this through the relationship I have with my (step) son. Every time I am frustrated because I failed to communicate effectively or feel rejection, I spend alone time with my Father God and He takes it all away. I do not have to say a word. Sometimes it is a crying session. Sometimes it is just a breathing session. What keeps me going is giving it all to God. Isaiah 40:11 says, “ He gently leads those with young”. I really do not know what God does or how He does it but the minute I walk out of the room where I experienced intimacy with Him, He changes the atmosphere. Attitudes change. Respect is renewed. I read a quote recently that describes it perfectly: “God does not make us better. He makes us new”.

The only way I can be the mother I strive to be is to fully rely on God in every area of my life. I have a promise in Proverbs 31 that “my children will rise up and call me blessed”. That is not only for my biological children but also for my (step) son.

This relationship continues to create a new person in me. I have learned how important boundaries are and how to destroy unhealthy walls of my own. I have learned to be quick to listen and slow to anger. I have learned what unconditional love means. I have learned not everything has to go my way. God taught me and instills this in me. Best advice is just to keep doing what you are doing while fully submitting to Christ.

In closing, there are so many directions a mother can go in writing about being a mother because there are so many aspects of being a mother. It is hard yet so rewarding. It takes a village! It takes a support system. I am a mom. I have biological children and a (step) son. I put parentheses because you can call him stepson but I call him son. He is a part of me just like the children birthed from my very loins. It is just a unique and special relationship: one that requires going the extra mile. 

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What does it take to love a (step)child?

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