Can you LOVE adopted kids?! Part 2

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Nicole Walters Podcast

The Nicole Walters Podcast

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SHOW NOTES

The Misterfella is here to chat about his take on if you can truly LOVE adopted kids, if he owns the role as ‘stepdad’, and what it takes to love in a unique role like this.

Friends, I want to hear from you! Especially if you’ve adopted and had bio kids, what is your take? Let us know over on IG @‌NicoleWalters.

Thanks for being here as always and don’t forget you can watch clips of the podcast on the Youtube Channel!

 

Nicole:

Hey, friends. So if you caught last week’s episode, you know that I chatted a bit about one of the toughest things to hear as an adoptive mother. And if you listen to that, so you know that it’s the thing you never say it’s so difficult, but it ties in to is it even possible to love children that are not biologically yours? And if so, how long does it take? And how do you even know that you’re there? Does it affect your ability to parent? Can you add additional biological kids to the mix? I mean, hot button issue, you know, and the thing that I also want to bring to it today, because you know, we kind of unpacked that last week is, at least in my personal situation, is what does it look like if you’re bringing a partner into the fold, because I think a lot of us as mothers or aunties or sisters or friends can speak to sort of gosh, I hate to say it, but that our natural hardwiring, that can come with loving these babies, you know, but what does it look like if you get divorced and you meet someone new?

What does it look like when you adopt a child, get divorced, and now you’ve got someone who is what two three removed from biological parents having to come into the fold and love your kids? Well, if there’s anyone who can speak to that, it’s me, but not just me. It’s me and my guy, Alex. So for our monthly chat we have here today, Alex.

Alex:

Hello, I’m back.

Nicole:

I love having you. Everybody loves hearing from you. And you have so much to offer. Thanks for being here.

Alex:

Of course, of course.

Nicole:

So, I mean, you already know about last week’s episode, because we talked about this, you know, and I transparently shared, you know, that you had, you know, some interactions, and we’ve had interactions from people in general, kind of questioning how it was possible for you to have any sort of depth of affection, is the best way to describe it. Right, you know, or be identified as a father figure, you know, to children that you just met.

Or, I mean, at this point, it’s been a year, yeah, but, you know, children who have just come into your life, that are tied to your fiance. So I wanted to, you know, hear straight from the horse’s mouth, you know, like, because you’ve been here before, and talked about what it’s like to date someone with children and you know, kind of high level, but you’ve been at this parenting thing for a little bit now. And I think it’s fair, you know, for you to just sort of take the floor and like us, let’s start with one, you know, for my friends who are out there with children and are divorced or co-parenting or whatever, what it’s like coming into that, like, because you never expected to be the type of guy who would date someone who has kids.

Alex:

Yeah, no, no, that wasn’t something I was aiming to do.

Nicole:

Right, you know, sure.

Alex:

It just kind of happened. And, you know, and it’s funny, because I have multiple family members, you know, who are step-parents.

Nicole:

So in your background and in your family?

Alex:

It’s actually not that weird. It’s really not.

Nicole:

Yeah, and divorce, also, isn’t that like, completely unheard of in your family either?

Alex:

Yeah, there’s divorce. There’s a couple of stepparents and my family.

Nicole:
Interracial relationships.

Alex:
Almost all. <laughs> Almost all interracial relationships. We pretty much got them all covered in my family.

Nicole:

And so with that in mind, then when it came to sort of coming into it, of course, it was something that wasn’t an unusual concept to you, but we weren’t seeking it out. You know what I mean? 

Alex:

Right, right.

Nicole:

Is, so I’m just I’m asking, honestly, this just occurred to me, I did not even bring up this before, but I’m gonna ask and if you don’t want to say it, I guess you could edit it out. But I’d love for you to leave it in. When you found out that I had kids, because that wasn’t something I brought up on day one. Like it was something I lead with.

Alex:

Right, right. That’s not like a chill ice breaker. I got three adopted kids.

Nicole:
Because people put it in their dating profiles. They say I’m a mom of three kids.

Alex:
They do. They feel the need to disclose that. And, you know, like, that’s, that’s great, you know, and that kind of narrows down the field.

Nicole:

Yeah, if indeed, that is a thing. I think that I never disclosed at one because I wasn’t necessarily certain that I was looking to remarry, let alone like or to date, let alone remarry, like, really, you know, but also, I didn’t disclose it because and Ima just say this. I think the aunties will understand because they know they’ve known me longer than you have. Them my kids, you know what I mean? So Like, I’m going out here and dating out if you earn the privilege, even though they exist, congratulations, you know, and I think you know it now because you know, how am I about my babies, you know, but like, you need to earn the right for that, for that for them to even be part of your world.

Alex:
Yeah you do not play.

Nicole:

I need to get to know you well enough to even determine if you get to know who my kids are, you know, so. And that took a while. I mean, you didn’t meet the kids for the better part of a year of us being together because I was not playing with that.

Alex:

It’s kind of a good way. I guess it is kind of a good way to do it. Because then it’s like, okay, you’re focusing on like, our, even our end, right? Is there even anything here? And if there is, when we introduced this new element, is it still worth exploring? Do I care this much you know, about you to like, welcome in this other thing? And the answer was yes.

Nicole:

Yeah. But also there was no option. Like if it was a no, then it was a no, like a package deal. Right. Right. Right. Right, obviously. Yeah. So okay, so when you found out I had kids actually don’t even remember. Maybe you do. I don’t remember telling you. I don’t remember the moment. I don’t even remember how it came up.

Alex:

I don’t either. Yeah, be honest.

Nicole:
I don’t really remember. I do think maybe I was talking about because, again, Nicole Walters comes with a ton of things. And I think I was just kind of sharing like, hey, just, you know, we already had the deal not to Google, that was already a thing.

Alex:

Right? And in full. And in full disclosure, which I’ve mentioned to you before, I, you know, when I started finding out a little bit, I was like, you know, who are you like what’s, you know, like, I don’t understand.

Nicole:
Is she a spy?

Alex:
And you just say all these amazing things so nonchalantly, and I’m like, what’s up with this chick? And then so I just, you know, I did do an initial Google search, like a light Google.

Nicole:

If you like, Google me, the first thing that comes up as a family photo, I did tell you that I was divorced. And I did tell you that.

Alex:
Oh, it’s because of the show.

Nicole:
Right.

Alex:
That was it, because she’s a boss. And I saw, you know, the family pictures. Yeah, I was like, Okay. And but yeah, so I started to read a little bit of that article. And then I think that was how.

Nicole:
I think I mentioned it.

Alex:
You might have mentioned that beforehand. But I mean, I remember like, I started to read and then I stopped myself about a paragraph in. And I was like, no, like, I don’t want to find out about you this way. You know, like, I want to find out about you from you. You know, it’s like, if I read up on everything, what else do we have to talk about? <laughs>

Nicole:

I mean, frankly, I think at that point, we talked a little bit about like, the drastic overhaul that was my life, and what it looked like to have a fresh start, which if if you are catching up or listening to this episode, you know, kind of one off, I do want to encourage you to keep up with me on Instagram at Nicole Walters. And also let you know that my book is available for pre-sale now, everywhere books are sold Barnes and Noble Amazon, and is being published on October 10. So if you grab a copy right now, that will catch you all the way up to speed, including some of the behind the scenes. So it’s called Nothing is Missing. And you can grab that now. But you’re right, like I didn’t give you the full primer right now. We kind of just dated like normal people. But you know, I did tell you about my kids. And that it was important. And you knew that that was something that was non negotiable. So I was clear about that. Did you consider what that would mean?

Alex:

Oh, and of course, I mean, I’m not, you know, like, I know what that would mean. And what it would lead to I’m like, if I pursue this, and I meet these kids, I’m like, I know, it’s no light thing, meeting the child of somebody you’re dating, like, that’s a big deal. Because you don’t want to bring a bunch of people in and out of their lives, like, mess with them.

Nicole:
And that way, you know how I am, for sure.

Alex:

So it’s like if I had the intention of meeting them, that means I have the intention of staying.

Nicole:

That’s which I think was you know, talked about because I’m not leaving is such a huge theme I talked about in my book a lot. Not leaving when you are dealing with children who have trauma, or children who have been through some of the things my kids have been through, like, you know, permanent figures is so important. Right? So okay, so I’m gonna kind of do a call out here. Just to be fair, even though you knew that being a stepdad would be on the table, you know, if you were going to pursue me in that capacity.

Did you even have an idea of what that would entail, which is easier for you to speak to now that you’ve been doing it? But did you even have an idea like, because we all know of anyone who’s dealt with, you know, finding a secondary relationship after co-parenting, navigating multiple children, older children, trauma, anxiety, transitions, all of those things. Did you have any idea even though you’re saying, oh, yeah, I know. It’d be a stepdad but like, what did that mean to you?

Alex:

Oh, yeah, I did not know. I don’t know. I had no idea. I mean, I mean, I had some idea. I’m like, Ally, is this many years old. Right, and that XY and Z means, you know, like the thing but no, I mean, like the day to day I, you know, I didn’t really know that. It also entailed that like, you know, your daily schedule is dictated by this kid’s life.

Nicole:
Yes. You stop living.

Alex:
You know, well, no, you don’t stop.

Nicole:
No, we do keep living. That’s true. 

Alex:

But life goes on.

Nicole:

But the babies are a priority.

Alex:
Thank you Jeff Goldblum, life finds a way.

Nicole:

They’re what we focus on. 

Alex:

Yeah, exactly. And it’s like everything revolves around them. I wake up, the time that I wake up in the morning, so I can accommodate her schedule. Get her to school. You know, we were talking about how we split up our duties.

Nicole:

Yeah. So let’s talk about what stepdad and it looks like now, I guess since you do it, and I just to be transparent, y’all. It is so weird for me to say, stepdad, I’m not gonna lie. And it must be I don’t know, if it’s weird for you to hear, you know?

Alex:
No, I mean, I’ve been doing it for almost two years now, right?

Nicole:

In some way, shape, or form. So it is weird, but I guess it’s just, it’s weird. Maybe it’s and this is, you know, maybe a little bit of a feel. But the reason why it feels weird to me to say is you want to talk about things I never expected to have to say, like, right, not a figure I ever thought I would have in my life. Because you know, you know me, I like, it’s why you want to marry me. I’m all in on marriage. Like, I love it, you know, so I can’t even believe I’m at a place where, you know, I have these babies. That was one of the biggest things and conversation actually, no, I think I’ve talked about this in earlier episodes this season, the guilt that I feel. The mommy guilt of knowing that I’ve had to like dismantle their lives and start over, you know, but also the joy that I feel that Ally has this incredible, incredible male role model in her life.

Alex:

Yeah, I mean, we know we were talking about that. I’m, like, I feel so like, you know, privileged. And just like I feel the weight of the responsibility of being a person, a kids role model for what a man is.

Nicole:
Yeah.

Alex:

Because I have this kid looking up to me, and I am the daily example of a man for years and her formative years. And it’s like, you know, and so, like, the weight of that is not lost on me. And so I know that. And so I’m very careful about a lot of the things that I do in the way that I show up every day.

Nicole:

Towards her and towards me.

Alex:
Yeah, both, both. Because, you know, she needs to know what a good partner looks like.

Nicole:

So what does that mean to you? Like, what, you know, for my friends out here who are saying, like, look, you’re right, like, I care a lot about who I’m especially with. I mean, honestly, it’s not even about girls or boys, because if it’s a son, it’s shaping how he’s going to treat his future, you know, girl, and then you know, if it’s a girl is going to how she’s how she’s going to treat her future partner, seek out. So what does that mean for you? When you’re because I know how you show me affection. I have really, you know, in my years of experience, you know, I have and I talked about in the book, my different romantic partnerships, as well as parental relationships have really formed what I thought men were, you know, and being with you, that was, this is we’re about to get real real. So something I typically don’t say, but, you know, that is an element of, you know, my partnership, you know, terminating before was because it was really important to me that my girls saw a relationship that was filled with love. And we didn’t have that, you know, and I think that’s something that I don’t think he’ll disagree with, at all, you know, is that we just did not have what I felt at least would be a great example for my daughters, particularly in their formative years of a partnership. Yeah. And it’s, and it’s funny, because you tell that story. I can see it on your face, like, you know, a time that Ally called us out.

Alex:

Yeah, you can see it, that’s exactly where my brain was going. Yeah, cuz it’s, it’s so it’s funny, you know, like, so Nicole and I were in a fight.

Nicole:

I don’t remember what it was.

Alex:

I have no idea what it was about. But we had a disagreement. It was a little tense. And, you know, there wasn’t a screaming match or anything. It was something that we were stuck on. Stuck on.

Nicole:
I’m not feeling you right now. And then I was just like, and the contrast to our norm.

Alex:
Yes, which is very silly and all that stuff. And so I was just like, I had to go to work. And I was like, Alright, I gotta go. I was like, bye see later. And then, you know, normally when we kiss.

Nicole:

Normally when you leave, it’s an event. It’s like 15 Kisses before the door. I can’t believe you’re leaving. Yeah.

Alex:

So so first of all, when we normally kiss Allys just like can you guys cut it out, can you be chill?

Nicole:

Like typical 11 year old, you know.

Alex:

But it was funny in this instance, where she’s used to showing affection, doing this stuff, and I just left without kissing my,

Nicole:

Or started to leave.

Alex:

Or I started to leave. And she and she was just like, what was she like? What are you doing? You’re not doing the smoochy smooch. <laughs>

Nicole:

She was not having it.

Alex:

She was put off. And it was funny, because you know, they are paying attention like paying, they’re paying attention.

Nicole:
And even though Oh, that’s gross.

Alex:
They love to see it because they like to see us happy.

Nicole:
She said that to me. We’re getting onto the freeway. And she was like, you know, Mom, I can tell that you and Alex really like each other. And I was like, oh, and she was like, Yeah, you know, she was like, at least you guys speak the same language which you know, is the way that I put for her the contextualizing divorce that, you know, it’s not that there’s a bad person or a good person or someone did something or didn’t, because she’s a baby. And that is not her business, you know, but, you know, I’ve just told her like, you know, sometimes adults don’t speak the same language. You got to find someone who communicates with you that you know, the way that works for you.

And so she was like, I can tell you guys speak the same language and I was like, Oh, really? How’s that? And she was like, well, you and dad weren’t all smoochy smoochy but man, you and Alex smoochy smoochy all the time.

Alex:
It’s cute.

Nicole:
But it also gosh, if it doesn’t register the importance of, you know, like, I have so many friends, you know, and some of some are listening right now who are like, Girl, I cannot bring myself to date after that breakup after that, whatever, you know, the dating pool is filled with pee, I’m not trying to do it, you know, they’re really not into it. But there also is something to be said for your kids being able to see you loved well, like that’s part of it.

Alex:

It goes a long way. And it sets the example of what to expect from him or from your partner. So when she starts dating, you know, like we’ve talked about, she’s going to know the things to look for.

Nicole:
And she says that like the other day when I remember, we came home and our door was slightly cracked. And they’re like, what even happened to it was a window. So I don’t know. But I remember I was like, oh, no, and you saw me like, you were like, you guys, stay back. I’m gonna walk through the house.

Alex:

The front door was a little open. We’re like, Wait, did you forget to close it? Do you forget it was that weird? Like, wait, what? And then, you know, I just did like a walkthrough.

Nicole:
Yeah, no, but you were like, stay outside the house, get to the back. I don’t even know if you realize your energy you were like, because we had just picked up Ally from school. So it was me and Ally, stay in the back, stand over here.

Alex:

I also wasn’t gonna be I also I was, you know, I don’t want to like overdo because I don’t want to make a big deal.

Nicole:

Yeah you didn’t want us to freak out. But you were like, I’m not playing stand here. You know, and I was okay. And so I remember I was there with Ally. And I’m looking at her. And I was like, Yeah, you know, Alex is just gonna walk through the house just to make sure everything’s fine. But I’m sure everything’s fine. But it was funny, because she, like, gets real quiet for a second while you’re walking through the house. And then all of a sudden, she looks at me, and she’s like, Alex is a good guy. And it wasn’t a, it was one of those, you know, how you say something out loud. But it’s like a thought, you know? And I was like, Oh, okay. You know, I was like, Well, what makes you say that? And she was like, because he goes in front of us. And like, it’s such a loaded and wise statement for such a little human.

Alex:

Oh, yeah.

Nicole:
You know what I mean, but it’s just another validation point of God, I’m so glad she’s getting these little downloads into her body as she starts going to decide her partnership. So in talking about that, and talking about adoptive love, you know, like, and the importance of, you know, these experiences and like, why, you know, I’m grateful to have you in the world, you know, one way or another, like, you are going to come into our world, like, that’s how it is. So let’s talk a little bit about what that means for you, in terms of sort of Gosh, and I hate using this word, but it used to often accepting Ally as your own.

Alex:
Right.

Nicole:
Right. Because you accept her, what we’ve just been talking about is accepting her as my daughter and part of the package. But there’s another level that I think all moms worry about and want, you know, which is when I’m away, or should something happen to me, or as we add to our pack, you know, this is your baby, and we are all a unit. Tell me about that. Your heels around it. If you agree with that, if you know, what does that mean to you?

Alex:

Yeah, I mean, I do. I mean, I act every day. I mean, I’m not acting but like, you know what I mean, I move forward through the day with the knowledge that like, this is my stepdaughter. You know, this was like my kid now. You know, and I do love her. Like, she is a great, great.

Nicole:
She’s easy to love. Y’all, if y’all have kids who are biters, okay. throwing stuff, okay, and acting out, they may be a little bit more than I need to warm up. I’m kidding. I’m kidding. But all babies deserve love.

Alex:

This maybe a good point to say the thing. So, like, I had a interaction with a friend,

Nicole:

And thank you for sharing this because I know that this was yeah, that was a sticky point.

Alex:

Yeah, this had me feeling a type of way for a minute. Yeah, but I had a friend, we’re at work. And I was like, yeah Ally started, you know, middle school. And I was like, it’s such a trip. Like, it’s just so crazy. You know, it’s really cool. And then, you know, and he’s, he’s like, Well, you’re acting like you like, you know, raised in or like, it’s your kid from birth, or, like, I forget what the exact comment was. But it was like, you know, to the effect that I’m not her birth, you know, bio dad.

Nicole:
Or you’re not entitled to feel…

Alex:
I’m not entitled to feel pride or whatever. Like, it’s like, it’s like, it was fake pride. I don’t know what the inference was…

Nicole:
Yeah or it was misplaced pride or whatever…

Alex:
And some was like, I don’t know, but I’m like, why can’t I feel pride and love for this kid? I’m like, I mean, I knew that I love you three months in is when we started.

Nicole:

Listen, people gave a range where I said this last episode. I have arranged marriages after never meeting somebody, you know, and they’re like, you know, and they’ve been married 43 years and you’re committing to merge your income. Look, the Brits used to ship wives, okay, back and forth to marry them to Kings. You know what I mean? And it’s like, and yet here we are.

Alex:

Yeah, yeah, I knew, I knew pretty soon and that I was going to commit to you for my, you know, like, forever. And that I loved you. And that that was going to be that. So why can’t so why can’t I feel the same thing for this kid?

Nicole:

You know, it’s easy, because I, you know, me, I’m very team grace. And I understand people’s perspectives, I get it, on some levels, like I get people wanting to question. Maybe it’s our natural protective nature around children, you know, on some level, where it’s like, oh, too much affection too close. So let’s just be careful, like I can understand where someone may say that or even as a bio, you know, to play devil’s advocate, you know, the other side out here, the biological parents saying, ;ook, I hormonally understand parenting on a level. And if he hasn’t had this thing, like, people talk about how when they held their kid for the first time, or they saw that delivery, it transformed them. Neither of us honestly know what that is. Right?

Alex:

That is an experience that we have not experienced,

Nicole:

You better yet that for the Lord.

Alex:

Yet.

Nicole:

Yet, however, so I don’t want to take away whatever that is. However, I do think that how can that exist in context with phrases out of love at first sight? Or when you know, you know, you know, like, how can that exist towards two humans, you know, and keeping in mind also that, like, are kids are interactive, they can say, I love you back, they can say, I don’t like this, like we have older children. So it’s one of those things where it’s like, it’s just interesting, our family gelled when I saw how you were with Ally, and how Ally responded to you, for me, that made you in even more. You know what I mean, when I saw how you responded to me as a mother, because I’m crazy. I’m not sane as a mom, and you weren’t put off by that, you know, like, because I’m obsessed with my babies, like that was… it brought us closer together? Right? 

Alex:

Well, I say it well, I say it all the time. I’m like, well, that, you know, it wasn’t a put off. Because, you know, with a lot of couples, you have to evaluate and be like, Oh, you would make a great mother.

Nicole:

People don’t do that. That’s the problem. I didn’t do that.

Alex:

I didn’t, and I didn’t do that either. Because I didn’t have to because I got to actually see it.

Nicole:

I didn’t know you’re the guy. I always joke, you like to look up the dish of food before you order it at the restaurant.

Alex:

And you know what it looks like before I commit to eat?

Nicole:
Oh my god, you know.

Alex:
So I’m like, Alright, I you know, I got to see the dish. I got to see you as a mom, I didn’t have to guess that it was gonna be good. Right? I saw that it was gonna be good.

Nicole:

By extension parenting, you know, like, a lot of people say like, you know, you met like, it’s just interesting. The context of how long does it take to love? You know, because right, like, what’s the minimum? What is the amount? What is the time? So can he be a dad for a year? Can he be a dad for 90 days? Does he have to help her go through chemo? Does he have to help her with her first boyfriend? Does he have to show up and beat up a boy? Like, what is the checklist for him to be allowed to love a child like his child is his own?

Alex:

I mean, not even just the love of the child, but to consider yourself a father, like, you know, like, because you can you can love something but not be like, a father, right?

Nicole:

Listen, that was a huge fact. Like, because I’ve talked about that transparently. I did a chat Two episodes ago, where I talked about our kids bio mom who you’ve met, you know, and you’ve actually met with my kids bio mom more than I think other male figures have in her life. You know, and I don’t talk about her publicly, ever, you know what I mean? And she 100%, you know, could see the dynamic, you know, and to have her sign off on feeling comfortable, you know, when she’s been in our life the whole time. Right is a big deal.

Alex:
Right? I mean, you know, I was questioning I was like, what is the measurement of what a father is? Is it? Is it if I, you know, wiped her when she was a baby, it does that make me a father? Because there’s plenty of bio dads out there who have never taken on that responsibility.

Nicole:

No one asked me how many diapers Donald Trump has changed, right? He has like five kids you don’t question as that kid? He’s still the father. And then it’s and then it’s like, how many baseball games has he been to? How many you know what I mean? But then it’s also like he’s trained and raised up his kids, you know, in other ways. So does that make it more of a like, Do you know what I mean? Like what what are the definitions you know of what a dad is? And why can’t we define them for ourselves? If I’m okay with it, you should love it. You know what I’m like,

Alex:

Yes, there is a thing about being the bio dad where it’s like just came from me like, like you said, like giving birth like you can’t take that away.

Nicole:

I don’t want to and I would never want to know because I don’t even know I’m not qualified to speak to that.

Alex:

I don’t know, either. You know, and I’m sure that is a whole other thing. But what I do know is that being a father is just showing up and doing the best You can for this kid, and always caring and prioritizing. And that’s what I’ve tried to do. That’s what we do.

Nicole:

But then also, I think the other part of it is, you know, at least in our relationship, right, because I really can’t speak to other people. I know for a fact and watching you, you know, develop as a father, I don’t even want to say become a father because I think your nature of being a father and a parent existed before my kid, you know, it’s, that is part of why I’m ready to have children with you is because your nature being a father is is internal, you know what I mean? Like you, you nurture and you father, and I’ve said this about my girl squad, I’ve seen you father your friends, like and I don’t mean that in like, you know, sunning, them or, you know, like that sort of thing. I mean, like you have fathered them and listening to them, nurturing them, loving them well, and providing that firm, you know, discipline or certain guidance or redirection, it’s your moral compass.

Alex:
That moral compass.

Nicole:
They call you the moral compass of the group, you know, and, and that reliability, you know, that accountability, like, I mean, you’re the friend that people call saying, Hey, can you pick up my mom from the airport? Because they know you’re good for it? You know what I mean? Like, you’re the one who will say, look, I’m saying, I love you on the phone, I love you, bro. Whether you like it or not, I’m saying it, you know, like, that’s how you are. So it’s one of those things where, you know, watching you develop as a father, you know, and learn the role. I’m, I am really learning a lot about parenting, you know, it’s not, it’s so much of it isn’t that checklist, obviously, you know, because you do pickups, you do drop offs, you do nurturing, but we also hand off her, her, her growth. So like, you handle like social situations, for the most part, you know, you handle things, like, some of the silliness, the activities, you know, but like talking through her with those things, and I do a lot of the like, self worth, the girl stuff, you know, whatever, you know, like with that, but we also tag team, that’s part of it, too.

Alex:

I mean, I’ve tackled some of that stuff, you know, when you’re working, traveling…

Nicole:

With kids, lord knows life stuff comes up.

Alex:
It just comes up and you and you deal with it.

Nicole:
Absolutely.

Alex:
And I try to show up the best way I can to handle that stuff. But it’s like, you know, that’s why that comment, you know, from my friend, really…

Nicole:
You felt it.

Alex:
I felt that and that really rubbed me the wrong way. Because it was it felt like it was kind of diminishing my role…

Nicole:

or turning into something comparative, which I think is really tough, right?

Alex:

My love, my like, like, my love for her could not compare to the love I have for my children, you know.

Nicole:

Which because also, and this begs the question, then we’re gonna have a child, you know, or two, who knows, you know, and if we have our own children, the idea that even the prospect or the notion that someone would think I would love my biological children more than I love my children that at this point, you know, loved, raised, and thought would be my only kids, I never have, like, I can’t even wrap my head around.

I do think, the same way that you have different relationships with each child, I will have a different relationship with those children who are, you know, I anticipate that and I think that that is healthy and natural, because God forbid, you’re the parent who treats all your kids as if they’re the same. Not every kid needs the same, you know, like they grow at different rates. One is going to eat solids at five months, another is going to eat solids at six, you know, like, and the idea that you’re like, nope, it’s five months on the clock, it’s a Monday start shoving solids in them. That is not parenting, right? You know, you got to see your own child and meet them where they are. So I acknowledge that to be the case.

But the notion that I would love my bio babies with you more than I would love, I can’t even I can’t even, if that’s the case, then they can’t go out into the world because I would love them even get a scratch. Okay, I’m setting something on fire. Like I wouldn’t even if it is possible to love those babies more. Okay, are you kidding me?

Alex:
I know.

Nicole:

It’s wild. But how does that feel for you to know that? We’re gonna have our own children, but love wise, you know, I’m gonna see them as the same. Is that weird for you?

Alex:

No, I think this way it should be I mean, you had these you’ve had these kids a long time. And I mean, the amount of stuff that you’ve gone through with them. I mean, the bond that you guys have now, I mean.

Nicole:
It’s the babies. They’re my babies.

Alex:
Literally, your heart and soul, your blood it’s in there.

Nicole:

I mean, we talk about some of the measure of love being in experiences as well, you know, and I think that sometimes people don’t realize because maybe with their bio kids in a conventional relationship with the parent, you know, have both of them. And you’re not co parenting, you haven’t dealt with divorce. And those of y’all listening who have dealt with divorce, know where I’m going with this, you know, there are things that you deal with in this world, you know, co-parenting style and all that. And management, you have to do with the child’s well being that, boy, if you can make it through that. You have a bond. You know, it’s almost like you get these in these bond amplifiers in certain moments that people don’t understand because frankly, as a bio parent, you never have to go through it. You know what I mean? There are things you like, I adopted three kids with preexisting trauma. You know, I had these babies where I’ve literally gone through chemotherapy. You can’t tell me after watching my child fight for her life, you know, and there are some moments I’ve never spoken about anywhere. But I’ve written about it in the book because I couldn’t I frankly, I can’t talk about them out loud. You know, even now, I can’t talk about them out loud without bursting into tears just thinking about it, you know? So,

Alex:

I mean, I know most of the story, and I mean, and I always, you know, I read it. Yeah, you read the book, I read it. I read the book cover to cover. And I mean, it had me like, Oh, man. Yeah. I mean, there was some stuff I didn’t know.

Nicole:
Yeah. Like, descriptive elements and certain details.

Alex:
I was like, wow, like, I You never told me. I had to ask you. I was like…

Nicole:
And I was like, because I can’t say it out loud. It’s just too hard. You know, some of these things are too hard. And so having, you know, been in the room, and I mean, I have, I talked about in detail the circumstance in the book, but I have looked at my daughter dying and I have offered up my own blood, because I’m a blood match for her, you know, and said, take this, you know, take it from me, you know what I mean? I don’t care if it kills me, like, whatever, you know what I mean? Do whatever you got to do, save her life, you know? And the idea that anyone would question or say like, Yeah, well, you really love her at the 10 year mark, you’re really her mom, you know, right?

Alex:

Who puts a stamp on this many years equals now you’re allowed to love? It doesn’t make sense. You know? I mean, like, there has been, it’s been a very eventful time.

Nicole:

Oh, yeah. The time that we’ve been together right now, the transition, this is one of four are major, major transitions for Ally especially. So my older one has had her own bucket of things. My middle one has her own bucket of things. But for Ally, this is the biggest thing that has happened.

Alex:
And I mean, you know, you know, leaving Atlanta moving across country, I mean, you know, the whole the divorce stuff, like it’s just, it’s a lot, it’s a lot on a kid, and you know, I’ve been there for all of it, all of it. And, you know, and now, and she is so well adjusted and doing so so well.

Nicole:
And thanks to you.

Alex:
I don’t like anybody telling me that I can’t express any pride or love that I have for a kid knowing what she’s been through and doing and excelling.

Nicole:

Oh, not you getting spicy.

Alex:
Oh, my. No, I am proud. And I love that kid. You know what I mean? And it’s like, you can’t tell me?

Nicole:

Yeah, you’re like listen, don’t you try to come for it. Because it’s true, though. Because also again, being in those day to day moments, people don’t know what we’ve been through, you know. And there is I think, honestly, the number one feeling is pride. We’re so dang proud of her. We’re so proud of her. Like…

Alex:

Right? But it’s and it’s also like, and that my expression of pride and love is not to take away from anyone else’s pride. It’s not. It’s not it’s, you know, it’s like, oh, well, I dealt with it’s hard to Well, I don’t it’s not the pain Olympics, it’s not suffering Olympics. And it’s not the love of Olympics. Right? It’s like you love your kids.

Nicole:

I love my kids. That’s right. You know, that’s exactly right. So what comes next then? Right, you know, like, so how does one deal with that? You know, because I know that as a public figure, who has had these kids and people who are new to the picture may not understand everything, right? Like, there’s this phrasing that’s always used on the internet randomly in different spaces. I don’t know there’s something about it, that just doesn’t seem quite right. You know, like the conspiracy theorist sentence, you know. And people always think that that means that they’ve picked up on something magically, intuitively, you know, that other people don’t see. They don’t ever think it means that maybe something’s wrong with them, that they’re applying their own trauma to whatever visual element, it’s always got to be that they’ve got some magic Mojo. Right, you know, and so people, people will say that about me, people said that about my marriage, they said that about you, you know, that? Oh, I don’t know, something doesn’t seem quite right. You know what I mean?

And I think a lot of times people don’t realize that what you’re what you may be detecting is that there are things you don’t know, there are things you don’t know, and you are not entitled to, you know.

Alex:
And they never will.

Nicole:
And they never will and the love is real. You know what I mean? And like, we have survived it, you know, and it’s, we’re really proud of it. But all that being said, as a Gosh, twice removed dad, you know, to this sweet, sweet baby. What would you tell someone who is one for we’re going to, to first in your situation, who might be listening to this, you know, was passed on by one of the aunties saying look like, I get that this is who you are, I want you to hear some of these thoughts, right? What would you say to that guy stepping in who has to play this role? What does he need to know? You know, about showing up completely and the responsibility and weight of it?

Alex:

I mean, if you are the kind of guy that frequently tries to just do the right thing, then you will, I mean, you won’t really need to try that hard. Like it will come naturally. And if you’re not that kind of guy, then I mean, either you work on it, or maybe you’re just not meant to be there.

Nicole:
Like get away from there.

Alex:
Like get away from there and don’t don’t play around if you’re not there for real. You know, and if you are there for real, then you you know you got to come you Gotta I mean, you gotta commit, because coming into a kid’s life, and then being all like, kind of wishy washy about it is very harmful.

Nicole:
It’s harmful.

Alex:
You know what I mean? So don’t even don’t even meet the kid, don’t even become integrated in any way unless you are fully intending on being there for real.

Nicole:
That’s good. You know, that’s good.

Alex:
But just be there, show up and just do the right things.

Nicole:

It’s so good. So then what advice would you have then, for family members, friends, people from the outside who are watching the person that they know, sort of enter this circumstance and, you know, develop into a dad or, you know, deal with other kids? And all of that, you know, how should they respond? You know, in terms of like, what support solutions, perspectives, whatever, how should they respond? What would you look for? What response would you be looking for.

Alex:
Like, for my family?

Nicole:
Yeah, not just your family, family, friends, I mean, because you had this experience, you know, and what I mean, we’ll be transparent also, like, you know, when Father’s Day came around, you know, one of the things that we commonly heard was, Oh, we didn’t realize you were a father, you know, like, not in a rude way. But ya know, it was your first Father’s day.

Alex:
It didn’t even register for them, because maybe they just haven’t, you know, seen it or experienced it as much.

Nicole:

Well we didn’t have the pregnancy that whatever, you know, all the things that typically come with people get 9,10 months to adjust to someone becoming a father.

Alex:
Yeah. And but but for quite some time, I’ve been, you know, living my daily life with this kid and her schedule as my, you know, the top priority.

Nicole:

And protecting her life and her heart and her mind and her soul.

Alex:
And all the things and, you know, teaching things I can and you know, all the good things. But um, I don’t know, for my family, you know, they didn’t realize it, but it wasn’t because they didn’t count me is that right? They even admitted they’re like, we just didn’t think about it, because I’m also like, the baby of the family. Yeah. So it’s, it’s different for them to think of me in that capacity. You know, but once they did realize it, they didn’t have…

Nicole:
They didn’t have qualms. It took them no time. They said why didn’t we think of that?

Alex:
It didn’t take them long to come around to the idea because Oh, yeah, I guess like you have been doing that, you know, and that is this.

Nicole:
So what would you say then or what would you advise family members and friends who are listening? Who may have said things like, wow, I’m kind of surprised that you feel this close to the kid or wow, you know, are you sure you’re really a father? Because let’s be you’ve had friends who’ve come over and said, How’s it going with the kid like people, people do carry a lot of assumptions because it’s important work? You know, it’s an important role. But people assume that because it’s so important, and kids are like a wild variable, that it must be difficult, right?

Alex:
And it’s not traditional.

Nicole:
And it’s not traditional, but people really assume like, Oh, my God, older kids, they’re probably like, we hate you. You’re not our real dad.

Alex:

And I didn’t have to deal with any of that. And I was very lucky, you know, but I don’t know, in terms of the family and friends, you know, just support them in their decisions that they’re making. And, you know, if they ask for support, just give it to them.

Nicole:
Yeah. And hold him accountable.

Alex:
I think that’s, and holding him accountable is a big one, too.

Nicole:

Because I think that for some people, they may not realize that it is an adjustment period, you know, to have to see yourself as that dad, and they will make mistakes. Alex, you made mistakes early on. Not a lot. If this is again, I think I’ve said it here before I say to everyone, one thing I love about you, is you our team, I will make that mistake one time, and you will never do it again. You know what I mean? Like you are so like I learned and apply. And you also don’t usually make huge mistakes, which is so good that it’s such a blessing. Right? You know, like you’ve had and when I say the mistake, I’ll just kind of just say it like short, you said that you would accept a responsibility of like, making a phone call and checking in because I wasn’t able to do it because I was on set filming a TV show, and then you were and then you missed the time. You know what I mean? And I was like, and because I am the mom that I am and I take my kids so seriously, I literally like went off on you. I was like, listen, don’t if you can’t do it. And every single Mama knows exactly what I’m about to say if you can’t do it. Don’t say you gonna do it. You know what I mean? Like I will like because this is my baby. And we don’t play around with letting her done. It’s one thing to let me down. And now my kids, and like, I remember your face. When I said that to you. You were like, Oh, she’s gonna murder me.

Alex:
Oh, I felt so bad.

Nicole:

Yeah, you were like, oh, no, like, she’s not playing with these kids. And I have to

Alex:

And at that point, it was, you know, earlier into stepping into this role. So it definitely it was super early.

Nicole:
It was super early.

Alex:

So it was just like, I didn’t understand the gravity…

Nicole:

We didn’t even have Ally enrolled in school. Like it wasn’t even on that level. Yeah, it was just you kind of really stepping in to be helpful. It wasn’t, you were hardly in a stepdad role at that point.

Alex:

But it was also it was also it was a small thing. It was establishing trust and establishing that I am reliable to do the things that I say I’m going to do. Right and, you know, that’s like a big thing for me that I want to do that. Sometimes, you know, sometimes stuff happens and you know, we learn from them. Right?

Nicole:
Right.

Alex:

Nobody’s perfect.

Nicole:
Nobody’s perfect. But, but that’s your core moral character like 100% Yeah, and when that happened, I mean, I was like look like I don’t know what you think you doing here but you know, we got babies, you know or not, we I’ve got babies and you know This is what it looks like when you flex and forget on me. It’s one thing when you flex and forget on my kids, it’s another story and I will never compromise on my babies. There is one level with them. And that is excellence, you know? And when I said that you’re like, I understand, I get it and you have never let me down since, you know and I thank you for that. And I thank you on behalf of the girls for that because it’s…

Alex:

Because I don’t want to let you down and I don’t want to let the girls down either you know, and so I just tried to show up as I can and you know, I love them that’s and then that’s that I do anyone who questions it…

Nicole:
Can kick rocks, right?

Alex:
I don’t care.

Nicole:

Awesome, and you’re the greatest and so it’s always good to have you here. I appreciate you and it’s a pleasure to be here.

Alex:
It’s a pleasure to be here.

Nicole:

It’s so good. So friends if you are holding back on having a relationship if you’re saying to yourself gosh, I don’t know if I can find the right guy out there. And I just you know do not want to compromise what the experience can be for my babies I want to let you know that love works both ways you know It not only can provide you an opportunity love while yourself it can provide an example you know for your daughter’s and sons to love while in the future and be loved well, so I just encourage you to maybe give it a shot open up your heart but don’t compromise on your standards and what you deserve because I think there may be more Alex’s out there and if so you definitely deserve one.

 
In this episode, The Misterfella and I chat about:
  • The comment he got from a friend,
  • If he was prepared to be a stepdad or knew what it would entail,
  • How he went from accepting The Puffin as my daughter to loving her as his own, and
  • What he thinks about daily in his role as a stepdad

Resources and links mentioned in this episode:
  • Pre-order my memoir, Nothing is Missing, HERE!
  • Listen to Episode 1 of Season 1 for the story of How I Met My Daughters!
  • Send me a DM on Instagram and Facebook!
  • Book a 20 min call to see if working together is the right next step for you!
  • Don’t miss our last chat where I shared why it’s so painful when someone questions the love you have for your adopted kids – Listen here!
  • I love reading your reviews of the show! You can share your thoughts on Apple here!

More about The Nicole Walters Podcast:

If you’re looking for the strategies and encouragement to pursue a life of purpose, this is the podcast for you! Week after week Nicole Walters will have you laughing hysterically while frantically taking notes as she shares her own personal stories and answers your DMs about life, business, and everything in between.

As a self-made multimillionaire and founder of the digital education firm, Inherit Learning Company, Nicole Walters is the “tell-it-like-it-is” best friend that you can’t wait to hang out with next.

When Nicole shows up, she shows OUT, so tune in each week for a laugh, a best friend chat, plus the strategies and encouragement you need to confidently live a life of purpose.

Follow Nicole on IG @NicoleWalters and visit inheritlearningcompany.com today and click the button to join our betterment community. Your membership gives you access to a world of people and tools focused on helping you build the life you want.