How do you become a parent?
By impregnating a woman? By giving birth to a child? By signing a few papers and bringing home a baby?
At what age do you become a parent?
At the legal age authorised by the government? At the age you know what sex means and how to do it?
What if I tell you you're wrong?
What if I tell you, that being a parent is not under your control. That being a parent is not something you choose. It is something that the child chooses.
You having a child and you raising a child are two different things. Many parents don't even know it. Buying them toys, paying their tuition fees, getting them a phone, paying for their schools and colleges is not how you raise a child.
And when they can't see a parent in who claim to be their parents, they look around. They find a person that listens. They find a person that cares more than the grades on their report card. A person that loves them and is there for them when they have no one to turn to. And they make it their parent.
So no. You dont become a parent when you want to be. It is the child that chooses who their parent is. Congratulations, on the birth certificate, there is going to be your name but in reality it is that person who they look up to. The person they look up to doesn't have to have a specific age, gender or colour. They just have to have love, care and an ear.
And to the people who become parents unknowingly, I know it's difficult when you can see there is someone who is looking up to you, who has chosen you to follow. I know that you feel the burden on your shoulder when some of your bad qualities you see reflected in them, I know you feel as though you were given a responsibility you didn't ask for, somewhere down, no matter how much you love the child looking up at you star gazed, you do have a thought that 'I didn't sign up for this'. I know because I have been there. And I have struggled, am still struggling. Because being a parent though a tiring task, is a task anyone with a good heart does it with all their love.
I request the actual, biological parents to understand, I want to remind these parents that the breathing, moving flesh at your home, that is not something you have to provide for. It is human, has emotions, will react and speak and think the way you teach them to. It is not just one extra item on your monthly checklist that you pay for. Sit with him/her and tell them stories, tell them you love them. Tell them they are the not better or worse than anyone, they are merely different than all others and that's why you love them. Because if you don't, they'll look for their own mom and dad who can do so and they won't lose a parent. But you, you will lose a child.