What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here.  Today’s guest post is by Dawn.

My husband and I have been the proud foster parents to BB for 6 months, and she is now almost 2 years old. As we share our story about fostering BB, many people question if we ever want to have our “own” kids one day. I try to explain that we are on the journey to hopefully make BB legally our “own.” And then they give me this look of confusion and try to explain what they really meant: But don’t you want to get pregnant and really have a child of your “own”?

I know that, for the most part, the friends and strangers who ask me these questions are curious and not meaning to be unkind. But it comes across like they are saying, “Not matter what happens, BB will never be your true child.” And that causes a pain deep down in my heart. Yes, when you see us, BB certainly couldn’t be mistaken for my biological child. However, I am confident that there is no way that I could have a greater love for a child (not even for a child that grew in my stomach) than the love that I have for BB. She will never be a lesser, not-my-own child.

And even if the day comes when BB leaves our home to be placed back with her “own” biological family (and you find me balled up on the couch with a Costco-sized box of tissues), she will always OWN a huge piece of my heart. If in 10 years from now, someone asks me how many of my “own” children I have, whether she is still living with us or not, I will joyfully include precious BB in the total number.

Instead of using the word “own” child, I would suggest saying “biological” child, if you feel the need to make a distinction. And please know that I give this advice with love and grace, knowing full well that I have used this painful word in the past.