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 Erin.

My son was born when I was 18 years old. My first daughter was born when I was 21. In many parts of the world that isn’t a big deal. Where we live, it’s a bit unusual. What makes it more unusual is that although my son was born when I was 18, I was never a teen mom. I became a mom at 22 through foster care and then adoption. People often can’t understand why I would choose to be a parent at that point in my life. Here is what I want you to know about choosing to be a young mom.

I want you to know that because I’m young I might still be figuring things out but that doesn’t mean I’m not a good mom. I’m advanced enough to read the stories, and help with the homework, and make sure the teeth are brushed every night. So please don’t judge me when you talk about something I don’t understand completely yet (like how to file taxes and what exactly this health insurance stuff means).

I want you to know that we didn’t become foster parents because we were poor kids straight out of college. We weren’t looking to make an easy buck off a foster child’s stipend. We both graduated with great jobs on the horizon and we are both still dedicated to our careers. Trust me, I could have made more money working an hour of overtime every day, and my hour of overtime wouldn’t need to be fed and clothed. We also weren’t devout Christians looking to save the world or a young couple struggling with infertility. We fostered and adopted simply because that is something we wanted to do.

But most importantly I want you to know that my children are my world. Every mother says that because it’s true. I would much rather be sipping hot chocolate with them on a Friday night then sipping a beer at the bar with my peers (most of the time anyway). We may not have originally intended to adopt, but that is how it worked out. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything by being a parent at this point in my life, and I don’t think my kids feel like they are missing anything because we are young. This is my family and I love it.