Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Homemade or Store Bought?

Matt over at TCONP posed an interesting question today.  Which is better?  Made-'em-yourself kids, or adopted?

We did neither.

But far be it from me to keep my mouth shut on such a subject, since it really is rather close to my heart.

Here's what I wrote in response to the biological vs. adoption question, when it comes to how to build your family:

It’s difficult for me to truly weigh in on this, since my husband and I neither had biological children, nor adopted. It was more of a hijacking, really. Of us, to be totally honest.
My husband and I tried for over six years to have biological children, and then had our lives turned upside down and inside out by taking in my nieces (not quite three and 18-month-old twins, at the time) when their parents were splitting (quelle surprise), and ultimately ended up having to move to protect the girls from their own parents by filing suit for full custody of the children. (Long and involved story.)
Not quite a year after the girls moved in with us, I had surgery to remove uterine fibroid tumors (they’re benign, but bothersome), which was the likely culprit for us not conceiving. Not knowing at that point that we would be filing suit in three months for custody, we decided to give me a good year to heal from the surgery (c-section incision) before trying again, since we knew it was possible to get pregnant after removing the problem. Almost exactly a year after the surgery, I landed in the hospital again…this time, due to pneumonia complicated by a massive pulmonary embolism. That required a year of prescription bloodthinners to treat. Couldn’t get pregnant then.
By the time I finished up the treatment for the PE, and we could contemplate biological children again, we had won custody of the girls and were looking at the long haul of parenting. Did we really need more children? Would it be fair to our three girls if we had a “real” child of our own? We sure love these little girls just as much, if not more, as if we’d given them life. Six little words helped seal our decision: “We could have another girl, honey.” Not that we don’t love the girls, but Hubby is already feeling the strain of being the lone man in the house (he says the two boy cats don’t count, since they’re fixed).
So we made our decision. We’ll stick with the three we have. The fact that a scant 16 months separates the oldest from the twins makes life an adventure! It’s not how I imagined getting my children, but in retrospect, my mother fully believes this was the way God determined we would be having children. It’s a prime example of God taking unwise choices and helpless consequences, and using it for his own good. (I kind of like that.)
It’s been a heckuva ride.
Adoption has always been close to my heart, and I had always lobbied for that when it came to having kids, because I am a wimp of the first order and didn’t want to go through labor.
Labor is the easy part, I tell you, and I daresay any mom would agree.
While we have decided that we’re done with having kids, since we now have three, I have friends who are in the process of an international adoption of two children…before even having biological children (which they do intend to do).
Since that’s the opposite of the way it usually works, they get a lot of questions.
But I love their reasoning.
They’re adopting from Ethiopia, and they’re both Caucasian. They want to be able to focus on their adopted kids and getting them through the culture shock and language hurdles that will come with that, even though their kids are 3 and 14 months old. They don’t want to shortchange biological children because the newly-adopted ones need more of their time. They want it to be completely normal for their biological kids to have Ethiopian siblings. They feel this is what God has called them to do. I love that! I am so thrilled for them that they’re in the final stages of the process, and it should be a matter of weeks now before they can finally bring their children home. I think it’s so cool that they want their blond-haired, blue-eyed kids to think nothing of the fact that their big sister and brother are chocolate-skinned and -eyed.
I can’t tell you what’s the best way to go.
What I can tell you: letting someone else’s biological child into your heart inevitably means that they will run away with it. Loving a child that is not of your genes is an indefinable experience. There’s something about the kind of love that adoptive/foster/hijacked parents have for their kids that is beyond fierce and is almost greater than the love of a parent for a biological child. Love is a choice, a verb, after all, and loving your own biological kid sometimes has that “you’re mine; I have to love you” tag attached. When it’s not “your” kid, you’re reminded every time they drive you bonkers: “You are mine, not because I birthed you, but because I chose to make you mine. You’re driving me insane (a short trip for me), but you’re mine still. And you’ll always be mine, because I’ll always choose to keep you mine.”


  1. My parents, both LEO, lost their firstborn, she came too early and only lived a few weeks. Mom got a raging infection following birth and future children were not going to happen. They tried to adopt for years. Finally in their early 40's they put in to be foster parents. They got two of us, both with some physical and emotional baggage (probably why as LEO they got us). I screamed if anyone tried to touch me, my brother would whack his head repeatedly against his bed. Within a short time, with love, we were soon happy smiley kids (who honestly have no memory of all this). They ended up adopting us both.

    Both of us went into government/military service and have had fine careers of which the folks are proud. He's still my best friend even though he teases me all the time in that they only had one car seat thinking they were just getting ONE kid and he got it while I was buttressed with blankets, so he says "they liked ME best". hahahah

    When I found myself pregant my first year of college, broke and taking a bus to school, there was no hesitation. I gave her what I had. The fact that at age 18 her parents agreed to let her meet me if she wanted, and only if, was a blessing. She's my friend. I'd give my life for her again. I'm not her "Mom" but she is and always will be my only child. Bless you and your husband for the big hearts that you have.

    1. I wish every scared 18-year-old in your situation was as smart as you were. I see so much, as the wife of a youth pastor, how young girls choose to keep these babies, when they're only babies themselves, because it's what they see modeled to them and they think it's okay because they turned out "okay." How I wish they knew that neither they nor their babies need to settle for just "okay."

      I appreciate your kind words more than you know. If anything, they're a credit to my folks, who nurtured the idea that the heart can love as much as it needs to without running dry on love. It just makes more. And they remind me that we're doing something right, on days when I feel like I've done everything wrong. (Today, not so much, but I'll save 'em in the back of my mind to recall on the next insane day.)

  2. No difference. I have both kids I made and a son I chose. I don't make a distinction, and neither does the rest of the family. Genetics doesn't make family.

    1. To quote the wise Mr. Feeny (from Boy Meets World), "Oh, Mr. Hunter. You don't have to be blood to be family."


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