But I’m not her mom

I cannot go to bed without saying goodnight. I cannot wait until I get to see her face in the morning. I look forward to seeing her after school and hear about her day.

But I’m not her mom
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I get her up every morning for school. Pack lunch, fill her water bottle, make sure she has her flute on Wednesday and get her out the door on time for the bus. I have my phone on me all day in case the school calls. I am there when the bus drops her off.

I pick her up on Tuesday and Thursday from basketball. We go to gymnastics on Thursday nights and youth group on Sundays. I sit at the table while she does homework, answer any of her questions, but mostly there for support.

I make dinner and clean up, I do laundry. I make sure she is in bed at a decent time. And I do it all again the next day.

But I'm not her mom.

I have her 24/7, I sign permission slips, plan sleepovers, and buy birthday gifts for that weekend's party. I get the tween attitude, buy her pads and answer any questions about puberty or friends. I get to hear all about the latest drama from recess, watch her friendships grow and monitor her social media.

But I'm not her mom.


When her mom calls, she silences her phone. I encourage her to call her back by the end of the day. When she does talk to her mom, I hear the one-sided conversation that lasts less than two minutes, and she is not asked one thing about her life.

I hear her mom promise to come visit and to send money. But when that doesn't happen, I am there to hug her and tell her "maybe next time." I try my best to not say anything negative about her mom, and I support any relationship she wants to have with her.

But I'm not her mom.

I can't take her to the dentist for that reoccurring toothache, because I have no guardianship.

I can't take her to the doctor for the physical she needs for school to pass sixth grade, because I have no guardianship.

I was told by the school nurse that she has all rights to call Children and Youth Service on me because I haven't got the child a physical yet. Someone, please explain this to me. Her mother dropped this child off in my driveway at 6 am one morning and left. But CYS will be called on me because no doctor will see her without a legal guardian with her?

But I'm not her mom.

I raise her but we can't just, spur of the moment, get her ears pierced. When we first went for gymnastics and filled out registration papers, I had to explain that I had no legal relationship. When we went to youth group and I had to sign consents, I had to explain, again.

School was a whole separate issue. Thankfully we had a birth certificate. But she had to go under a law that says she is homeless because she does not live in a house with a legal guardian. But they do allow me to sign permission slips and sign her up for sports.

But I'm not her mom.

Her mom suggested that there be an adoption. The lawyer said that wasn't possible, so then suggested custody. Custody was agreed upon between us, but in the end, she wouldn't sign.

But I'm not her mom.

I cannot go to bed without saying goodnight. I cannot wait until I get to see her face in the morning. I look forward to seeing her after school and hear about her day.

I cherish our quality time, our fun outings, our talks in the car, our goofing around and being silly. I love to talk about her, telling of her being on the honor roll every quarter, of the look on her face when she did a back handspring, how she gets the long throw basketball shots.

No matter what our blood/no blood relation is, no matter what our legal status is, I couldn't imagine my life without her. The love I feel for this child is endless. I give her a piece of my heart and soul every day.

But I'm not her mom.

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