‘Why do they love her when I’m here?’ For 6 years, I wanted to hate her. But I loved them.’: Adoptive mom shares relationship with kids’ birth mom, ‘Love can accomplish great things’

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“For 6 years, I wanted to hate her. I knew she’d self-medicated with alcohol and illegal drugs for years. She’d battled depression, an illness that often charades as selfishness. Our kids had watched for years as she endured abuse, because some men and women wrongly believe that’s what real relationships look like or what they deserve. She chased after countless worthless men, searching for the love and hope they only stole away.

I wanted to hate her.

But for six years, I knew her eyes because I’d memorized J’s. And whew, her sassiness too! Her hugs and quick smile because I knew L’s so very well. I heard her laughter and sense of humor because P’s made me grin every day. I knew she chugged sprite, loved to dance, and ate most things with Louisiana hot sauce because K did too.

I wanted to hate her… but I loved K, P, L, and J.

Courtesy of Katherine Combs

And man, those kiddos love their birth mama.

My husband and I always encouraged them to love her and to forgive when they’re ready, but I don’t know, maybe it was a lie for a while. Why do they love that woman when I’m here, fighting for them every day?


Because adoption doesn’t erase biology or fond memories or the ache for what could have been. Adoption can heal many wounds. But when reconciliation and forgiveness are possible, the joy is almost tangible.

My first message to her was anonymous. ‘Hi. My name is Jane, and we love the same kiddos.’ She knew I was the adoptive mama but just knew me as Jane. She was defensive, expecting a trap or disillusionment.

Instead, our friendship grew. We sent her clothes one Christmas, hoping for a job hunt. I encouraged her to leave her abusive boyfriend. I assured her she was loved and there was hope. She shared stories about her childhood and memories with our kids I’d missed out on. Finally, after years of addiction and lies, she stopped the drugs and started becoming the person our kids need her to be.

Courtesy of Katherine Combs

One night, she texted me to say, ‘It’s very hard for me to even cope and say thanks, but I’ve learned and thought and I know they are in good hands. And for another family to take on more kids and still keep in contact with me, and even go out of your way to keep me on the right page… thank you. It makes me cry, it does, but at least I know you care and so do our kids. I pray for y’all day and night. I love y’all and them so much it’s unreal. Yes, I’m lost without them, but I know they are good and taken care of, and nothing bad will happen to them. They will be successful gentlemen and a lady. Talking to you keeps my spirit high and faith to keep on doing good and right.’

When we finally met this past Christmas, our differences were visible. She’s 4 feet, 9 inches. I’m 6-foot even. I’m shy and awkward. She loves attention. I prefer a sweatshirt and jeans. She loves dressing up. She’s lived ten lives in her 30-something years, but I’m still fairly sheltered in my little world.

Courtesy of Katherine Combs

There was no doubt we are two mamas who love the very same kids with the very same fierce love.

Six months later, I asked if she and I could meet for my birthday lunch. She had no idea K and P had agreed to join us. She cried when she saw their faces, and I cried because I wasn’t jealous anymore. I was happy and thankful our beautiful kiddos could be loved so much by two mamas.

When I asked her later if I could begin sharing her story, she replied, ‘Yes. You are more than welcome to post it. That’s fine with me. It just shows everybody I did it. I came this far, and I wouldn’t back down. If it’s okay with the boys and J, I’m okay with it. I’m glad you and your husband gave me a chance and didn’t give up.’

I wanted to hate her for a long time, y’all. And I think I did. But now, this woman is one of my good friends, and I’m so proud to say she’s clean, just earned her beautician’s license, and loses to our kiddos in bowling just like I do. Because love can accomplish great things.

Courtesy of Katherine Combs
Courtesy of Katherine Combs

People always ask me about adoption through foster care. Yes, it’s almost entirely free. (We paid for a first aid class.) Yes, it’s VERY difficult because many of those kiddos are hurting, scared, and pretty angry at the world. Often, reconciliation with the birth family isn’t optimal.

Every child deserves to have someone in their corner. Could that be you?

(Special shout-out to my amazing husband for loving, trusting, and supporting his crazy wife’s gut feelings.)

Courtesy of Katherine Combs

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Katherine Combs of Arkansas. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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