I can’t let National Adoption Month pass without comment.
I have both kinds of kids, adopted and biological. Please don’t ask me who the “real” child is. They are all very real to me. Plus, the real vs. adopted descriptor is outdated. You CAN say biological or adopted.
Child adoption is a divine intervention into a painful situation. An unwanted pregnancy is turned into a moment of grace. This is my approach to adoption. Please don’t say, “Oh, you’ve done something wonderful for those children!” Indeed they are gifts and I have been blessed by what they have done for me.
- Adoption has saved me from being bitter and barren. I didn’t want kids when I was younger. My career was going to give me the fulfillment I needed for life. It wasn’t until I attained some success in my career that I saw the emptiness of a life without children. Enveloped in a good marriage and financially stable enough to raise a family, we were ready to go. When the usual conception route did not work for us (initially, anyway), we were blessed to partake in the mystery and grace of adoption.
- Adoption has expanded my heart and broken my heart. There is no love like the love of a mother for her infant. The bond that is formed is a shining moment in time. Ask any mother to picture her child as a precious infant and her face will soften and you will see love manifested. Those babies grow up to have issues that surprise you and may break your heart. Just as there can be no daylight without the night, parenting adopted children is a messy mixture of irrational happiness and unbelievable pain. Be prepared to love like you never thought you could and to feel pain you never could imagine.
- Adoption had fulfilled my dreams and become my nightmare. As I dreamed my dreams of mothering, each of my children filled an emptiness in my heart that longed for chubby legs, sticky hands, messy faces and laughing cheeks calling out, “Mama!” Some days of family life were so happy that I thought my heart might burst. As children grew and issues surfaced, I experienced things that I never thought would happen. These things happened to other parents – not the ones who invested, sacrificed and prayed like I did! I learned in these dark nights that you can’t have the dream without the nightmare in the unpredictable, amazing path of adoptive parenting.
- Adoption has challenged my character and shaped my character. As the youngest of eight kids in my family of origin, I didn’t have the hands-on lessons in learning patience that my older siblings had while babysitting me. Indeed, a youngest child can sometimes feel that the world revolves around her. When the youngest child becomes the older mother in charge of a pack of kids, character is shaped. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness are all learned in the day-to-day of mothering, wiping faces, kissing boo boos and picking up Cheerios from under the table. I would not be the empathetic person of compassion that I am today if not for mothering.
Adoption has made me question my faith and has strengthened my faith. I give praise to God for the blessing of each of my children. As they became challenging, did I have any less cause to give Him praise? The Lord who answered my prayers and made me question His answers has stuck close to me though it all as I have seen Him allow tragedy and make miracles. The miracle and the tragedy fuse together to shape my heart of faithful gratitude as adoption has taught me about unconditional love.
In the end, the confusing mix of blessings and pain has been the adventure of a lifetime.
I will always thank God for the journey.
Read Should You Adopt by Christine Field