Thursday, February 2, 2012

The question.

As I mentioned in my last post, our days are getting more and more sprinkled with adoption chit chat. Not just with our friends, but emails from strangers (stalkers) from the blog asking great questions.

There's one question I keep getting that I have a harder time with. It's legitimate but I just don't have the wisdom/experience to speak into it.

"Could I love an adopted child as much as I love my bio kids?"

To be honest, if I let it, it becomes one of the most offensive things people ask me. Unintentionally it automatically says that their love for their bio kids is stronger/deeper than my love for my boys. I know that's not what they mean, but it happens.

However, I want people to feel comfortable having these conversations with us. I want to be unoffendable while people process, with me as a sounding board. I've certainly said some offensive things. This morning, actually. (Don't ask, just know it's shocking I have any friends, frankly.)

So, I used the wonderful world of facebook to form my own panel. I asked 8 friends who have both biological and adopted children the same question. Here are some of their answers:

J (4 bio kids, in process of international adoption):
I think that our capacity to love anyone comes straight from God. Whether we are saved or not...God is love and love is only possible because of Him. We are, by nature, really selfish creatures. God opens our hearts to love children and He gives us the wisdom to raise them. I think it is completely irrelevant whether they come from our uterus or our endless hours of pursuit. (by the way...adoption is WAY harder than pregnancy!)
Our ability to love our kids (bio or adopted) is a result of how much He loves us.

C (4 bio kids, 3 adopted): The answer is unequivocally yes. It takes time, though. When the twins first came home I felt like I was babysitting. It wasn't until I had to take them to daycare for the first time (4 months after they came home) when I realized how much my heart ACHED for them.

Sometimes that love feels different. You're supposed to love your bio children. You GET to love your adopted ones.

With the preemie, it was sort of love at first sight. I felt SO overprotective of him from the get go. It sunk in, again, when he got really sick and I realized how broken I would be without him.

I feel the same pride in my adoptive children as I do my biological children. I fight for them the same. I have the same expectations for them. I have the same dreams for them.

L (3 bio, in process for adopted foster):
ABSOLUTELY!!! Though I think it is a choice, if you are constantly saying "this is my adopted child, can I love them the same", then you won't. You've got to let your heart be free to do what its going to do without your head interfering. They are your children, given to you by God just like your biologicals are. It was said before, the love comes from God. Without His love we wouldn't even love our biologicals well!

M (2 bio, 1 adopted):
This was my husband's initial question when we were pursuing adoption--could he love a child that was not biologically his. I am more of a "kid person" in general--work as a pediatric nurse so I kind of need to like kids. My husband, however, is not your typical "kid person." It is amazing, though, from the moment we saw the first picture of our daughter, we loved her. I loved that small little faxed picture that was all we had of her and I showed it to everyone I saw. From that moment on, she was our daughter.
This doesn't mean it was easy, though. When we first came home from Guatemala, I had this weird sensation of feeling like I was just babysitting someone else's child. I worried that the connection that I had with my bio sons would never come with her. It absolutely did. I don't know how or when exactly it happened. But it definitely did.

R (4 bio, 5 adopted):
When I first met my husband I did not instantly fall in love with him. But over time the more I was with him the deeper my love grew until we got engaged and then married. I was not related to my husband by blood yet I loved him more than myself. Once we got married we became one flesh by commitment and because of the covenant we made with God. I had made the choice to choose to love him and care for him because the Lord brought us together.

It is the Lord that makes us a family here and in eternity. We are all related because of our Heavenly Father. He adopts us into his family so how could we not do the same for the orphan. James 1:27 sums it up for us to take care of the orphan or fatherless.

You can look at it this way; Jesus chose me out of all the moms in the whole world to be their mom, He entrusted me with all their lives. . Just like with my husband who I chose to love , and my bio children whom I chose to love, and my adopted children whom I chose to love there is no difference. I have chosen to love them all because they all came to me from the Lord. I know you can choose to love anyone, Gods Word wouldn't command us to love others if we couldn't. So how much more should we love those that the Lord hand picks to send to us through adoption.

I know so many birth parents who have chosen not to love their bio children or anyone else. Love has to come from Christ and the only way you can love anyone is to first love the Lord and have a relationship with him which allows us to love others. Being a parent is never easy but God doesn't call us to serve on our own strength but through His strength. Which allows us to do all things through Christ. I know children are a blessing and I have been truly blessed.....

M (2 bio, 1 adopted):
Love is absolutely a choice, our bio kids included and I think it can be easy to confuse "seasons of bonding" with "love." Maybe I am a freak, but the same two steps happened with my adopted daughter and my two bio sons...a decision was made that they were my children and I would love them and secondly the bonding process began. I will say it did not take longer for me to bond to my daughter than it did my sons...they were each different and on different time tables. I love something I think Tim Keller says that "love is a continuous pursuit of another."

S (2 bio, 1 adopted):
I'm totally in love with all 3 of my kids! Sometimes I forget that I didn't carry my daughter in my womb. She is one of us. God brought us a daughter that fits perfectly in our family.

S (2 bio, 1 adopted):
All I can add is how completely I fell in love with B(adopted) from the first moment I ever held her and how it actually took me a couple months to get to that same place with I (bio). It absolutely varies by child and their biology is irrelevant. I can also say, for me, if I were being completely honest, that there is a connection between myself and my bio boys that isn't there with B (adopted). It's the bio link, the thing that makes me marvel about who they look more like or where those personality traits came from. And I can imagine that that link is what other potential adoptive parents are aware of and fear won't be there with their adoptive kids. Here's the thing. It won't. But that link isn't where your love for your children comes from. I marvel over B (adopted) in an entirely different way. And I can also say, from the perspective of an adult who just met her biological father and experienced first hand the fascination of physical and personality traits passed genetically, that genetic links are important. We need to remember that for our adoptive kids as well. They too will want to know who they look like or where they get their aptitude for science from... So, to sum up, I would say that while biology is important, it doesn't equal love. My love for my kids is intense- equally.
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I mean...

Can you believe I have such wise friends? You'd think it would rub off on me at some point.

Hope this was helpful, being that it was the longest.post.ever.

Anyone else feel free to add your thoughts in the comments!

5 comments:

Chrissy said...

I'm just glad you have a friend with mor kids than me!

Anonymous said...

I'm an adult, who was adopted as a child, and I think awareness of adoption comes and goes seasonally. Questions about medical histories are one of them. While my adoption wasn't interracial, I look nothing like my parents, so people would ask (sometimes offensively worded) questions periodically. Someone once asked if my dad was my real dad, and I remember just saying yes (because he'd taught me to ride a bike, changed diapers, been called into the principles office, insisted that humans should at least try to learn an instrument, been to every school play, and held my hair when I threw up and it doesn't get much more real).

Most of the time, we all just forget. I remember, when my cousins started having babies, wondering which of my parents my kids would be like. Then, I remembered that I was adopted, and I was sad for a bit, and sometimes still am. I'm not sad that I'm adopted, but I am sad that these amazing people who lived the story of the gospel and redemption in such a real way for me, who brought nothing to the table, aren't genetically linked. But, I have them in my life, and my kids will have my family too, so they may not look like them, but will have every chance of being like them, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

SassyAgapi said...

Some of these answers are really great & spot on, thanks for sharing!

Maggie Singleton said...

I am so very proud of you for examining your heart, challenging others' hearts and minds, and getting to the root of the answer: Love. You guys rock.

Armstrong's said...

Hi, Katie! Congrats on your growing little family! Love the post, the discussion... since we adopted our first son and then had a biological son, I can honestly say that I was worried I wouldn't be able to love our bio child as much as our adopted kiddo. As soon as he arrived, I realized it was a silly fear, and that the fierce love I have for my boys isn't any different because of how they came into our family. They have different stories, but both are constant reminders of how God has lavished His love on us! Just had to add my two cents :).