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. If I’m honest, I’m 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 our first-from Colombia- and then we had three more kids the old fashioned way. We have since added a daughter-in-love to our gang of six.
I have always jealously guarded my role as a mom.
As a new 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 want 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 the realization my feelings aren’t 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. 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 isn’t only about joining another family, it is also contains a story of 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.
Only God and His love for His children can fill that longing.
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. We are 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 struggle with abandonment and not take it personally. This is her journey of faith and discovery- and I am her mom. Always. Because love multiplies rather than divides, I can choose to move over and make room for another important woman.Without Courtney’s birth mom, I wouldn’t have my child. I am grateful for her and the fact that she chose life.
In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ.
© 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.