It seems as though I think more on rainy days than sunny ones. Rain pours today and my thoughts do too. I’m thinking about something an adoptive parent and friend was asked…”Could you possibly love an adopted child as much as your biological child?”
So today as I ponder this, my thoughts bring me back to a few days after sweet, smiling Sam came to live with us. Sam was a pre-adoptive placement so we knew our choice to love Sam could be risky. We also knew that many factors had to fall into place and that it would be at least six months before his adoption could take place.
I remember so clearly those first few days getting to know Sam and realizing that our hearts could so easily be broken. I remember reading book after book to him and rocking him as I sang every “Jesus” song that I could think of. Sam was such an easy boy to fall in love with. He smiled like the sunshine and loved without limit. He was, and still is, a protector. He will fight “to the death” for one who holds his trust.
The memory is crystal clear of one night as we were cleaning up after dinner. The novelty of having a little one around the house was still very fresh; we treated him as a guest or a “new toy”.
Sam was 19 months old and did not have a tooth in his mouth, yet he could mash anything with his smiling gums and swallow it like a champ. We thought he was the cutest toddler there ever was.
On this particular night, one of our children asked, “What if they take him away? What if they don’t let him stay?”
There was so much more to his question! What he really wanted to know was “Is it okay to love him? What if it breaks my heart?”
I didn’t answer him right away. We all just thought about the possible endings to our adoption story.
As I was scooping the dinner remains into the trash I said, “What if we only fill his plate half-full? What if we only feed him half of what he needs to grow? What if we choose to only give him soft foods and liquids, and never let him taste the good stuff?”
I remember the boy child’s answer. He said “He will not grow. He will not grow into who he is supposed to be.”
Really? Our boy child got it! His innocent questions that night caused us to see that our half-full could not give Sam a life of half empty.
We had to choose to love him fully or we needed to get out right then.
That night we, Sam’s family, realized that we were in for the long haul. We knew that night, that he would get our love, completely and fully.
Our half full would not be his half empty.
Our choice to love Sam would not be based on anything other then our promise to each other to teach Sam how to love.
So to answer the question “Could you love an adopted child as much as your birth children.?”
We chose yes. Absolutely yes.