Every now and then adoption feels hard. Not because loving my children is hard, or caring for them is hard, or even the process (ssshhh, like a hard labour, I have forgotten the wickedness of the paperwork and endless visits), but what feels very very hard is the perception people carry - the perceptions, beliefs and stereotypes that it is less, not as real, not as valid a way to build a family. And my heart hurts that occasionally my children hear these things, and in truth, hearing them saddens me too. I think of all the babies I cared for in the orphanages while volunteering overseas and wonder why anyone would doubt their ability to love one of those precious wee ones, who outstretched their arms and wanted nothing more than love. I look at my own children, I see them stroke my face, call me mummy and jump up and down with excitement, and I contemplate how anyone could tell me they are not really my children, or look at them and say they would not do so much for someone who was not their flesh and blood. (In situations like this I never know what to say and do. I am always tempted to point out their partner is not their flesh and blood, but they have no problem loving him or her.)
I think it is normal to question, wonder and pontificate on what it may feel like and yes, even admit, for a time, there may be differences. Maybe those parental feelings will take a few weeks, or months, to kick in. Maybe it will seem strange to suddenly have a new person in your house who needs, and even demands, everything. But you know, plenty of biological parents probably face the same challenges. Behind closed doors, some admit that the attachment took time. Many admit it was like having a screaming little alien (said in the nicest way!) take over ever spare second of the day. And that is A-OK! Even with years of nannying experience, I was certainly not prepared, I doubt you really can be. In fact, I will go as far as to say parenting brought me to my knees, it humbled me and no book, class, conversation, or experience is comparable. It is like being given a unicycle (which you have never seen before, though had related experience – riding a bike) and being told to trek to a mountain you only have a vague idea as to where it is located.
Sadly, the aspect of parenting that I am struggling with, is the view adoption is less. I am saddened it is deemed OK to say negative things about adoption to me, or my children, when I would never dream of questioning anyones choice to have a birth child. One does not trump the other. They are different at times, yes. But you know, we both end up making endless meals for our children, kissing their cuts and scrapes, reading them bed time stories, singing them songs, cheering at soccer matches and helping with homework; the how they got here really is a small detail in the day to day happenings. Yes, there are things because I adopted that I have no control over – drugs my children were exposed to during pregnancy, neglect, malnourishment, abuse, abandonment, failed adoptions and genetic predispositions. But, I am still a mum whose eyes light up when I see my children. I am still a mum who spent 40 minutes reading to two bouncing, lovely precious souls tonight. I am still a mum just like the lady next door, with children who happen to be biologically related, who wished my children happy dreams, said prayers with them and kissed them goodnight. I am still the mum who will cry in the morning a few little silent tears because I want, more than anything, to be with mine all the time.
Having a biological child is wonderful
Adopting is beautiful
Being an auntie is precious
Accepting a role of godmother to a child is grand
Sponsoring a child is life-changing
Choosing to not have a child is 100% as valid a choice as choosing to have a child
And tonight, what I wanted to say in response to the comment across the room, was: living your life filled with love and acceptance of not only your differences, but everyone elses too, is a joy-filled existence. It means you have more room to encourage and love. It means you have more room to build up someone up, instead of tear someone down…