I really hate TV shows and books that are about an adopted child being reunited with his biological parent. The stories tend to reinforce an adopted child’s fantasy that all will be well once the biological parents are found. But mostly I am turned off by these accounts because I feel a little threatened.
Since I was in third grade, I knew two things. I wanted to be a teacher and I wanted to be a mom. I went to school, graduated, and got a teaching job. I got married, tried to get pregnant, and didn’t. For four years I went through the long and emotionally draining experience of infertility treatments.
My husband Tom and I had pictured a life with four kids with our last being adopted. God’s plan was different. In His great wisdom he had us adopt first-from Colombia- and then I gave birth to three other kids.
I have always jealously guarded my role as a mom.
I bristled when people asked me about Courtney’s real mom or said, Once you adopt I heard you get pregnant. All insensitive comments. I wanted to shout, “I’m her real mom and whether or not I carried her in my body or in my heart makes no difference.” That is true. True… for me.
I’ve come to realize my feelings are not the only important feelings in this adoption journey. (What do you know… it isn’t all about me!) The fact that I did not birth Courtney matters to her. It matters to her because she had a life before she was adopted. She has a history in which I’m not a part. Sure, her birth mom chose to make an adoption plan, Tom and I decided to adopt. But… no one asked Courtney.
The adopted child is the only one powerless in the adoption. Adoption is not only about joining another family, it is also about abandonment.
Courtney has told me she has a hole in her heart that won’t go away. I can’t fix my daughter’s wound. Finding her Colombian birth mom would be very difficult, but even if we were successful, I’m afraid the hole would remain.
The only way to fill that hole is with God and His love for His children.
Tom and I have always been honest with Courtney about her story and have done our best to give unconditional love to all our kids. We remind her that adoption is precious in God’s sight. So valued that he considers all of us his adopted kids. So we will continue to love and support her. And…we (by we- I mean me) will try to understand her struggles rather than take them personally. This is her journey of faith and discovery- and I am her mom. Always.
Has your life been touched in someway by adoption? I would love to hear how.
© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.