In our culture there seems to be an underlying feeling that the relationship between an adoptee and adoptive parents is disjointed. The questions that adoptive families field appear to leave an impression that there is an impermeable, invisible barrier preventing adoptees and adoptive parents from being able to have a fully authentic attachment.
I am not sure how many times I have been asked if I was unable to have children of my own. What I am ashamed to admit is how many years passed before I recognized the inherent message it sent when I would answer “No.”
I know what people mean-the question is searching for a reason why we do not have biological children. And, just like other adoption terms that make us cringe, the words are said by a person who does not really know better. Unfortunately, I do and I should have politely corrected the individual.
The question implies two themes that we need to rid our culture of: adopted children are a replacement for the biological ones that we were unable to have and that adopted children are not our own. Both leave flinch worthy impressions on adoptees. We need to change the language to an inquiry about an ability to reproduce.
Yes, we arrived at adoption by way of infertility. While we spent hours on our knees begging God for a pregnancy, I never felt a sense of peace about getting pregnant. All along, the only time I would have that was when I thought about adoption. When I met my children, I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that these were the children that God had for me to raise. They were not a replacement for the ones I was unable to get pregnant for. They were God’s plan for my life all along.
Are these children our own? Yes and no. They are every bit my own as would be any child I gave birth to. There is a love for them that is so deep that it scares me at times. We are the teachers and nurturers; the wound healers and puke catchers; and the soothers and the snuggle providers. We are 100% their hands-on parents! However, we share that title with birth families that have laid down the roots that our children were created from.
In the adoption world, there are common phrases that make us wince such as “Given Up” or “Real Parents”. It is only as I go that I continue to find things that make me worry about the impression that adoption related lingo is used. We need to be cautious about the message we are sending all sides of the triad.
These two children are the very children God intended for my life. God planned these two little souls to be the very souls I have the privilege of mothering. So, was I unable to have children of my own? Apparently, God decided no, I was not unable. He just had a different route by which our children would come into our lives. If God had these two set aside for us, who am I to passively answer, “No.” without further thought? We have children of our own- exactly the ones God planned for us!