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A Real Mother

(by Linda Thorburn)

“You're not my real mother!”

I take a deep breath in and hold it for a second. It is hard being a teen; it is harder, I think, when you are adopted. Marissa and I have had a strained relationship for a long time, and while she has contact with her “real mother,” I'm the one who has tried to raise her for the last 12 years.

When Marissa and her sister Mary first came to me, we bonded over silly things. It was holiday season, so we spent a lot of time baking cookies and giving them away. It would turn out to be our annual tradition, giving the cookies to community groups, shelters, or the church we attended. I would rock out to Mannheim Steamroller in the kitchen, and the kids would coerce me into playing at least once the Alvin and the Chipmunks Hula Hoop song. We would laugh and talk, about big i