Homegrown with Hope: A journey to becoming 'mom'
Last week, we celebrated mothers: new ones, experienced ones, mothers no longer with us and mothers soon-to-be. We made them pancakes, drew them pictures, and hoped they'd understand the impact they've had on our lives.
While we were doing all that, one mother in Bismarck got a gift she'd been waiting nearly her entire life to receive. It didn't come in a box. It didn't even come from her child. This one came from a court of law.
This time of year, farmers are pouring over their fields with perseverance and dedication. With every seed, there is hope for harvest.
It was this season four years ago, when Lexi Price first discovered the seed she would sow.
"I don't know how many people have told me, like they'll spend just a little bit of time with him and they're like, you just have a special kid," Lexi said with a smile spread across of her face.
Ask 7-year-old Kingston, and the feeling is mutual.
"She gots a big heart," he said.
They fit together like they were cut from the same piece. But it's not blood that unites them, it's fate.
"I was always afraid he would never have anyone to call mom," Tyler, Kingston's dad, explained.
That first spring, four years ago, when Tyler was working long hours in the fields, Lexi was putting in the work at home.
"He kind of always asks me how it all started," she said. "I just said daddy invited me over one night and I cooked supper, and I just never left."
Tyler tells the same story, but adds, "It felt like she should have been there the whole time."
Some truths we know because they exist in record books. Others we know because they are written in our hearts.
"When Lexi showed up it felt like it was full," said the once-single dad who had been raising a toddler with help from his family. "Like, we weren't totally there. She just clicked in right away."
This family is bound by love, but not yet by law.
Again and again, planting season would return, and with it more time to grow the love between them. As Tyler's days turned into nights working in the fields, Lexi and Kingston learned more about each other and what they had in common.
"It's like you're just telling that person, I chose you today, and forever, and every day. That's what I hope Kingston realizes, that this was a choice for me, but I choose every day to love you. And I'll never stop," she said.
They say a year passed and "Lexi" gradually became "Mommy."
"I wanted him to actually feel it. I didn't want to push it," Tyler said of his son calling her "mom."
So, when Lexi and Tyler married last year, they knew their family wasn't quite whole just yet. Until one Wednesday in May, work was busy in the fields, but it was time to reap the seeds she had sown.
The three arrived at their adoption hearing with faith in the power of their love.
"Is it your desire to adopt Kingston as your son?" an attorney asked Lexi on the stand.
"For four and a half years, I have loved Kingston and his dad. I have put them above myself and I'd like to continue to do that," she testified.
The judge granted the order.
It took only a moment to close this case and for a new season to begin for mother and son.
"Do you understand what that means," the judge asked Kingston.
"It means that's gonna be the mommy that's gonna stay with you for the rest of your life," said Kingston.
Lexi says this gift fell between Mother's Day and her birthday. She says she couldn't imagine asking for anything more.