Since adopting my daughters about five years ago, I’ve learned a lot and have grown even more. Here are some some thoughts about my adoption experiences.
I’d love to hear thoughts on this note, regardless of experience with adoption!!!
1. There is often the assumption that I adopted because I couldn’t have my own biological children. In fact, the exact opposite is true! I adopted because there are so many children who need homes. I felt called by God to provide one instead of adding to the world’s overpopulation.
2. I have been told that I’m a wonderful person for adopting a child through foster care; most people couldn’t do it. Breaking news! Having a biological child is a crap shoot just as much as adopting a child through foster care. In some ways, having a biological child is even more risky!
There is no return policy on your biological child but, believe or not, there is with an adopted child. A trial period of at least six months is required before you can finalize. You also have two weeks post adoption to change your mind.
Regardless of this somewhat controversial fact, I think there is something even more important to consider: Why do you want children? Is it for selfish reasons? Or is it to unconditionally love and raise a child, regardless of challenges and joys?
3. When people learn the girls are adopted, they will ask “Is he [Eli] yours/your real kid?” They are all mine/my real kids, thank you very much! Whether I carried them in my womb, as I did Eli; observed them leaving their biological mother’s womb, as I did Paige; or welcomed them into my home from their biological mother’s tear-soaked embrace, as I did Payten… They are mine!!
4. When we tell others we are doing an open adoption with the girls’ biological family, which includes parents, people ask: “Won’t they be confused about who their real mom/dad is?” What a ridiculous question! Children from homes where the parents have divorced and remarried are not confused about each adult’s role. My girls won’t be confused! Their biological parents passed on their genes (in Payten’s case, a short period of care taking) and their adoptive parents (us) are raising them.
5. A word or two about the proper adoption terminology.
Apparently the term “biological” isn’t PC anymore. However, I don’t like the term “birth parents” because only one person is a birth parent, the mother. Where does that leave the father? Also, I was there for Paige’s birth, so couldn’t I also be called the birth mother?
A second term I’ve heard is “first parents.” I don’t like that one because we adopted through foster care and technically we are our girls’ third parents.
Another term I’ve heard is “life parents.” This is true because they gave my girls physical life. However, I am giving them a life by raising them so that term isn’t accurate either.
I recently heard the terms “real parents” or “natural parents.” This term absolutely disgusts me!! (The other terms don’t bother me; I just choose not to use them.) It implies I am not an actual parent and my daughters don’t have real parents. It also implies our family is unnatural, or wrong.
To me, biological parents is exactly what they are; people who gave my girls their biology but are not raising them.
Though, to be honest, I think Payten came up with the best term of all. Shortly after she began calling us mommy and daddy, she began calling her biological parents “my other mommy and daddy.”
I have absolutely no problem with that – she does have two mommies and two daddies.