Before I say anything else, let me make an opening confession. This is an incredibly emotional and difficult post for me to write. So forgive me if I get a little carried away at points, or if something might come across a little too strongly.
I am a blogger, and while that may not seem like much to some people, it works for me. I spend a fair bit of my time writing about family (mainly my own), and my experiences of raising children. I share my views honestly, and bravely divulge things that I would otherwise choose to keep private… I am comfortable to write about most things concerning my family – however messy they may be. But still, there are a handful of things that I keep close to my heart. This is one of them … The fact that my boys are adopted.
Not because I want to avoid the conversation (they know that they’re adopted). Not because I feel self-conscious about it either (we celebrate their adoption every chance we get). Not even because I think it should be a private matter (there are many people who know their story, and we share it freely when the moment calls for it).
So why is it that I don’t write about the story of their adoption often, or share their story too widely on public platforms? Well, precisely, because it is their story… You see, it’s not my story to tell! It’s theirs.
There is a peculiar thing that happens when people learn that your children are adopted. It (their adoption) becomes a characteristic landmark that somehow distinguishes your family from most others. And that frustrates me deeply. In fact, it pisses me off, if I’m honest – which I should be. Yes, my boys are adopted … But so what? It doesn’t define them. It doesn’t define our family. We are exactly that … a family!
Nothing more, nothing less. Imagine entering a room and having to announce: “these are my biological boys”. It’s absurd! No one would do that. In the same way, we shouldn’t deem it necessary to point out or announce the adoption of our sons whenever we introduce them to other people (and we don’t).
What makes this even more problematic is what (usually) follows on the announcement that our sons are adopted. Suddenly everyone becomes an expert in family dynamics … people feel compelled to share their views on how tough adoption must be, or how they would deal with it – because they know, since they thought about adopting once. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people think they can jump on in and ask personal questions, insinuate background-stories or jump to conclusions? Let me illustrate… when my boys fight it has nothing to do with their adoption – despite the fact that it gives others a convenient back-story to describe their robust boy-ish behavior – they are probably punching each other because there is a perfectly normal dispute over whose turn it is, or over who had the toy first.
My boys are not defined by their adoption anymore than other boys are defined by the fact that they are not. It in no way predicts their future, or holds them hostage. It cannot be a crutch, and may never be used as justification for the choices they make. It is part of their story, but it does not determine the outcome of their story. They are a product of their own choices, as are all my children. Full stop!
And one more thing… It doesn’t make me a better person just because I adopted my sons. They’re not rescue puppies! I’m no hero – trust me! I’m just a plain Jane that wanted a family, and I was blessed enough to have been given one. A large one! My family defines me! My children are not lucky to have me, I am beyond fortunate to have them!
There is no separation between my children. None! They all drive me nuts, they all burst my heart with pride, and each and every one of them brings a love that cannot be described in words. They have names, none with the prefix of adopted or biological.
Let me wrap this up by sharing with you what my one son said when we first told them their story. We had a family meeting around the dinner table. You can imagine the emotions flooding my soul. After my husband and I were done – My son looked at us and said.
“So mom, when we were babies, we grew in another tummy. Not in your tummy. But when we were born God decided to give us to you, and that makes us a family”
No explanation needed. One of our proudest moments as parents. If it can be so simple for a child, why can’t it be like that for everyone. We are a family. However we came together does not matter. What matters is that we are bonded in love.