Thursday, November 18, 2010

R is for Real

When does your child become your real child? Is he your real child because of the act that led to his conception, because he carries a portion of your genetic sequence? Is he real because he was carried in your or your spouse's womb? Is he your real child because you treaded that fine line between life and death that women do when giving birth? All of those events matter. A lot. If in your heart they make the difference between a child being your real child or not, then adoption may not be for you, and that's OK.

On the other hand, if you are in a position where you must face the harsh reality that you and your spouse will not conceive a child together, the above notions of a child being your real child cease to be criteria for defining whether your child is really yours. Instead, with adoption, other life events forge the sense of what is real about the relationship between members of the adoption triad (birth parents, child, and adoptive parents). Birth parents face a fundamentally life-altering choice when deciding to place. Adoptive parents make the deliberate choice to become parents to that child as opposed to treading another life path without children. A child who is adopted lives with those adults' choices for his or her entire life.

Several significant life events provide a foundational context for adoptive families. The agency interviews, home inspections, background checks, setting up the nursery, placement at the hospital, 2 AM feedings, check up visits from the agency, baby firsts, finalization in the family court, and temple sealing become defining events that forge and reinforce the bond that makes a family built by adoption a real family, that makes children brought into a family through adoption their parents' real children.

Some mothers describe the fierce mother love that floods them as they meet their child for the first time after they have given birth. They know that the child is theirs. I relate to that feeling. I look in my son's eyes, and I know the same thing. He is mine, and I am his. I defy anyone to tell me otherwise.

1 comment:

Lila said...

amen! a woman in my ward who does not know me at all learned evan was adopted (cg wasn't here yet) and told me she didn't think she could love another womans baby... (barf)... then went on and on and on of how much she "loved" the missionaries as if they were her own children, paused and said maybe she could love another womans baby... rolled eyes.