As amazing as adoption is and as glad I am that we went this route, you give up a lot when you adopt. You give up the ability to take it for granted that they are your kids. You give up being normal. You give up knowing that your kids love you as mom and dad completely. When you adopt transracially, you give up the ability to blend in.
When you adopt, you live with society’s notions and stereotypes. Do you love them “like your own?” Are they “real kids?” What about their “real mom?”
It goes without saying (but I will, anyway!) that to me, it’s worth it. I just want to make sure that I put that out there.
In general, people don’t ask about us anymore. I assume it’s because it’s so obvious that we are mother and son/daughter (or father and son/daughter). Or maybe it’s because it’s becoming more common or people are getting more tactful. Who knows?
But, once in awhile, like the other day, someone will ask. And it will get me thinking again.
It’s never tentative like it should be. (Honestly, I don’t mind answering a polite question.) It’s almost always abrupt.
This time, on the way out of the grocery store – “Are they foster kids?”
I answered like I always do when questions like this are asked, I said – “No, they’re mine. All mine.” and then I squeezed Lizzie and Antwan’s hands a little tighter and felt proud of the fact that they are in fact mine.
Neither Antwan or Lizzie seemed bothered by the question and I was left hoping that my carefully worded response had the desired effect on them. That it made them feel wanted.
It’s not the end of the world and it’s still worth it, but it is reality.
But, what would feel like the end of my world would be the day that one of my kids wanted to find the birth family. It would be understandable but it would suck. Just suck. After years of trying to have kids and then become parents to these kids, to be reminded that they are not all mine would be really hard for me.
Of course, there’s an extra layer to our story. At the last update, the biological mother was not any more “together” than she was before. (And, that’s all I will say on that topic.) And, at the last update, William and Kaleb had nothing but contempt for her. Lizzie and Antwan don’t have an opinion at all. Or don’t seem to, anyway. So, I’m thinking that this is not a scenario that I will be dealing with any time soon.
But, what do you do? What do you do when the kids that are yours, all yours, don’t want to be? How do you make peace with that? How do you deal with working so hard for them to exist in your life and then find yourself demoted?
There’s no ending to this post because there’s no clear answer to the question. I would want to be a noble person and handle it well, but I don’t think I would. But, I guess I would handle it one way or the other because I would have to. I signed up for this mom gig. And, I’m supposed to love my kids unconditionally. There are no rules about how they are supposed to feel.
Actually, that wasn’t a bad ending.
If anyone has any experience with this from either perspective, I’d love to hear!