We moved in with you and Nanny just two weeks before your 3rd birthday. Part of us knew moving meant stepping into parenthood, but the lines were so blurred. We didn’t quite know where to start. For the first few weeks we just spent as much time with you as we could. We took you places, played with you, spent evenings watching shows, or taking walks around the neighborhood; and then Nanny would usually tuck you in for bedtime, just like she’d been doing for almost two years.

After a month of getting used to life together, we knew the hard questions needed answers. Would we become mom and dad? Or just devoted Aunt and Uncle?

We sat around the kitchen table after you went to bed. All of us tired from the day, but thinking deeply about you and the direction your life was about to take.

“I don’t want him to feel like I’m abandoning him,” Nanny said in a woeful tone, “but he deserves a mom and a dad. And how am I going to raise a teenager 10 years from now?”

The discussion continued for the next hour, my heart speeding around my chest and down to my stomach. You can never fully prepare for the moment you find out you’re going to be a parent. Silence took up a large part of the space that night, silence and pondering. And then just like that, after moments of hard discussion, we floated over the details, and the discussion stopped. “I want you to know that we love him deeply,” I said, looking up at Nanny. “We’ll take care of him.” Then your father spoke, “we’re going to do it, we’re going to adopt him.” We all looked at each-other smiling… with just a small trace of panic.

Suddenly, parenthood stood there, in front of us, interrogating us, demanding answers, and mocking us; mostly, at the intense brewing of our plans.

We took it one day at a time, watching our plans crumble, almost every single one of them, but falling in love with you, with your funny personality and kind demeanor. So much of it was hard, but God sent me answers through your smile, and the way you accepted me so freely, without condition, into your life.

I remember taking you to the local Japanese Tea Gardens. I wanted to ask you if it was ok with you that I became your mom. You were so little, but you already had such a strong personality, I needed to know you were ok with it too. We were looking down at what you called “big spotted cutie fishes” when I said, “Jaxson, would you like it if I became your mommy?” You looked at me, chuckled a little, and with a big smile, you said “yes.” At that point you were my son and I was your mother, the rest we’d figure out as we go.