I have never written much about our journey toward parenthood. Hubby and I adopted our oldest son and then (surprise!) were suddenly blessed with a biological son, 17 months later. I have always said that our youngest was proof that God had a sense of humor! Doctors surely don’t know everything and I wouldn’t change our paths to get here even one little bit.
But, most people don’t really understand what it is to be a family put together by choice as much as by chance. Once you adopt a child, you meet, find, and get introduced to other adoptive families. Pulling from several families and my own experiences, consider the following.
How many biological parents get asked these questions?
Which one is real? (referring to two children, one being biological and the other adopted and said in front of said children).
What IS he? (referring to the bi-racial child of white parents. To their credit, these parents would answer, “a little boy” super slowly, as if the questioner was a total moron, which was usually the case).
Why are you so much taller than your brother? (to a 6 foot 9 inch adopted child and his 5 foot 10 inch brother.).
You’re a saint for taking on “other people’s problems” when who would want to do THAT??? (exclaimed upon learning that an adopted child was autistic and had learning disabilities, never mind that the parents were thrilled to have a child, ANY child to love).
Which one do you love more? (Really, like that is really even an option).
Would you have kept him/her if you had known? (referring to an ADHD adoptive child).
Will you accept a child who requires glasses? (from the social worker to two obviously spectacled parents to be).
Why didn’t THEY (birthparents) want him/her? Also: Why didn’t his/her REAL family want him/her? (honestly, they wanted this child desperately, but put his or her needs in front of their own and, by the way, my family is as REAL as it gets!).
Is he/she YOURS? (to a transracial adoption family. Like a lifetime of love and a court order ain’t good enough for the casual observer).
It’s so easy to have a child OVER THERE, they just give them away! (in front of an Asian child who was transracially adopted).
And this is only the tip of the iceberg!
So after 18 plus years of hearing this kind of well-meaning, but idiotic drivel, it was so refreshing to see an article on Huffington Post by Kathy Lynn Harris entitled, Dear Mom of an Adopted Child. It begins:
Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,
I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son’s school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident.
It doesn’t matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have.
Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them.
To read the full text, click here.
Ms. Harris touches an emotional chord as she demonstrates by example the loving gestures that a loving, waiting to adopt parent will go through on the painstaking journey to parenthood. On a very visceral level, she gets it.
To be an adoptive parent is to truly explore love to its logical conclusion, that love is everywhere and it doesn’t have to be my genetic progeny to encompass all of my hopes and dreams in this life. Love is far more than biology.
Is there an adopted child in your family? Tell us about him/her! Both my younger brother and my eldest son are adopted, as are two cousins. We love adoption!
Till next time,